Tracker poll puts Begich and Dunleavy in dead heat a week before election day

42.5 percent to 42.3 percent.

That’s the result of the latest tracker poll of Alaska’s governor’s race by Alaska Survey Research, which gives Republican Mike Dunleavy the slightest edge over Democrat Mark Begich.

The results come from the fifth tracker poll published by the Ivan Moore-owned polling firm and cover a polling period between Oct. 26 and Oct. 29. Importantly, the poll asked its 500 polled voters about the race both with and without the information that even though independent Gov. Bill Walker will appear on the ballot he has suspended his campaign. The poll has a self-reported margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

CandidateSept. 21-25Oct. 1-6Oct. 12-14Oct. 19-22Oct. 26-29
Mark Begich (D)29.0%22.6%26.4%43.7%42.3%
Mike Dunleavy (R)44.4%46.5%43.4%48.3%42.5%
Bill Walker (I)22.9%27.0%26.6%5.3%7.7%
Undecided3.7%3.9%3.6%2.7%4.1%
Billy Toien (L)3.3%

The survey also examined whether or not voters knew that Walker had suspended his campaign and endorsed (albeit “narrowly”) Begich. According to the poll, 21 percent of voters didn’t know he had done so and when the 8.8 percent of Walker voters were informed of the change 54 percent said they would have changed their vote.

Of those voters, 22 percent said they would stick with Walker, 13.1 percent were undecided, 9.8 percent said they would vote for lovable Libertarian goofball Billy Toien and just a measly 1 percent said they’d vote for Dunleavy (though the report shows precisely 0 of the 38 Walker voters in the survey said they’d vote for Dunleavy).

The survey reworked these responses into the overall computation, which would put Begich on top of the race with 46.3 percent of the vote to Dunleavy’s 42.5 percent of the vote, Walker’s 2 percent and Toien’s 44 percent. The percent of undecided voters would be 5.1 percent under this carefully constructed scenario.

The change in favorables is also telling, showing a considerable change for both candidates. Begich began in the tracker polls with a net negative approval rating while Dunleavy, who still had a big gap in name recognition, had a wide margin of favorable ratings.

That’s changed dramatically since Walker suspended his campaign. Begich’s numbers are now into the net positive thanks to a large spike in his positive approval rating and have surpassed Dunleay’s net favorables, which have shrank considerably since the spotlight turned to him.

CandidateSept. 21-25Oct. 1-6Oct. 12-14Oct. 19-22Oct. 26-29
Mark Begich (D) - Positive35.4%36.6%38.8%45.6%46.8%
Mark Begich (D) - Negative39.1%41.8%41.2%38.3%38.3%
Mark Begich (D) - Neutral21.5%18.8%18.2%14.1%13.1%
Mark Begich (D) - Who3.9%2.9%1.9%2.0%1.8%
Mike Dunleavy (R) - Positive40.1%38.4%42.0%44.9%41.6%
Mike Dunleavy (R) - Negative23.4%26.9%27.7%31.2%40.0%
Mike Dunleavy (R) - Neutral20.7%24.3%22.0%16.4%11.2%
Mike Dunleavy (R) - Who?15.9%10.3%8.3%7.4%7.2%

Net approval rating between Begich and Dunleavy

(Net approval = total positive – total negative)

What we learned

As always, taking issue with pollster Ivan Moore’s track record is a time honored tradition in Alaska politics, but as a tracker poll that’s been run throughout the final months of the election cycle there’s certainly use in seeing the trends.

From that, we can tell that:

  • Slowly, but surely Walker’s vote is largely consolidating around Begich (though not entirely). Dunleavy’s drawing fewer Walker voters than we would have expected.
  • Walker still has his supporters and can be expected to get anywhere between 2 percent and 10 percent of the vote on election day.
  • Informing voters about Walker’s suspended campaign and endorsement of Begich is going to be absolutely critical to the race. That information is the difference between a coin toss and a comfortable 4-point lead.
  • Dunleavy’s negatives have spiked considerably since the race went head-to-head, putting the spotlight on him (That explains why he was a no-show at so many debates). His combined negatives now sit at 40 percent while they were at just 23 percent in the initial poll. His positives have remained generally the same.
  • Meanwhile Begich is pretty much a known quantity with voters. His negatives have been flat throughout much of the race. While he’s seen a significant uptick in his popularity after Walker suspended his race, breaking into the mid-to-high 40 percent range.

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3 Comments on "Tracker poll puts Begich and Dunleavy in dead heat a week before election day"

  1. Dunleavy by 8 to 10 points , Ivan Moore is garbage .

  2. Don’t know specifics but am concerned that Begich never did research whether or not Begich would see if Pebble could be done safely

  3. Kimberly Slone | October 31, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Reply

    Mark Begich has my vote. In Alaska we will have 31 villages displaced by climate change and in the near future climate change could have a devastating impact on our salmon if we continue with business as usual. Oil corporations around the globe, including ExxonMobil, acknowledge climate change is a crisis and that it’s primarily caused by man. But Dunleavy wants to cut climate change mitigation and adaptation funding because he doesn’t believe in climate change. And he wants to power rural Alaska with dirty coal. It makes me wonder if he even lives in Alaska because here in Alaska we have a front row seat to climate change. We don’t need Scientist to tell us climate change is happening, we can see it’s happening with our own eyes. Dunleavy is a moron and I don’t vote for morons.

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