A poll commissioned by Must Read Alaska over the weekend shows that Sarah Palin has both a chance of winning the race for Congress, but also has a high negative factor and could hand the race to the leading candidate supported by Alaska Democrats — Al Gross.
With campaigns eager to make claims to voters during this hurry-up special election season, Must Read Alaska has invested in ground-truthing what Alaskans are really thinking about concerning those on the ballot. The results were surprising:
The survey asked questions of 955 likely 2022 primary voters, such as: “Of several possible candidates in the 2022 election for Congress, if the election were held today, for whom would you vote?” The response was:
- Sarah Palin: 31%
- Al Gross: 26%
- Nick Begich: 21%
- Christopher Constant: 7%
- Josh Revak: 3%
- Tara Sweeney: 2%
- Another candidate not listed: 4%
- Undecided: 6%
This result contradicts a poll advertised by candidate Gross in his fundraising push to his national audience, which says Palin has 42%, Gross has 40%, and 18% are undecided.
The MRAK poll was conducted by a major national polling firm, Remington Research Strategies, which has a B rating from FiveThirtyEight.com for accuracy. It is the first known major poll to be conducted in Alaska in the race to replace the late Congressman Don Young, since his death on March 18.
Between April 7-9, surveyors asked likely primary voters in Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks a series of questions about some of the more well-known names on the primary ballot.
There will be 48 names on the primary ballot; only those considered most viable for the general election ballot were included in the poll. This survey did not dive into the ranked choice voting methodology that Alaskans will use in August and in November. (The first ballot voters will face, which must be postmarked by June 11, is a “pick one” election with the top four heading to the August special election ballot.)
When asked their favorable/unfavorable opinion about Republican Sarah Palin:
- 37% said their opinion was favorable.
- 51% said they have an unfavorable opinion of Palin.
- 12% had no opinion of the former Alaska governor.
When asked their opinion about Republican Nick Begich:
- 28% were favorable.
- 30% were unfavorable.
- 42% had no opinion.
The same question was asked about Republican Josh Revak. Responses were:
- 8% were favorable.
- 29% were unfavorable.
- 63% had no opinion.
Democrat-backed candidate Al Gross, who ran for Senate in 2020 against Sen. Dan Sullivan, drew these responses:
- 32% favorable.
- 51% unfavorable.
- 17% with no opinion.
The unfavorables for Palin and Gross were identical at 51%. The favorables for Gross were smaller than those for Palin — 32% for Gross vs. 37% for Palin. The name recognition for Palin and her role as a lightning rod led to only 12% having no opinion on the favorability question.
Participants were asked if an endorsement from the family of the late Congressman Young was important to them: “In the upcoming special election to fill Don Young’s seat, are you more likely if less likely to vote for a candidate that claims to have the backing of Don Young’s family?” The answer shows that for many, it’s not going to make a difference in their decision:
- 20% were more likely to support the candidate.
- 28% were less likely.
- 52% said it made no difference to them.
The polling on Palin shows the former governor can’t lean on former President Donald Trump’s endorsement for support without risk. When asked, “Are you more likely or less likely to support Sarah Palin if you know that Donald Trump supports her candidacy?” the overall result was:
- 29% were more likely to vote for Palin.
- 48% were less likely.
- 23% said it made no difference to them.
By region the breakdown shows the former governor cannot use Trump without losing support:
Juneau: 16% said a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to vote for Palin, while 73% of respondents said the Trump endorsement would make them less likely to vote for Palin.
Fairbanks: 38% said a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to vote Palin, while 33% said it it would make them less likely.
Anchorage: 30% said a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to vote for Palin, while 45% said the Trump endorsement would make them less likely.
The respondents were self-described as:
- 46% Conservative.
- 29% Moderate.
- 22% Liberal.
- 3% Not sure.
The poll demographics:
Anchorage (Southcentral): 71%
Very conservative: 27%
Somewhat conservative: 25%
Remington Research Group of Missouri typically works for conservative clients. Its parent company is owned by Axiom Strategies, which has signed a contract to work with Nick Begich this campaign cycle, and which worked on the Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson campaign in 2021 and the successful gubernatorial campaign of Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia. This poll was a combination of phone, online, and text survey, and the pollsters say the confidence rate has a 3.1 margin of error, with 95% level of confidence. The Anchorage numbers for the poll include people on the Kenai Peninsula and the Mat-Su.
Alaskans are choosing a new member of Congress after the death of Congressman Young. The special placeholder election for a temporary House member takes place during a June 11 primary that has 48 people on the ballot, and an Aug. 16 general election, which is a ranked choice voting (rank your favorites, 1 through 4) ballot. The winner of that will be sworn in as a member of Congress until the regular election is completed in November. The November winner will have to get 51 percent of the vote on a ranked choice ballot.
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