What's wrong with this poll? - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 23, 2021
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What’s wrong with this poll?

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According to pollster Ivan Moore, the race for governor in Alaska is now a toss up. Either Mark Begich or Mike Dunleavy could win. In Moore’s polling world, Begich has closed the gap.

Moore polled 500 Alaska likely or certain voters between Oct 26-29. It was the last of his five snapshots of the race.

According to the pollster for the Democrats, it’s now Mike Dunleavy at 42.5 percent, Mark Begich at 42.3 percent, Bill Walker at 7.7 percent and Billy Toien at 3.3 percent. 4.1 percent are undecided.

There is at least one “tell” that shows how the survey skewed:

Moore reported that 67 of his survey respondents had already cast their votes. Of those, 34 of those had voted for Begich, 32 for Dunleavy and 1 voted for Walker.

That’s over 13 percent of his universe having already voted by the time he closed his survey on Oct. 29.

It’s higher  — way higher than than what is actually happening at the early voting polls and in absentee ballots.


As of Oct. 30, about 36,857 ballots had been cast overall, 6 percent of the 569,903 registered voter universe and about 11 percent of those who are expected to actually vote.

The majority of those early and absentee voters are Republicans and undeclared voters.

For example, in Monday’s early voting, 695 Republican, 505 Democrats, 821 undeclareds (skew right), and 559 nonpartisans (skew left) showed up at early voting locations around the state. This conservative dominance has held steady since early voting started.

Begich, a Democrat, is using the Moore poll to build momentum, excite his base, and get out and vote. It might have the opposite effect, however, in that it might motivate the “lazy conservative” voters.

Begich wrote in a fundraising letter that the poll shows him ahead 46 percent to Dunleavy’s 42 percent. He neither gives his reader the information about the whole poll or how he got to that number, neglecting to reveal that the 4 point lead comes from a theoretical section of the Moore poll, where Moore asked a “push” question to inform people that Gov. Bill Walker had dropped out of the race.


Polling Alaska is a tough game.

In 2014, Moore’s final poll of the campaign season reported that Sen. Mark Begich was ahead of Dan Sullivan, 46-42 percent in the race for the Senate.

A week later, Sullivan upset Begich, 48 to 45.6 percent.

Moore was off by six points just days before the election.

In a poll done a few days before that, he had Begich up by 8 points.

In 2016, Moore called Alaska a “battleground state” and had Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a dead heat. Trump won Alaska by 51.3 percent to Clinton’s 36.6 percent.

Then in the race between Ethan Berkowitz and Congressman Don Young in 2008, pollster Moore had Berkowitz winning by 9 points. Don Young won by 5 points, a 14 point miss by Moore.

But regardless, the media keeps reporting on his polling as if it is the gold standard.


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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I don’t know if you’ve seen the Alaska Survey Research Facebook page (Ivan Moore’s company name), but there isn’t even a thin veil of objectivity from the pollster(s) there.

  • Coming Soon … “The Ivan Moore Shovel”
    The most efficient shovel to dig one’s grave.

  • Ivan Moore polls, the best polling results that money can buy.

  • Do you remember when the hurricane hit the Jersey Shore in 2012 and we were treated to the image of New Jersey Governor Chris Christy and President Barack Obama strolling hand in hand down the beach? You could just feel the wind go out of the sails of the Romney campaign. I had the same feeling when Walker announced the suspension of his own campaign. Begich is gaining steam.

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