Polling Shows Sarah Palin Losing Alaska Congressional Race

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Polling suggests Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), a former state legislator in Alaska who recently won her state’s lone U.S. House seat after decades of Rep. Don Young (R) holding it until dying this year, is on her way to re-election.

Peltola is running in November against candidates including Republicans Nick Begich III and Sarah Palin. For these races, Alaska uses a single-ballot primary system, where all primary contenders appear on the same ballot and the top four finishers move on to the general election. For the general election in the ongoing Congressional race, Alaska will use a ranked choice voting system, in which voters can select multiple candidates and rank their choices. Not until a candidate passes 50 percent does somebody win. Until that point, the last-place finishers are eliminated, with their supporters’ ballots re-allocated according to their selections in successive rounds of counting. In polling from Alaska Survey Research, hypothetical final rounds pitting Peltola against both Palin and Begich show the Democrat winning.

Peltola starts in round one, meaning initial results, with almost a majority of the support. The progression of the results puts Peltola against Begich for a final tabulation, unlike the results from the special election that gave Peltola her currently unfolding stint in Congress, when Palin made it to the end. In these results, Peltola finished with 54.3 percent of the support, and Begich had 45.7 percent. Eliminating Begich before the final round instead of Palin still showed the Republicans losing, with Peltola nabbing 56.4 percent of the support. There evidently wasn’t enough crossover among the Republicans’ supporters on either side.

One of the goals of a ranked choice voting system, which was approved by Alaska voters but that Republicans predictably maligned after Peltola won the special election earlier this year, is the selection of a victor who legitimately represents a majority opinion. Logistically, ranked choice voting is a smoother way of achieving that outcome than the runoff elections held elsewhere pitting the two top finishers from a first round against each other for another face-off coming later, since it’s just one election.

In the special election, Peltola benefited from what seemed like GOP disinterest in Palin. “Half of the Alaskans who made Begich their first choice ranked Palin second, and 21 percent did not make a second choice,” per The Washington Post. “The remaining 29 percent — a surprisingly large fraction, even to some of Peltola’s supporters — ranked Peltola second.” Begich or Palin could have dropped out ahead of the November election in an effort at consolidating Republican voters’ support behind a candidate, but neither did so. Palin is running with support from the Trumps. In this new Alaska polling, a full 56 percent of respondents expressed negative feelings about Trump — a lower level than did so regarding Biden, so it’s clear this polling isn’t simply uniformly positive for Democrats. A whopping 65.7 percent expressed negative feelings about Palin.