Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 2008 Alaska Hays Poll Shows Don Young Not Dead Yet, Ted Stevens' Fortunes Rising

A new survey of 403 Alaskans who identified as Republican was conducted by the Anchorage-based Hays Research Group from May 6-7, 2008. The survey shows that although Congressman Don Young's Unfavorable rating continues to increase, that the initial flush of interest in opponent Sean Parnell may be eroding and that Young could defeat Parnell in a primary election. The survey also indicates that Senator Ted Stevens may have bottomed out and is now recovering. Media story by KTUU Channel 2.

Click HERE for the May 7th results. For comparison, click HERE for the March 12th results.

Here are the key findings. Note that there are four separate categories in the poll; two "favorable", and two "unfavorable". I simply added up the two in each category to present overall "favorable" and "unfavorable" numbers. I also post the results of the March 12th, 2008 poll to show progression:

Don Young:

- Favorable: 37 percent (compared to 40 percent on March 12th)
- Unfavorable: 59 percent (compared to 55 percent on March 12th)

Analysis: Congressman Young continues his steady decline in popularity. Proposing a crackpot $1.00 per gallon increase in the Federal gas tax at a time when independent truckers are parking their rigs because they can't afford to drive them did NOT help his cause. His brass-knuckles campaign rhetoric against Sean Parnell is also putting people off; one would think that Vince McMahon is his campaign manager.

Don Young vs. Sean Parnell:

- Don Young: 45 percent
- Sean Parnell: 42 percent

Analysis: People are now starting to question whether there is actually substance to Parnell's campaign. Has he subsumed his own personality to Sarah Palin so much out of loyalty to her that he no longer has a distinguishable personality? He needs to more visibly show that he's his own man. Parnell may not be "tasteless" like Don Young, but he may be too "colorless" and "odorless" to suit Alaskans. Integrity and ethics alone may not be enough to propel him past the gruff and wily zillion-term incumbent. This particular poll also shows that Gabrielle LeDoux, at two percent, isn't even on the radar screen. She should bow out straightaway and not throw good money after bad.

Ted Stevens:

- Favorable: 53 percent (compared to 49 percent on March 12th)
- Unfavorable: 43 percent (compared to 46 percent on March 12th)

Analysis: Senator Stevens' decision to publish earmarks on his official website apparently has impressed a number of Alaskans. Many Alaskans also are beginning to recognize that with the possibility of Don Young's defeat, that we cannot afford to sacrifice Ted Stevens' seniority at the same time.

Information and links to other Alaska candidates for Federal office can be found HERE.

An additional poll indicates that the failure to make meaningful progress towards a natural gas pipeline and Governor Sarah Palin's attempted palace coup against Alaska Republican boss Randy Ruedrich at the Republican State Convention has not dampened public support for Governor Palin in the least. She continues to hold a rock-steady 86 percent Favorable rating. But influential conservative pundits like Paul Jenkins of the Voice of the Times and KFQD's Dan Fagan don't really blame Palin personally for the stalled pipeline negotiations; instead they blame it more on people in her administration, like Tom Irwin and Marti Rutherford.

Commentary: Ted Stevens is holding his own against Mark Begich. Begich will run a good campaign, but, barring any further legal troubles, Stevens will prevail in the end. The same cannot be said for Don Young. This result could give Congressman Young the idea that he's on the right track, a potentially fatal conclusion. He needs to dampen his rhetoric when dealing with fellow Alaskans if he's to prevail over the more suave, urbane Parnell.

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