Monday, February 08, 2010

A Poll You May Have Missed: Public Policy Polling Shows Alaska Congressman Don Young Leading Democratic Challenger Harry Crawford 49-34 Percent

Don't feel bad - I missed it too, and so did the Alaska media. But Swing State Project revealed on February 1st that Public Policy Polling conducted a poll of Alaskans in late January, and found that Alaska's incumbent forever Congressman Don Young is leading Democratic challenger Harry Crawford, 49 percent to 34 percent.

The poll surveyed 710 Alaska voters on January 27-28, inquiring about attitudes towards Don Young, Lisa Murkowski, and Barack Obama. This is actually part of the same poll which asked Alaskans about their gubernatorial preferences and their attitude towards Sarah Palin, but these results were released separately. In the case of the first two, the poll asked how respondents felt about their job performances, and then asked respondents who they would vote for. In the case of Obama, the poll merely asked respondents to rate his job performance. Read the raw poll results with all crosstabs HERE. Pertinent highlights below:

Do you approve or disapprove of Congressman Don Young’s job performance?
-- Approve: 43 percent
-- Disapprove: 41 percent
-- Not Sure: 15 percent

If the candidates for Congress this fall were Democrat Harry Crawford and Republican Don Young, who would you vote for?
-- Harry Crawford: 34 percent
-- Don Young: 49 percent
-- Undecided: 17 percent

Additional notes: The poll also stratified responses by political orientation, gender, age group, and race (White vs. Non-White). Don Young is positive among both Republicans and Independents, only negative among Democrats. Independent voters are necessary to put a candidate over the top in Alaska. The poll also shows that Young enjoys greater approval among non-Whites (47 percent) than Whites (42 percent), although both groups would be equally likely to vote for Young. The significance of this, combined with the facts that Young was married to an Alaska Native and that Bush Alaska contains a higher percentage of Natives, is that Don Young owns Bush Alaska. Harry Crawford cannot expect to make serious headway in Bush Alaska, so if he's to defeat Don Young, he'll have to do it in the Railbelt and Southeast Alaska.

Senator Lisa Murkowski was matched up against a non-specified "generic Democrat" for this poll:

Do you approve or disapprove of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s job performance?
-- Approve: 52 percent
-- Disapprove: 36 percent
-- Not Sure: 12 percent

Generally speaking this fall will you vote for Republican Lisa Murkowski or her Democratic opponent?
-- Lisa Murkowski: 52 percent
-- Generic Dem: 25 percent
-- Undecided: 23 percent

Additional notes: As expected, Lisa Murkowski is strongest among males and older people. But Murkowski is more electable among Whites (53 percent would vote for her) than among non-Whites (46 percent would vote for her), although the approval rate among both groups is almost identical. This shows that Murkowski's defense of no-bid contracting for Native corporations may not necessarily help garner her more of the Native vote.

By the way, Lisa Murkowski does have an official opponent. Frank Vondersaar is once again providing the Democratic opposition. Vondersaar's campaign website is HERE; he's a perennial candidate who generally spends his campaign time bitching about having been involuntarily separated from the military after 15 years and complaining about "fascism".

And finally, the poll asked respondents about their attitude towards Barack Obama:

Do you approve or disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance?
-- Approve: 37 percent
-- Disapprove: 56 percent
-- Not Sure: 8 percent

Additional notes: Obama enjoys considerable more support among non-Whites and females than he does among Whites and males. No big surprise, huh?


  1. What will be interesting to see is if Alaska Republicans would rather vote for Don Young or for one of his Republican challengers, such as Sheldon Fisher.

  2. As much as I respect Don Young for what he's done for this state, I wouldn't mind if he stepped aside and let Andrew Halcro and Sheldon Fisher fight it out for the nomination. Either of those two would be worthy successors, although I'd lean more towards Fisher.