Thursday, April 02, 2009

Pollster Dave Dittman Has Spoken, And It Looks Like A Dan Sullivan-Eric Croft Runoff In The Anchorage 2009 Mayoral Race, At Worst

Thanks to Andrew Halcro and KFQD's backup conservative shock jock "Super Dave" Stieren, we now know that Alaska's premier pollster Dave Dittman has spoken once again, and it's looking almost dead certain to be a runoff between Dan Sullivan and Eric Croft in the Anchorage mayoral race. In fact, there's even a possibility that Sullivan could win outright on April 7th. Tune in to KAKM Channel 7 on April 2nd beginning at 7:00 P.M. to watch the mayoral candidates in action.

The poll of 416 registered voters, taken between March 27-31, shows Sullivan flirting with the 45 percent necessary to preclude a runoff:

-- Dan Sullivan: 42 percent
-- Eric Croft: 21 percent
-- Sheila Selkregg: 13 percent
-- Matt Claman: 5 percent
-- Walt Monegan: 5 percent
-- Paul Honeman: 3 percent
-- Unsure: 11 percent

Most likely the "Unsures" are genuinely undecided rather than supporting one of the nine "secondary" candidates in the race. See static post for complete list of all 15 candidates.

A previous Dittman poll discussed back on February 27th showed the following results:

-- Dan Sullivan: 23 percent
-- Walt Monegan: 10 percent
-- Matt Claman: 10 percent
-- Sheila Selkregg: 10 percent
-- Eric Croft: 8 percent
-- Paul Honeman: 3 percent
-- A different candidate: 2 percent
-- Don't know: 34 percent

It looks like most of the previous Undecideds have chosen to jump aboard the Sullivan bandwagon. Sullivan, along with Eric Croft and Sheila Selkregg, are the biggest gainers, while Walt Monegan and Matt Claman are the biggest losers. Perhaps the novelty of Monegan has simply eroded, but Claman has seriously hurt his campaign by his lack of charisma and his decision to restore the school district budget cuts.

While I, as a Dan Sullivan supporter, would love to see him win outright on April 7th, it would be Pollyannish to expect it to happen. What we can bet on is a Sullivan-Croft runoff. This would be one of the better political campaigns ever; two seasoned, classy politicians going at each other full throttle, but sticking to issues. Of course, the next question is "how would a runoff election end up"?

Here's a rough breakdown on the possible migration of votes in a runoff election (assuming the electoral numbers turn out the same as the poll numbers:

Dan Sullivan: Starts out with his 42 percent.
Eric Croft: Starts out with his 21 percent.
Sheila Selkregg: Her supporters will overwhelmingly support Croft. Of her 13 percent, 12 goes to Croft, one to Sullivan.
Matt Claman: His supporters will migrate to Croft. Of his 5 percent, 4 goes to Croft, one to Sullivan.
Paul Honeman: Virtually all his supporters likely to migrate to Sullivan. All his 3 percent to Sullivan.
Walt Monegan: A wild card. I'd say of his 5 percent, 3 percent to Croft, 2 percent to Sullivan.
Unsure: Based upon existing demographics, of the 11 percent, 6 percent to Croft, 5 percent to Sullivan.

Projected final outcome: Dan Sullivan 54 percent, Eric Croft 46 percent. Still, there is no cause for premature celebration. Croft does know how to win elections. But then again, so does Sullivan.

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