New poll: Republicans still struggle with ranked choice, but Nick Begich pulls ahead of Sarah Palin to second place


A fresh poll from Alaska Survey Research shows that congressional candidate Sarah Palin still has a high negative rating among most Alaska voters and it’s hurting the chances Republicans have for winning back the congressional seat in November from the Democrats. Even though 60% of voters chose a Republican in the special general election to replace the late Congressman Don Young, Democrat Mary Peltola won with 40%.

Now, voters must choose who will have the seat starting in January and for the next two years.

Over 65% of those surveyed said they have a somewhat or very negative view of Palin, Alaska’s former governor. She does worse with voters than even President Joe Biden, who is has a 59% negative rating among those surveyed. 36% of those surveyed had positive opinions of Biden, but less than 31% had positive opinions of Palin.

Palin also fares worse on this poll than former President Donald Trump in terms of negatives. 56% of Alaskans surveyed in the poll have a somewhat or very negative view of Trump.

Palin also is worse off in the ratings than Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is rated poorly by 50% of those polled. Palin does worse than Bill Walker, who Palin endorsed for governor in 2014; Walker has a 43% negative rating, and a 5.6% “who?” factor.

As for Republican congressional candidate Nick Begich, he has a 40.6% negative rating and 42% positive rating.

The poll also shows that 54% view Congresswoman Mary Peltola positively (27% negatively) and nearly 49% of voters would rank Peltola in the first round of ranked choice voting. That’s nearly enough to win outright. Candidates need to reach 50+1 to win without having to go to a second round of voting.

Begich comes in with the second-most first place votes, with nearly 27% choosing him first. Palin drops to 24% first-place votes, and Chris Bye, the Libertarian, gets 2.4% in this poll.

When Bye is eliminated for the second round of vote redistribution, Peltola reaches nearly 50%, with Begich at 26.3% and Palin at 24% This shows that some of Bye’s voters are choosing Peltola second on their ballots, but there are not many votes of his to redistribute.

In Round 3, if Palin is eliminated, Peltola reaches 54.3% and wins, with Begich ending up with 45.7%, meaning that many of Palin’s voters are going over to Peltola to give her the win.

In the Round 3 hypothetical, if Begich was eliminated, Peltola wins with 56.4% of the vote and Palin ends up with 43.6%, which shows that many of Begich voters are not choosing Palin second, but are going with Peltola second.

The statewide survey was conducted Sept. 25-27. While Alaska Survey Research has had variable results in polling of past races, the polling company has, this year, nailed the Alaska congressional race, even with the wild card of ranked choice voting, which has never been used in Alaska until this year.

The survey sampled 1,403 Alaska adults ages 18 and older, and it was a poll conducted via text, which could mean the poll skews young for who the actual voters will be in the November election.

The survey also shows that Peltola, who was a relatively unknown name among most voters just six months ago, is enjoying a honeymoon period as Alaska’s first Native and first woman member of Congress. Only 7.4% of those surveyed did not know who she is.

The challenge for Republicans is whether the voters that prefer Sarah Palin or Nick Begich will rank the other Republican second. It’s the only way Republicans have to win the seat back from the Democrats, who were able to use ranked choice voting to their advantage in August to flip Alaska’s congressional seat blue.


  1. “36% of those surveyed had positive opinions of Biden,”

    That 36% of American citizens actually think this is disturbing to say the least.
    Sometimes you can’t fix stupid.

    • I’m with Sapper1. Pull your heads out and “Rank the Red”. If not, you’ve got Peltola and Haaland ignorantly and selfishly locking up Alaska. Murkowski’s crew initiated RCV just for her knowing that we can’t get past our own “stubborness”. Think on this: Do you think that Peltola will vote NO against countless billions going to Ukraine while we pay $5.49/gallon for gas? While we absorb 10% inflation at the grocery store? While millions flow across the southern border due to an administration that encourages illegals to fill our cities for the sake of eternal Democrat rule? Unless our side pulls our proverbial heads out and stops PISSING UP A ROPE… expect things to get worse.

      • Probably not enough to simply “Rank the Red.” Those who want to improve the likelihood that a Republican is elected should Rank Begich first, even if they like Palin better.

