As reported yesterday by Amanda Coyne, a new poll of the governor’s race revealed something Alaskans haven’t seen before: someone not named Sean Parnell in the lead.
Hays Research Group, a polling firmed based in Alaska and commissioned by the Alaska AFL-CIO, released the newest results yesterday. The telephone poll was conducted over the weekend, sampling 500 registered voters who had voted in at least two of the last three statewide general elections. According to Hays, the project was designed to “accurately reflect the actual population percentages of each of the precincts within the state of Alaska.”
Parnell ended up a little under nine points behind challenger Bill Walker, the newly negotiated top name on the “unity” ticket with the former Democratic contender, Byron Mallott (now is running as his lieutenant governor). The spread was 33.2 percent for Walker and 24.8 percent for Parnell. An additional 5.2 percent of voters are currently leaning toward Parnell, and the same of 3.8 percent for Walker.
Neither lieutenant governor candidates, Mallott or Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, were included in the poll. Also, Walker was identified as “Independent,” not “unaffiliated, as the ballots will read.
Hays remarked on their findings:
Bill Walker continues to build support with polling showing him taking a more comfortable lead over Sean Parnell beyond the margin of error for this poll. Since Bill Walker paired up with Byron Mallott as a running mate, he has held on to a notable lead over Parnell. There is still a large contingent of voters who are undecided in this race, as recent events may have given them new options to consider.
The chunk of undecided voters renders the poll more of a novelty than something to hedge any bets on. A full third of the electorate is still at play. But for an incumbent who averaged more than a fifteen point lead over his Democratic opponent, Ethan Berkowitz, last election cycle, expect to see the Parnell campaign dial efforts up several notches in the coming days and weeks.