Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Alaska 2008 Primary Election Results - All Four Ballot Measures Rejected, Ted Stevens Renominated, Don Young Barely Ahead Of Sean Parnell

Update: Post updated August 27th at 2:40 P.M. to reflect the most current vote totals. 99.8 percent of precincts now counted; all races can be considered to be decided.

The 2008 Alaska primary election is finally concluded, and the message sent by the 20 percent of registered voters who turned out was "enough of the confusing, bureaucratic ballot measures". Liveblogged by the Anchorage Daily News HERE.

Background on candidates HERE; background on ballot measures HERE.

Voters rejected all four ballot measures. Most surprising was the outcome of Ballot Measure 3, the Clean Elections Initiative. This initiative was rejected authoritatively, despite the fact that the Clean Elections proponents jumped off to a big head start in advertising. Voters chose to overlook the corruption scandals and saw the deception and danger in this initiative. Voters may have objected to the idea of spending millions of dollars in public money during each election cycle.

As expected, Ethan Berkowitz, Mark Begich and Ted Stevens easily won their nomination races. However, it took much longer for incumbent Congressman Don Young to prevail in a nip-and-tuck battle over challenger Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, and still could be subject to a recount. In addition, absentee and questioned ballots must still be counted; this will not be completed until September 5th.

An assortment of media stories as follows:

- Anchorage Daily News report entitled "Young barely ahead; votes yet to be counted".
- Anchorage Daily News report entitled "Stevens, Begich heading toward November matchup".
- Anchorage Daily News report entitled ""No" votes take early lead in Measure 4 battle".
- Fairbanks Daily News-Miner report entitled "Stevens to face Begich for U.S. Senate seat in general election ".
- Fairbanks Daily News-Miner report entitled "Parnell and Young neck and neck in Alaska primary"
- Juneau Empire report entitled "Voters to decide: mining or fish"
- Juneau Empire report entitled "Predator control measure loses"
- Juneau Empire report entitled "Alaskans send Stevens on to general election"
- Juneau Empire report entitled "Young, Parnell in tight race; Berkowitz advances"
- KTUU Channel 2 interview with Ted Stevens HERE. Access to video HERE.
- KTUU Channel 2 interview with Ethan Berkowitz HERE, with video.
- KTUU Channel 2 interview with Sean Parnell HERE, with video.

Click HERE for raw electoral data. Data also posted on the main pages of the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU websites. With 99.8 percent of precincts reporting (437 out of 438), all races are settled now (although absentee/questioned ballots could change the outcome of the U.S. House Republican race):

Ballot Measure 1 (Gaming Commission):
- No: 102,479 votes, 61.72 percent
- Yes: 63,568 votes, 38.28 percent

Ballot Measure 2 (Predator Control):
- No: 92,741 votes, 55.59 percent
- Yes: 74,082 votes, 44.41 percent

Ballot Measure 3 (Clean Elections Initiative):
- No: 106,038 votes, 64.56 percent
- Yes: 58,213 votes, 35.44 percent

Ballot Measure 4 (Mining Initiative):
- No: 95,615 votes, 57.14 percent
- Yes: 71,722 votes, 42.86 percent

U.S. Senate Race (Republican):
- Ted Stevens: 59,123 votes, 63.53 percent
- Dave Cuddy: 25,380 votes, 27.27 percent
- Vic Vickers: 5,204 votes, 5.59 percent
- Michael D. Corey: 1,283 votes, 1.38 percent
- Rick Sikma: 948 votes, 1.02 percent
- Rich Wanda: 621 votes, 0.67 percent
- Gerald Heikes: 500 votes, 0.54 percent

U.S. Senate Race (A-D-L):
- Mark Begich (D): 55993 votes, 84.53 percent
- Ray Metcalfe (D): 4,726 votes, 7.13 percent
- Frank Vondersaar (D): 808 votes, 1.22 percent

- Bob Bird (AIP): 3,585 votes, 5.41 percent
- Fredrick D. Haase (Lib): 1,130 votes, 1.71 percent

U.S. House Race (Republican): Final outcome subject to change, dependent upon the count of absentee and questioned ballots to be completed by September 5th.
- Don Young: 42,539 votes, 45.47 percent
- Sean Parnell: 42,387 votes, 45.31 percent
- Gabrielle LeDoux: 8,618 votes, 9.21 percent

U.S. House Race (A-D-L):
- Ethan Berkowitz (D): 35,246 votes, 53.87 percent
- Diane Benson (D): 24,477 votes, 37.41 percent

- Don Wright (AIP): 5,709 votes, 8.73 percent

KTUU Channel 2 conducted an exit survey consisting of five questions, and here were the results:

Question: Did you vote in the 2006 primaries?
- Answers: Yes - 85 percent, No - 15 percent

Question: Did you vote Republican or on the consolidated Democratic ticket?
- Answers: Republican - 56.4 percent, Democrat - 43.6 percent

Question: What was the most important ballot measure?
- Answers: BM1 - 8.4 percent, BM2 - 7.8 percent, BM3 - 7.8 percent, BM4 - 76 percent

Question: Was Ballot Measure 4, the "Clean Water initiative," confusing to you?
- Answers: Yes - 37.8 percent, No - 62.2 percent

Question: Was the ongoing corruption probe important in your vote?
- Answers: Yes - 37.5 percent, No - 62.5 percent

The bottom line - the typical primary voter is a supervoter who votes early and often. A slight plurality are Republicans, and they were most concerned about Ballot Measure 4. There's a good chance that because they were confused about Ballot Measure 4, they not only rejected it, but also rejected the others for the same reason. As denoted by the strong vote for Ted Stevens, a majority of voters did not consider the ongoing corruption probe a major deciding factor.

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