The trusted Republican state of Alaska has soured on President Trump’s job performance, but Republicans are still leading the state’s run for president, Senate and US House, according to a New York Times / Siena College poll released Friday.
All in all, Mr. Trump Joe Biden, 45 percent to 39 percent, with 8 percent supporting the libertarian candidate, Jo Jorgensen. Similarly, Dan Sullivan, the incumbent Republican senator, leads the Democratic candidate, Al Gross, by 45 to 37, with 10 percent supporting Alaska’s independence candidate, John Howe.
Alaska has emerged as an unlikely battleground in the late stages of the campaign, as Democrats and Republicans have rushed to run commercials in both House and Senate races. The state has voted Republicans in every presidential election since 1964, and Republicans enjoy a significant advantage in party registration and party identification, according to the survey. But many Alaskans have turned to Mr. Trump after backing him by 15 points against Hillary Clinton four years ago, creating a potential opening for Democrats in a state with an independent streak.
Today, 47 percent of Alaskans say they approve of how Mr. Trump handles his job as president, while the same number do not approve.
Although Alaska remains a long shot for Democrats, many voters support a minority party candidate, so there is unusual uncertainty. Democrats can also hope that their candidates will strengthen their status in the last three weeks; they remain less well known than the Republican established ones and go into the last stretch with a significant economic advantage.
The GOP challenge is centered in Anchorage, a once-reliable Republican city where all three Republican candidates now track. The president won Anchorage by five points four years ago, but Mr. Biden leads by nine in the survey, 47-38. The city represents a larger share of the state’s population than any other city except New York City.
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No one would confuse Anchorage for part of the sun belt, but politically there are surprising similarities. The city is relatively well-educated, diverse, traditionally Republican, and it has a large energy sector. As with other parts of the country, the president’s weakness is driven by a significant deficit among white college-educated Alaskans who support Mr. Biden, 65 percent to 27 percent – one of his greatest leaders among the group of any Times / Siena poll. until now.
Democrats have tried to capitalize by nominating two candidates, Mrs. Galvin and Mr. Gross, who describe themselves as independent. The state has a long independent line, and non-affiliated voters represent a majority of the state’s voters – whether it is by registration or self-identified party identification. An independent candidate won the governor’s race in 2014, and 12 percent of voters supported a number of minority party candidates in the 2016 election. Trump won only 51 percent of the vote in 2016 – about the same percentage as his numbers in traditional battlefield states like Ohio or Iowa.
If the Democrats were to win in both races, it would offer the party an unusual path to control of the Senate and, less overtly, the presidency. The U.S. House will decide on the presidency in the event of a tie, with each state congressional delegation receiving one vote. On the way into the election, Republicans 26-23 have the lead in state congressional delegations with two evenly distributed between the parties. A Democratic victory in Alaska, which has only one congressional district, would greatly jeopardize the Republican path for a majority of state delegations.
But a significant number of the president’s opponents are reluctant to embrace the Democratic candidates. And while Republicans have lost significant ground in Anchorage, they have maintained most of their support elsewhere in the state thanks to overwhelming margins among white voters without a degree. Republicans also had surprising strength among non-white voters who did not identify as Alaskan Indians or Indians, as did Spanish or multiracial voters.
Part of the challenge for Democrats may simply be the vote itself. The Alaska poll and the Times / Siena poll characterize Mr. Gross and Mrs. Galvin as “Democratic nominees” rather than as independents, which some Democrats fear could undermine their appeal to non-affiliated voters. Perhaps as a result, many of the state’s independent voters say they want to back Mr. Howe, Alaska’s independence candidate, to the Senate.
Opinion polls taken long before an election tend to exaggerate the potential support for minority candidates in the ballot, but Alaska’s long history of supporting minority candidates raises at least the possibility that these candidates will retain an unusually large share of the support. .
If the minority candidates see their support disappear, as has happened many times before, it is not obvious whether Democrats or Republicans are ready to take advantage.
In the presidential race, Ms Jorgensen’s supporters shared evenly in terms of the president’s job performance, but they say they supported Mr Trump by a three-to-one margin four years ago.
Based on job approval numbers, Mr. Howe appears to have a more Republican-friendly group of supporters. They say they voted for Mr. Trump by two to a margin in 2016, and they also approve of his performance by a wide margin.
The two positions in Alaska, Senator Sullivan and Representative Young, appear to have special strengths. Unlike the president, Mr. Sullivan a positive favorite rating with 48 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable. He wins 10 percent of voters who do not approve of the president.
Mr. Young has his own advantage: unusual support from the state’s remote Native American and Native American communities, representing about half of the state’s non-white voice. Natives of Alaska have a long record of splitting their tickets in favor of the established Republicans that Mr. Young, but they can be a challenge for the questioners to reach. Many communities do not have internet or access to the roads.
The Times / Siena survey of 423 likely voters in Alaska was conducted on 9-14. October on landlines and mobile phones. An analysis indicates that the study was successful in reaching Alaska natives in the remote western parts of the state. It had less success with voters on the northern slope in cities like Utqiagvik – formerly known as Barrow. In terms of voting results, the study could be biased if Alaska natives on the northern slope are significantly different from those in the western and southwestern parts of the state, although the results of the district in the 2016 election suggest that the two regions are similar enough in terms of on research in political study.
Overall, the Alaska Natives accounted for 13 percent of the likely voters in the poll. Mr. Young led among the relatively small sample of 45 Alaska natives or Indians who participated in the survey, although the same voters supported Mr. Biden and Mr. Gross.
Here are the cross-tabulations for the vote.