  2. So, Palin has no chance in any set of circumstance.

    Many of her voters would support Mary, after making such an issue of Begich voters doing so last time.

    If the Queen can’t have it, she’s content to burn it all down. Just like the Governor’s office so many years ago. We are still paying that price,

    It also implies Palinheads are happy to help her.

    I wonder if Trump is gonna come to her rescue or let her twist?

    Porcaro said time and again RCV would increase Republican chances. Chances to lose, it seems. Hope he’s happy with his pet project.

    • “So, Palin has no chance in any set of circumstance……..”
      So how is it that she beat Nick Begich twice in the past two months? Is it possible that Alaska Survey Research is wrong?
      Nah. Too many like the result, so it’s science. Let’s believe it.

      • I’ll be curious how you spin this when she loses to Mary – again.

        Over 60% of Alaskans don’t like her. Over 60%. Regardless of who has conducted the survey this result remains constant. She is the most toxic person in AK politics and has been for at least a decade.

        Yet somehow you cling to the hope she’s the savior of Alaska? That’s denying reality.

        Is the pill wrong? Possibly. Poll science is very flawed. But to deny ongoing trends is willful ignorance.

        Your fanatical insistence your Queen Sarah can somehow rise above all this and win is like a toddler having a screaming tantrum in Fred Meyers. You MIGHT get your way. But odds are people will look at you roll their eyes, and go about their business.

        It’s a very simple political fact of life. Know when you’re in the minority. Even when you believe you’re right.

        Ongoing 60+% negative ratings mean your queen is definitely in the minority.

      • I agree with you Reggie. Palin beat Begich twice and will beat him again in November. People better vote Palin/Begich 1st and or Begich/Palin 1st and 2nd. Only way to get a Republican on office. Also we all know polls dont mean anything and are often inaccurate.

      • Mr. Porcaro has a heart and spine. He is willing to listen and respect those who are on his show. Try Dan Fagan’s show in the morning. He is more to your liking.

  3. Listen to me. Sarah’s over inflated ego is an obstruction to common sense. She could assist the Republican Party with a clear victory if she dropped out of the race. But she is completely off the rails with her perception that she is a political success. Even more so, she thinks she is of movie star royalty, and far too large to be just an ordinary Alaskan. For the kid’s sake, vote for Nick.

  4. If 56% of this poll’s respondents have a negative view of Trump it is pretty obvious that the pollsters were surveying RINOs and Democrats!

    • So? They vote.

      Blaming RINOs for everything is not a winning strategy. But it is a unique way of losing.

      • MA – You obviously don’t understand how a legitimate poll is conducted. If the pollster constructs their poll to get a desired outcome then they will weight their survey with respondents who are more likely to answer their questions the way they want them to. That is called a push poll. It is very easy nowadays to find just about everyone’s political leanings because of the proliferation of personal data available for sale by Big Tech. Push polls are worthless as Hillary Clinton found out in 2016. Only cable TV talking – head idiots still lend any credence to them.

        • Actually I know a very great deal about polls. How they are shaped, how they are held, how the polling group is selected. And even more fun stuff.

          Far, far, more, clearly, than you do. But I digress.

          You can easily find flaws on polls. Political polls are weighed towards democrats. Polls also have cycles.

          What you are overlooking, ignoring, it don’t know that you don’t know (not that it matters) is polling trends are the real meat of a poll. What does the data say over history and over several different polls. There are the reliable results.

          All those say Palin is not electable. They have said that since the beginning. Over and over again.

          You can point to 2016 and say, reliably, the polls were wrong. No dispute. But take 2016 out of the equation and the polling trends have been accurate.

          • “take 2016 out of the equation”? Ya right and if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle! Jeez!

        • The inability by some to even attempt to mount a cogent rebuttal shows some people know even less about polling than they think they do.

          But hey. You be you, Fish.

  5. Then rank Begich 1 and Palin 2. Put them in whatever order, just leave Peltola off. Her website shows her support for the “Build, Back, Better” agenda. Rank the red, whatever ensures a Republican victory.

    Didn’t the polls predict Begich ahead of Palin the last time too? If so, it was inaccurate.

    • You can thank Rand Paul for the loss. His SuperPAC gave Palin a boost into second place in the final days of the special election and now Alaska has a Democrat in office. Defeat from the jaws of victory.

