A poll conducted for and released by the Alaska state House majority on Friday might provide a window into why Democrats in Alaska continue to lose legislative races and why the party is losing members in droves.
If the numbers are right, the Dems are simply out of step with mainstream Alaska public opinion, at least on oil taxes, school choice, and gun control. (To be fair, other issues like abortion, Pebble mine, and Medicaid expansion, questions that Dems might have some traction, were conspicuously absent.)
The poll, conducted by Dittman Research shows that by a 54-32 percent margin, Alaskans support lowering taxes on the oil industry. Fifty six percent support placing a constitutional amendment that would allow for school choice, an issue Dems seem to be opposed to. And a majority approve of Gov. Sean Parnell, as well as the Republican dominated legislature.
There’s strong public support for school choice (56-36%), with Alaskans supporting placing a constitutional amendment before voters that would open up the question. Also, by a 2-1 margin, Alaskans believe that school choice will create competition that will improve schools.
All might not be well for Parnell, however. Although he has a 51 percent approval rating, 11 percent didn’t have an opinion, which seems a high number for an incumbent this far into his term.
Surely bucking the national trend of approval ratings for political institutions, Alaskans seems to like their legislature. Fifty four percent approve of the House and the Senate. If it’s true that familiarity breeds contempt, it’s a number that might give legislators who have been pushing for a capitol move pause.
Alaskans also overwhelmingly support an instate gasline over a large diameter export line, numbers that will likely be continually touted by House Speaker Mike Chenault, and Rep. Mike Hawker, whose commitment to build an instate gasline has been unwavering and unrelenting.
Finally, a sad commentary on the Alaska PR firms that have oil company accounts: only 1 in 10 Alaskans know that oil taxes contribute 90 percent of state revenues.
Read the poll here.
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