Wednesday, June 07, 2006
First Alaska Gubernatorial Poll Puts Tony Knowles In The Catbird Seat
According to a 600-sample poll taken by Ivan Moore Research on behalf of the Alaska Correctional Officers Association, Democratic candidate Tony Knowles (pictured at left) not only would swamp his primary opponent Representative Eric Croft, but would defeat each of the three leading Republican challengers if the respective elections were held today. On the Republican side, Sarah Palin was shown to have a significant lead over John Binkley and incumbent Republican Governor Frank Murkowski. Click here for the full story from KTUU Channel 2.
In the interests of disclosure, Ivan Moore is commonly retained by Democratic candidates to conduct polls on their behalf. But while he undoubtedly polls in such a fashion as to make respondents more open to the Democratic message, the fact that he is repeatedly retained implies he strives for accuracy. This should debunk conservative claims that he distorts his polls to benefit Democrats.
According to the poll, if the primary elections were to be held today, here would be the results:
1). Democrats: Tony Knowles swamps Eric Croft by an 82% to 14% margin.
2). Republicans: Sarah Palin 43.6%, John Binkley 27.3%, Frank Murkowski 17.7%
If the general elections were held today, here would be the results:
1). Tony Knowles vs. Sarah Palin: Knowles would win by 3 percentage points, but since that's within the margin of error, call it a virtual tossup. At this stage, Sarah Palin is clearly the strongest Republican candidate. Andrew Halcro had 6%.
2). Tony Knowles vs. John Binkley: Knowles would win by 8 percentage points. Halcro would still have 6%.
3). Tony Knowles vs. Frank Murkowski: Knowles would swamp Murkowski by 30 percentage points. Halcro would jump to 17%.
Reaction: Binkley Campaign Pollster Marc Hellenthal disputes these numbers, stating that a Republican poll conducted two and a half weeks ago shows Binkley ahead of Palin by a margin of 3%, with Murkowski a distant third. However, an ongoing "unscientific" poll by KTVA Channel 11 tends to support Ivan Moore's numbers.
Analysis: I thought Eric Croft might be at least able to compete with Tony Knowles in South Central Alaska, even if Knowles "owns" the Bush. However, it's obvious even with the primary election two months away that Croft can't expect to overcome that type of deficit. So it looks like we're stuck with Tony Knowles on the Democratic side.
This means the Republicans must present the candidate best able to stop Tony Knowles. Frank Murkowski could turn things around with a successful gas pipeline contract, but he formally entered into the race too late to win. He might improve his chances were he to induce John Binkley to drop out of the race. Murkowski and Binkley are not as far apart as Murkowski and Palin. However, Sarah Palin (pictured above left) has firmly staked out a platform of ethics and integrity, and voters, increasingly sickened by scandals such as the Gregg Renkes saga and Ben Stevens' travails, look upon her as a breath of fresh air. The fact that Murkowski waited so long before formally announcing his candidacy makes me wonder if he really is serious about getting re-elected.
Another wild card is Eddie Burke of the Alaska Independence Party (AIP). He is the most coherent and articulate gubernatorial candidate presented by the AIP since 1994. If he does well, it'll more likely be at the expense of the Republican candidate.
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