      • Is that why so many Begich voters ranked Peltola 2nd? That’s what gave the Democrat the victory. Conservatives literally voted for the Democrat, that is the problem. Unless it was voter fraud, since our elections are so complicated.

    • Probably not wise to rank Palin > Begich. This may be a losing strategy. Those who want to improve the likelihood that a Republican is elected should Rank Begich first, even if they like Palin better.

      • That is making the assumption that NB3is really a Republican. Unlike Murkowski who wears elephant campaign it suits her, the switches the trunk for the nose horn!!

  6. This rank voting was meant to split the vote. And it’s split three ways. I’m staying with one vote like it should be!

    • Good grief. Then we get a Democrat foe the long term. Until we can get rid of the RCV we need to rank. Rank the red. You are still voting for one – with the other as back up. 😉

    • So your answer is to throw your vote away I. Round 2? Red doesn’t stand a chance if we cling to foolish silent protests like this.

  7. Ivan Moore is the worst pollster in the history of polling. Had Obama neck and neck with McCain/Palin. Had Murkowski winning her primary easily when Joe Miller beat her. You would do better with a dart board.

  8. Apu, I think Sarah did the damage to herself. She wasn’t a good Governor,
    She later quit the job. Sarah endorsed Billy ” dividend thief” Walker and is extremely uninformed about any number of subjects important to Alaskans. I note that she avoids debates like the plague too since in that venue she is weakest.

    Sarah kicks at every barking chihuahua but at the same time likes to play the victim whenever she encounters real criticism.
    Her cozy relationship with Mary and her refusal to ” rank the red” is further evidence of her disastrous inability to think much less govern.

  9. Ranked choice isn’t really the struggle.
    The real struggle is against state (and municipal) election systems which seems deliberately corrupted beyond repair, which intentionally forces only GOP voters to face the lose-lose dilemma of choosing between a bad Democrat and a very bad Republican.
    The struggle will be eliminating ranked-choice voting, Dominion-vote tabulation gear, and mail-in voting. The struggle will include making ballot-harvesting a felony, auditing voter rolls for accuracy, and returning to the traditional paper-balloting system with election observers who know what the hell they’re observing.
    The struggle will include an Executive Order tasking the Lieutenant Governor to ferret out abuses of dark money, arguably the most corrupting influence in Alaska politics today.
    Dark money is campaign spending where money sources are hidden. Voters don’t know who’s writing the checks to fund political activity. Dark money spending is nontransparent, undemocratic, inherently corrupt and, unfortunately, mostly legal.
    But… Alaska’s Governor could go a long way to fixing the dark-money problem by recruiting sponsors for a law which makes transferring money between political committees and parties a felony punishable by mandatory asset forfeiture
    Then the struggle goes away, or at least becomes more manageable, more… dare we say, voter friendly.

    • If you’re waiting for Dunleavy to take a proactive, principled stance on anything, you’ll be waiting a very long time.

  10. This is not difficult if people would just “get over themselves “.


    Do not rank a democrat.

    Easy peasy.

    • If the Democrat wins, it won’t be because of ranked-choice voting. It will be because the two Republican camps are irrevocably opposed to each other.

      • This last RCV election suffered a spoiler scenario and caused Peltola to be elected when it should have been Begich. Now that Peltola has been given so much attention due to this election method failure, she has a very big advantage in the next election. Thus, RCV may may play a role in allowing a Democrat to win.

        • Ranked-choice voting works against having a spoiler outcome. If anything, RCV would have helped one of the Republicans win. The Democrat won because the two Republican camps were irrevocably opposed to each other.

      • ‘

  11. I wish you hadn’t pulled down the anti-Semitic comments of the whack job earlier.

    I understand why you did, but I was looking forward to seeing it shredded for the ignorant trash it was.

    IMO that sort of garbage needs exposure so the “post” and poster can be fully disinfected by sunlight.

  12. Sarah Palin is gonna be the final step in turning Alaska deep blue. She is gonna fracture an already mostly useless GOP.

    Looking directly at Tuckerman Babcock for much of this.

    It won’t be her fault per se. She’ll just be the final straw.

