Yesterday, we told you how some Democrats would do in their 2018 gubernatorial primary if it were held today. Today is the Republicans’ turn. Well, Republicans and Gov. Bill Walker.
But before we give you all the numbers, just as we did yesterday, we’ll tell you about the poll itself. The survey was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. and sampled registered voters in Alaska between March 22 – April 2. You can see the sample breakdowns here:
The poll asked voters who say they normally vote in GOP primaries who they would vote for if their choices for Governor were former Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, former candidate for U.S. Senate Joe Miller, former gubernatorial candidate John Binkley, current State Senators Mike Dunleavy and Peter Micciche, and current Governor Bill Walker.
Walker’s inclusion in the poll is interesting. We’ve told you in recent months that we believe if at least 3-4 candidates get in the GOP primary — Alaska GOP Vice-Chairman Rick Whitbeck has said on numerous occasions he has a list of about 50 names of people who could run — then Walker would likely have a path to victory if he jumped in.
The rest of model looks like a good mix of names. There are candidates from various areas of the state including Kenai, Mat-Su, Valdez, and Fairbanks, current legislators and those who can play the “outsider” card, and a blend of business conservatives, social and fiscal conservatives, and moderates. The pollster gave Republican voters options that varied in enough ways to see where they really stand.
Here is how numbers came out:
Joe Miller dominates with 25% of the vote, with Walker coming in just behind him at 19%. The rest barely make a blip. That is likely because despite being well-known names in political circles most voters likely have never heard of them.
Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Look at what happens when respondents are asked their second choice, or who they would vote for if Miller or Walker (the top two picks) weren’t in the election.
Interestingly, Joe Miller is Walker voters’ top second choice (19%), and in what will come as a shock to many, Walker is the second choice of a full quarter of Miller voters. It should come as no surprise, then, that when either Walker or Miller are taken out of the race, the other takes a commanding position. Miller gets 37% without Walker, three times his closest competitor, and Walker comes in with 25% without Miller, two and half times anyone else.
Finally, if Walker and Miller went head to head, Miller would start off 12 points ahead at 33% to 21%, with a hefty 46% undecided.
The conclusion has to be that if the GOP primary attracts more than one credible candidate other than Walker, the Governor would have a plausible path to victory if he chooses to go that route for reelection. The only Republican currently positioned to disrupt such a move is everyone’s favorite beard, Joe Miller.