A poll by the left-leaning Change Research group pits Sen. Lisa Murkowski against two other candidates — Republican candidate Kelly Tshibaka and former senatorial Democrat-backed candidate Al Gross. Tshibaka wins, hands down.
In the ranked-choice election method to be used in Alaska for the first time in 2022, Murkowski and Gross split the liberal vote in this poll. John Wayne Howe, who the pollster uses as a placeholder right-leaning candidate of the Alaskan Independence Party, trails in this poll.
In the poll, Tshibaka was ranked #1 by 39 percent of respondents, with Al Gross ranked first by 25 percent, and Murkowski ranked first by 19 percent.
When the second choice votes are recalculated and reassigned, as they will be in Alaska’s ranked-choice process, Tshibaka wins over Gross. Many of the poll participants who had Murkowski as their first choice, picked Gross as their second. The final tally is Tshibaka over Gross 54-46.
Change Research does polling for groups such as the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, NAACP, labor unions such as the AFL-CIO, and the Future Majority group, run by Democratic political strategists. This poll was paid for by the 314 Action Fund, which is trying to get more climate change scientists elected to Congress.
The poll used ranked-choice methodology to ask over 1,023 likely voters in Alaska. from May 22-25. The group used targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, as well as text messages sent to cell phone numbers of individuals who had a voter file that pollsters were seeking input from. The question was part of a study that included questions about other topics. Ads placed on social media targeted all Alaskan adults. Those who indicated that they were not registered to vote or they were unlikely to vote in 2022 were terminated.
The poll also asked a more general question about Murkowski’s favorability rating, which shows that 84 percent of Republicans view Murkowski unfavorably, and 6 percent of Republicans viewing her favorably; 48 percent of Democrats view her favorably, with just 32 percent viewing her unfavorably.
Results of polling like this will influence whether Democratic individual mega donors or political action committees will bother with the Alaska Senate race in 2022.
In the 2020 election cycle, the Democrats backed Al Gross against Sen. Dan Sullivan, out-raising him by millions of dollars, mostly from out of state. Gross and his independent expenditure groups had in excess of $38 million, while Sullivan and his support groups had $19 million.
Despite being outspent nearly 2-1, Sullivan won over Gross, 54-41, a better result for Sullivan than when he challenged Sen. Mark Begich in 2014, and beat Begich, 48-46.