  13. It appears the anonymous trolls will go to any length to promote Republicans who do not support Alaska’s Constitution over a Democrat who has Alaskan values and supports women as equally as men

    • Frank, can you back any of this up, or are you yourself one of the anonymous trolls? Is this purely a Dobbs decision thing? It’s the Democrats that now believe in inequality by pushing of the equity charge.

  14. All the Palin voters (40%) who didn’t rank anyone during the special election better get on board and rank Begich this time..

    • Palin voters who prefer any Republican over Peltola should rank Begich first. Otherwise, Begich is eliminated first and Peltola beats Palin in the runoff. If Begich is sent to the runoff, he has a better chance of getting more votes than Palin would.


      • Why? Just rank red period and leave Peltola off. It is that simple. Begich voters should do likewise. Targeting only SP voters isn’t going to keep the Dems from winning again.

  15. Polls smolls. They reek of desperation and are wrong. They had Hillary winning, for sakes! How soon we forget!
    The only poll that matters is at the voting booth.
    So many trolls around to try psychological games…..just don’t listen to those players…..losers already in their own minds.

    • Well said Laura. No one knows till the Dominion Machine spits out a winner. All the rest is Bloviating and Pontificating and Manipulating. I hope Sarah chews them up like a LIPPSTIKKED PITT BULL..

  16. Palin should do the honorable thing and drop out. Like she demanded Begich should do, in spite of the fact that he had been campaigning long before she jumped in and screwed things up.

    • Howdy Bess, Sarah doesn’t need to drop out. Just think of the # 1 and #2 voting RED, is actually a Head 2 Head Race. between Sarah and NBIII. The final Duel between them. Winner takes all. And Mary’s the loser. If Nick can keep his voters in the RED.

  17. Suzanne,

    You and the rest of the conservative media in Alaska could be doing a lot more to educate conservative voters on how RCV actually works rather than constantly attacking and dismissing the system as “confusing” and “complicated” which it really isn’t. Please be a part of the solution and educate your readers on how the system actually works, because for better or worse it’s the system we have right now and if we want to win elections we need to learn how to use it, not just complain about it.

    • I agree. There is nothing inherently biased in the process. Conservative vilification of it is likely partially (or wholely) responsible for the Dem win from the 40% protest single vote noted. RCV is here. While it is here use it.

      Those wanting to check the Dem national spending and over regulation need to use the RCV and rank red. Heck rank red and then libertarian. Just don’t rank any blue. If we collectively would have done that we would have not lost a seat in the house, which only emblazons Dems to go far left.

    • Disagree in one regard. It is confusing to people who have voted in the traditional way for decades.

      Beyond that, I don’t see it as the media’s job to champion how to use it as nauseum.

      Long ago it became the job of the voter to get off their butts and learn how to use it. And the job of the GOP to evangelize how to use it.

      As usual, the Alaska GOP behaved like the Keystone Cops and conservative voters chose pouting and bitching over learning the system.

      Notice the Democrats didn’t have these issues. Only Republicans.

      Ranking red is easy. Willingness to do it is not.

    • It is absolutely a confusing and complicated system. Look at all its defenders who don’t even understand how it works. They’re still claiming it eliminates the spoiler effect, after Palin acted as a spoiler in this election. The voters preferred Begich over both Peltola and Palin, but “RCV” eliminated the wrong person and elected the voters’ second-favorite candidate.

      Alaska needs to adopt a democratic voting system like Condorcet RCV or STAR Voting that actually counts all the votes.

  18. If Queen Sarah suddenly went all in for climate change, the abrupt about face so many here would do would cause a Taku wind.

    I will never understand the Cult of Sarah. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, her followers see her a the Jesus of Alaska.

    When Mary wins a full term, they will contort themselves beyond the laws of physics and sanity to deny her unprecedented negative ratings.

    Alaska conservatives doing what they do best. Self destruct.

  19. So if I read this correctly, if conservatives have any chance, rank Begich 1st and Palin 2nd. DO NOT RANK PELTOLA. Period. Alaska can’t afford to hand this seat to the liberal elite. She may not be elite, but she will not help conservative causes one bit. We need less government, less control, less oversight, less overreach. I will be voting conservative, and I hope you all do too.

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