Two recently released public polls suggest about as many Alaskans have a favorable view of Republican Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy after his first three months in office as had a favorable view of former Gov. Bill Walker a year after he vetoed a portion of the PFD.
A new release of the Morning Consult’s quarterly governor tracker poll gives Dunleavy a 41 percent favorable rating with Alaskans and a 29 percent unfavorable rate. Walker had a 42 percent favorable rating in the same tracker poll published a year after Walker vetoed half the state’s annual dividend in the midst of a downturn in oil tax revenue.
The big difference in the polling, however, is the governor’s unfavorable ratings.
While Dunleavy’s unfavorable rating is 29 percent. Walker’s had reached 48 percent in the third-quarter 2017 rating, having fallen from a 53 percent unfavorable rating the previous quarter.
It’s the first time Dunleavy has appeared in the Morning Consult’s nationwide ratings of the country’s most popular and unpopular governors. Dunleavy debuts with the ninth lowest favorable rating of the nation’s governors but doesn’t make an appearance on the site’s 10 most unpopular governors because of his middle-of-the-pack unfavorable rating.
Walker regularly made the site’s list of least popular governors after initially debuting on its most popular list. His approval rating fell from 64 percent in the initial Q4 2015 rating to a mere 25 percent in the final rating of his term.
The former governor’s unfavorable rating grew from 20 percent to a maximum of 54 percent.
The Morning Consult’s polling is useful because it’s conducted with the same methodology in intervals, giving us one of the only consistent insights into the popularity of Alaska’s governor.
The approval ratings of the Morning Consult poll fall in line with polling released early last week by the AFL-CIO. That poll put Dunleavy’s favorability rating at 41 percent with a sweltering disapproval rating of 48 percent.
According to an additional presentation released by the AFL-CIO after the announcement, the poll was conducted between March 30 and April 3, 2019 with a group of 500 participants and a stated margin of error of 4.4 percent.
The polling also included questions about the governor’s budget, which found it’s deeply unpopular. The survey found 63 percent of respondents opposed the budget to just 29 percent who supported it. That was after respondents heard a battery of questions that framed the budget in both positive and negative frameworks. The results after the battery were conducted raised the support up four points while the opposition softened but overall stayed the same.
An interesting takeaway is that the survey polled participants before and after a slew of positive and negative statements about the budget, Dunleavy’s favorable rating dropped a point while his unfavorable ratings increased by two. A net change of -3 to his overall favorability.
The polling also found that the messaging about the budget made for significant negative shifts in opinion for independents and women over 50. Dunleavy’s net favorability rating fell by between 8 and 9 percent with those groups after hearing the messaging on the budget.
The one group that the messaging seemed to have a positive impact on for Dunleavy was men under 50, who went from a net 13 percent favorable rating of Dunleavy to a net 17 percent favorable rating.
About the pollsters
The AFL-CIO-commissioned poll used Lake Research Partners, which has a B+ ranking from FiveThirtyEight’s pollster ratings and a D+0.6 mean-reverted bias. Lake Research’s live call phones include cellphones.
Morning Consult conducts its own polling online and has a B- grade from FiveThirtyEight. It also has a D+0.6 mean-reverted bias. Its most recent polling was conducted between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2019.