Anchorage-based pollster and political consultant Mark Hellenthal released a wide-ranging poll on Wednesday, which shows, among other things, that if the election were held today, SB 21, or the oil tax legislation that was passed by the Legislature, would likely be repealed by a slim margin. It also showed that while Dan Sullivan has the lead in the U.S. Senate primary, it might not be as wide a lead between Sullivan and Mead Treadwell — the two leading candidates — as Sullivan’s internal polling has suggested.
The poll was conducted June 17-28 and includes 392 registered Alaskan registered voters who were contacted both on landlines and via cell phones. The margin of error is 4.9 percent, Hellenthal said, though that number goes up when primary voters are carved out in the poll.
“All other Alaska research firms contract their fielding work to ‘outside’ firms,” Hellenthal wrote in the poll’s introduction. “Therefore, their results are only as accurate as the ‘Outside’ firm’s quality controls.”
The poll shows that Sullivan is up by only 4.3 percent over Treadwell among those who are likely to vote in the Republican primary. Sullivan had 34.8 percent, Treadwell 30.5 percent and Miller 21.4 percent, with 13 percent still undecided. Remember, however, that this is a primary-vote carve out, which reduces the number of respondents substantially and increases the margin of error likewise.
Those are the horserace numbers. Dig deeper into the crosstabs and there’s more disturbing news for Sullivan. Treadwell has a much lower negative number than does Sullivan. A whopping 30 percent pf all voters have a negative view of Sullivan, while Treadwell only has a 10 percent negative rating. Miller, not surprisingly, has a 47 percent negative rating. These are all voters, including Democrats.
Hellenthal said that the attacks on Sullivan by Begich and the Democrats have hurt Sullivan. “They’ve bruised him,” he said. And in the meantime, everyone has left Treadwell alone.
“Someone’s going to have to go negative on Treadwell,” Hellenthal said. “If no one goes negative, Sullivan loses to Treadwell,” he predicted.
The other surprise in Hellenthal’s poll was that despite the millions spent on those who are fighting repealing the oil tax bill passed in 2013, repeal is winning by 2 percentage points by all voters, and oddly enough, by 5 percentage points by those who are planning to vote in the Republican primary.
Hellenthal’s theory is that all of the ads put out by the “No on 1” campaign have actually neutralized the message, particularly because in all the ads he’s heard, the “paid for” disclosure is at the end, and most of the ads so far have been paid for by the oil companies.
“What the public is left with is that BP, ConocoPhillips, and Exxon are saying that it’s a good thing for you if we give them more money,” he said.
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