Because it’s never too early to start thinking about the next big election, today we can bring you the results of a super early poll on the race for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat.
The polling pits Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan against Anchorage Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, who made his debut in statewide politics in 2014 on the Democratic ticket against U.S. Rep. Don Young, and it finds a dead heat. The polling measured both if Dunbar ran as an independent or as a Democrat.
The poll was conducted by Patinkin Research Strategies and was commissioned by The Midnight Sun Publisher Jim Lottsfeldt.
According to the poll if the election were held today, a Democratic Dunbar would tie Sullivan 39 percent of the vote to 39 percent of the vote. An independent Dunbar would slightly trail with 40 percent of the vote to Sullivan’s 42 percent of the vote.
In both cases, Sullivan’s voters generally fell into the strongly support category where Dunbar’s supporters were split between “strongly” and “not strongly.” Undecided voters favored Dunbar over Sullivan in both scenarios.
Neither had their party locked up, about 80 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Sullivan and 10 percent said they’d vote for Dunbar. On the flip side, about 76 percent of Democrats said they’d vote for a Democratic Dunbar and 5 percent would vote for Sullivan. A Democratic Dunbar held the edge with independents with 36.6 percent of the vote to 24.7 percent for Sullivan.
In both cases, the polling could point to trouble for Sullivan. With a generally low profile, Sullivan has been generally popular in Alaska, but the latest popularity tracker done by Morning Consult puts his favorable rating at 38 percent with an unfavorable rating of 32 percent and 30 percent undecided.
Dunbar is currently taking part in annual National Guard training and was unavailable for comment.
Dunbar ran unopposed for re-election to the Anchorage Assembly earlier this year where he raised more than $67,000 according to reports with the Alaska Political Offices Commission. He’s also been one of the rumored favorites for a potential progressive mayoral run in 2021 when Mayor Ethan Berkowitz hits the term limits for the office.
We haven’t heard much about potential plans for Dunbar to re-enter statewide politics. Dunbar had a strong statewide debut when he got within 10 points of the Young in 2014, a high mark since Berkowitz challenged Young in 2008 that was bested when independent Alyse Galvin came within seven points in 2018.