Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Ivan Moore Poll Shows Alaska Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Sarah Palin With An 11-Point Lead

Just days after a Dittman Poll showing Alaska Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Sarah Palin with an 12-point lead was released, the latest Ivan Moore poll was disclosed yesterday (October 9th) via Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins' "The Trail" campaign blog. Photo at left courtesy of Sarah Palin Campaign Website. Click HERE to view the entire 12-page report published by Ivan Moore in PDF format. The Alaska Correctional Officers Association, whose political action committee has produced a flyer supporting Sarah Palin for governor, commissioned the poll.

In the 12-page report, Ivan Moore does not disclose precisely when he did the sampling, but he reports that the sample size was 501 respondents, population-proportionate by region (since Anchorage has nearly 50% of the state's population, nearly 50% of the respondents were from Anchorage). He also reveals the precise questions asked, unlike either Dittman or Hellenthal. This is also the first poll to assess the strength of the alternative candidates. You can view the results of the previous Hellenthal poll here. You can also view the results of a Rasmussen poll taken in September here.

And here are the numbers (supply your own drum roll). Candidates with a campaign website have their names hot-linked. Candidates without a website have their party affiliations hot-linked to take you directly to their party's official website:

Sarah Palin (R) - 48.0%
Tony Knowles (D) - 37.0%
Andrew Halcro (Ind) - 6.8%
David Massie (Green) - 0.8%
Don Wright (AkIP) - 0.7%
Billy Toien (Lib) - 0.2%
Undecided - 6.4%

Ted Gianoutsos declared his write-in candidacy for governor too recently to be included in the poll.

This result is quite similar to the recent Dittman Poll, which showed Palin at 49% and Knowles at 37%. Andrew Halcro took a slight bump downward from the 8.6% registered on the Dittman Poll, but the Dittman Poll only asked about the top three candidates.

Ivan Moore also calculates a Strength Scale to determine the strength of voters' commitment to their candidates. Voters who are more strongly committed to their candidate are less likely to change their minds. As was proven in the Republican primary race between Sean Parnell and Jerry Ward, candidates equally strong on the surface can be quite different "behind the primary numbers". While Parnell and Ward appeared equal on the surface, Jerry Ward had higher negatives than Sean Parnell. Parnell won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

Here are the Strength Scale Results:

Strong Palin - 34.7%
Moderate Palin - 6.9%
Leaning Palin - 8.1%
Neutral - 5.0%
Leaning Knowles - 8.1%
Moderate Knowles - 11.7%
Strong Knowles - 17.5%
Other Candidates - 8.1%

The key comparison here is Strong Palin vs. Strong Knowles. Twice as many Palin supporters are firmly committed to their candidate than Knowles supporters. This implies that many Tony Knowles supporters could be persuaded to change their minds between now and election day.

And what could change their minds? Examine the issues that cause some people to support Tony Knowles. The Longevity Bonus, the natural gas pipeline, and her comparatively limited political experience vis-a-vis Tony Knowles cause many to reluctantly embrace Knowles. So how does she win them over? Let's address this problem categorically.

1). Longevity Bonus - She need not promise to reinstitute it, because rich seniors like former governor Bill Sheffield don't need it. Instead, expand the pool of seniors eligible for the Longevity Bonus replacement programs, and then tell us how she proposes to pay for it.

2). Natural Gas Pipeline - Don't foreclose the Highway Route. All she needs to do is to emphasize that while she's open to other ideas like the all-Alaska LNG route, the Highway Route remains very much on the table. If the alternative to the Highway Route is NO PIPELINE, then we better make sure the Highway Route REMAINS ON THE TABLE.

3). Limited Political Experience - Many people believe her experience as a small-town mayor alone is inadequate preparation for serving as a state governor. They fail to appreciate that Wasilla was the fastest-growing city in the state during her mayoral tenure, and that managing that type of growth requires more than average adminstrative and persuasive skills. Palin should unleash her running mate Sean Parnell (pictured at left, courtesy of Akrepublicans.org) and emphasize how Parnell's prior service as a state senator will help her better grasp the legislative process and statewide issues.

Above all, Sarah Palin must begin more rigorously exposing Tony Knowles' inadequacies as prior governor of this state. She should highlight his "no-growth" reputation and his penchant for considering income taxation as a first solution to fiscal problems rather than a last solution. This can be done without being negative or abusive; the facts alone are damning enough.

The poll also contains a geographical breakdown. Sarah Palin is overwhelmingly dominant in the Mat-Su/Kenai/Valdez area and Fairbanks, somewhat dominant in Anchorage, and about 50-50 in Rural Alaska. Tony Knowles is overwhelmingly dominant in the Southeast. And even in Southeast Alaska, Sarah Palin has made some inroads, having earned the endorsement of the influential Ketchikan-based Southeast Alaska Pilot's Association, an organization of maritime pilots. There is no way the road-hating tree huggers of Southeast Alaska can carry Tony Knowles to the governor's mansion all by themselves. Combined with Knowles' high negative rating, this not only overrides the migration of undecideds toward Tony Knowles implicitly revealed in the recent Dittman poll, but makes this election Sarah Palin's to lose.

Barring any major deviations by either candidate, I think it's now safe to project that Sarah Palin will win the election, but probably by 5-8 percentage points.

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  1. You should add AlaskaReport.com to your media list. They have been outing the rats in the Capitol building

  2. Thanks for the tip. I actually do check them from time to time.

  3. If I were in Alaska, she would have my vote. She'll definitely be the HOTTEST governor in the US!