Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rasmussen Poll Shows Sarah Palin Winning Both Republican Nomination And Alaska General Election Handily

Special Note To Alaskan Readers: The Alaska primary election takes place on Tuesday August 22nd, 2006. If you're not sure where to vote, visit the Alaska Division of Elections website for guidance.

During his daily radio show on August 9th, 2006, KFQD's conservative talk show host Dan Fagan discussed the results of a Rasmussen poll of Alaska gubernatorial candidates taken on August 3rd. Rasmussen did a totally automated telephonic survey of 500 voters to obtain the results. Full story on the Rasmussen website.

In the August 22 Republican primary incumbent Frank Murkowski faces competition from businessman John Binkley and former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin (pictured at left, courtesy of KTUU). The Rasmussen Reports election poll shows Palin with 43%, Binkley with 30%, and Murkowski with 17% when likely voters consider a three-way match-up. Murkowski does badly with every group identified in the survey.

Previous polls by both Craciun and Ivan Moore show similar results. Only two prior Hellenthal polls show different results; the Hellenthal polls, paid for by John Binkley, actually show Binkley with a narrow lead of Sarah Palin, although both put Murkowski equally in last place. But with three other polls giving Sarah Palin a clear lead, we can now probably discount the Hellenthal polls.

If Murkowski survives the primary, he would then square off against former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles, who leads Murkowski 58% to 29% in the survey. Murkowski does better than Knowles among Republicans and conservatives in this match-up, but still trails badly with other groups. Unfortunately, because Tony Knowles has a 50-point lead over his Democratic competitor Eric Croft, Rasmussen considers Croft unworthy of mention.

Palin leads Knowles 51% to 38% in a general election match-up. Binkley leads Knowles by a smaller 46% to 44% margin, a virtual toss-up considering the standard margin of error.

Only 27% view Governor Murkowski him favorably. Murkowski is viewed unfavorably by 72%, "very" unfavorably by 49%.

Palin is viewed favorably by 65%, Binkley by 57%, Knowles by 55%.

Forty-nine percent (49%) approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as President. Twenty-five percent (25%) approve of the job Frank Murkowski is doing as Governor. Only Ohio’s Governor Taft has lower job approval ratings.

Fifty percent (50%) of Alaska voters agree that the political system is "badly broken." Although most Republicans are as unhappy with the governor as everybody else, only 36% of GOP voters accept that characterization, versus 67% of Democrats, 57% of unaffiliated voters.

The partisan divide matches what Rasmussen has seen in other states. When Democrats are on top, it's the Republicans who are more likely to say the political system is out of order.

Analysis: In today's commentary, Dan Fagan expressed the concern that much of Palin's support might be more "anti-establishment" than pro-Palin. To back that up, Fagan cites Palin's apparent failure to make specific proposals on a number of issues. However, Sarah Palin's track record as mayor of Wasilla is a reasonably sound predictor of her future as governor; she was a strong, efficient, pro-growth mayor. She's also socially conservative without being extremist or dogmatic.

Alaska's primary system allows parties to open their primary elections to all voters, or to close them to registered party members only. The Republican primary is open only to Republican and independent voters. This drives Fagan's second concern, that independents will team with reformist Republicans to choose Palin as the nominee, then jump ship and vote for Knowles in November, inflicting "Teflon" Tony upon us for the third time. However, the Rasmussen polls do not support this conclusion with the large margin of support over Knowles enjoyed by Palin.

While Sean Parnell and Jerry Ward are good candidates for lieutenant governor, it's almost a shame John Binkley's not running for lieutenant governor. He'd make a good tag-team partner for Sarah Palin. Take a look at Binkley's well-organized platform; this guy understands what proper staff work is all about. Palin should put Binkley on her short list for a cabinet position.

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