Kelly Tshibaka, who is running against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, has a high approval rating in polling data released by Cygnal, a national polling company.
Tshibaka, who announced her candidacy one week ago, leads Murkowski with 33.6 percent, to Murkowski’s 18.8 percent. If Democrat Al Gross decides to run for the seat, he has about the same chance as Murkowski — 17.6 percent, according to Cygnal. Alaska Independence Party’s John Howe polls at 5.7 percent. That leaves 21.1 percent of voters undecided.
The data was gathered through a live calls, text messages and emails of 500 likely primary voters in Alaska, conducted in late March. It targeted all political parties in recognition of the new jungle primary that Ballot Measure 2 created in Alaska, after voters passed it in November.The margin of error is calculated at 4.37% at a 95% confidence interval.
“Kelly Tshibaka leads from the outset in a hypothetical primary ballot for US Senate, before any message testing,” Cygnal summarized. “Tshibaka’s ballot score peaks among Trump voters (61%), Republicans (61%), and conservatives (59%). Lisa Murkowski is in as weak of a position as an incumbent could possibly find themselves in. A strong Republican candidate is poised to defeat Murkowski. Kelly Tshibaka is that candidate.”
The polling data was first released to Politico, a Washington, D.C.-based political publication.
The survey found that voters disapprove of Murkowski’s nearly 20 years in the Senate. They disapprove of her vote to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the country. Republicans disapprove of Murkowski for her vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial, and the way she handled the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court (she voted “present” rather than yes or no.) Murkowski also voted against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Cygnal describes itself as a national public opinion firm that pioneered multi-mode polling, peer-to-peer text collection, and “Political Emotive Analysis.” Cygnal was in 2018 named the #1 Republican private pollster by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, as well as the #1 most accurate polling and research firm in the country for 2018 by The New York Times. Its team has experience working in 47 states and countries on more than 1,500 corporate, public affairs, and political campaigns.
Cygnal did not reveal who its client was for the poll, but Tshibaka, who was recently a member of the Gov. Mike Dunleavy cabinet, has hired President Donald Trump’s campaign team, led by former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark, and battleground states director Nick Trainer. Her rapid rise to the national stage has caught the attention of Trump’s former campaign manager, Brad Pascale, who broadcast her announcement on Twitter.