Former Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at AmericaFest in 2021. Recent polling in Alaska shows her coming in third for the congressional seat once held by Don Young, behind Nick Begich III and Mary Peltola. (Flickr photo/George Skidmore)

Recent statewide polling indicates that Sarah Palin may not have as much traction as she expects in the race to fill Don Young’s seat in Congress.

Likewise, a decision by a top contender to leave the race could prove advantageous to Palin’s Democratic challenger, Mary Peltola.

See the latest Ivan Moore Alaska Survey Research Public Opinion Poll.

Ivan Moore’s Alaska Survey Research released the results of the poll on Thursday (7-7-22). Most (47-percent) of the 1,200 people polled did not identify with any political party, while among the rest about twice as many people identified as Republicans (31-percent) as compared to Democrats (17-percent).

Over three-quarters of respondents were white, and just over 1 in 10 were Native. The age of respondents was fairly evenly distributed, from 25 to over 65.

Large majorities of respondents said they were certain to vote in the August 16 special election (78-percent) and in the November general election (87-percent).

So, based on polling data, who will they vote for?

Despite coming in first in the special primary, Sarah Palin was not widely supported in the poll. In fact, she showed pronounced negative favorability of almost 44-percent. That put her behind both Democrat Mary Peltola by 11 points, and one point behind Republican Nick Begich III, in the first round of a speculative ranked-choice ballot, which Alaskans will be using for the first time in the special election on August 16.

In a second round, with Palin eliminated, respondents gave Alaska’s vacant congressional seat to Begich, with 57-percent of the vote.

That Peltola, a former legislator from Bethel, could shove a former governor off a ranked-choice ballot is, according to a recent commentary in the nonpartisan Alaska Beacon, “a massive shift in the dynamics of both the special election and the primary election” caused by the withdrawal of Al Gross, whose supporters now “shift support to Peltola.”

Gross has said nothing about his decision to drop out of the race on June 20, other than to endorse either of the two Alaska Native women running, Peltola or Republican Tara Sweeney, who finished fifth in the special primary.

After a court ruling, Sweeney won’t be able to move up into the fourth-place spot on the special election ballot, but she’s filed to run in the regular primary which will be held the same day. Assuming she’s one of the top four finishers moving into the general election in November, Alaska Survey Research shows a similar result: Voters preferring Peltola, Begich, Palin, then Sweeney in the first round. Sweeney drops off the bottom, leaving Peltola, Begich, and Palin. Palin drops off the bottom, and Begich wins the seat with 56-percent of the vote.

Respondents were more predictable in some of the other big races in the state. They retain Lisa Murkowski as Alaska’s senior US Senator, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy wins reelection to a second term, as challengers Les Gara and Bill Walker evenly split the opposing vote.