Anchorage pollster Hellenthal has Parnell up by 10 over Walker in governor’s race

Local pollster Marc Hellenthal’s most recent poll has Gov. Sean Parnell beating “unaffiliated” candidate Bill Walker by 10 points in the governor’s race. Hellenthal polled 400 Alaskans via landlines and cell phones between Sept. 12-24. The poll was not paid for by any of the gubernatorial candidates or groups associated with the governor’s race. Neither of the candidate’s lieutenant governors, whose names will be on the ballot along Parnell and Walker, were mentioned in the poll.

So far, the numbers have been all over the place. A recent PPP poll showed Walker up by 1 percentage point. A recent poll conducted by Hays Research for the Alaska AFL-CIO showed Walker up by 8 points. An internal poll conducted for Parnell’s campaign had Parnell up by 5 points.

Here’s a screen-grab of a chart from Hellenthal’s poll. The “general election,” category is Hellenthal’s prediction if the undecideds were divvied up between the three candidates.

Hellenthall Parnell-Walker horserace


25 thoughts on “Anchorage pollster Hellenthal has Parnell up by 10 over Walker in governor’s race

  1. Dunsmore

    I apologize if I gave the impression that I was an “expert on polling.” My intention was more to express appreciation for the skills that true experts possess. I would say my knowledge of polling is about like my knowledge of computers- I know what all of the specifications mean, but there’s no way I could build or program one myself.

    And yes, I believe you are right that having the poll in the field for 10 days is problematic. My guess is Hellenthal was conducting a poll for a non-political client and stuck the question on out of curiosity. For commercial polling the time issue would be much less important (for example if you were asking people about McDonald’s it is not likely that Burger King would launch an attack ad in the middle of your poll that changes the results).

  2. Alaska Cod Piece

    (Sub) Parnell’s strategy is to lay low, show up/speak out at as few events as possible, and cruise back into office based on the R next to his name.
    Could work if Alaska has the usual shamefully low voter turn out.
    Parnell sez: Alaska, I couldn’t do it to you without you!

  3. Jon K


    You are not going to get a contract to build the pipeline until some one makes it through the permitting process. This means we are going to need the mother of all EISs and FERC approval. We now have contracts in place to do just that. The work currently being done to make it through this process is what Walker is deriding as study hall. As I have said you do not get contracts to build until you have the permits and a real credible cost estimate. This is what the companies are doing now.

    Read about the AGIA open season and the willingness to bring the gas to Valdez. This option was built in because of Walker and the Port authority. Wlker made many promises but never delivered. If he had customers willing to buy capacity the gas line would have been built to Valdez. Didn’t happen. Walker is great at getting companies to make non binding expressions of interest, but he can never get them to deliver when the rubber hits the road and real binding commitments are required.

  4. Lynn Willis


    I am glad to see that we agree on at least one topic.

    The first reference you provide is to the MOU which calls for future contracts. I am not an attorney; however, I would not want my legal counsel to attempt to force performance based on this language:

    Article 2: Principals:
    2.1 This HOA (Heads of Agreement) sets out the guiding principals upon which the Parties wish to progress to work. It is understood and agreed that if the Legislature passes Enabling Legislature that is acceptable to the Parties, the parties would negotiate contracts…..” (Emphasis added)

    The second reference is for a joint venture agreement. Again we hear of a future contract and that is what we are now lacking. In this we have an agreement (albeit very expensive) to simply look at the viability of actual contracts to build the line. Contracts to build the line are what I consider to be the contracts that will result in this project. By this agreement we just bought a ticket to enter the arena, not to have a project:
    “The state of Alaska and four energy firms have signed a joint-venture agreement to begin preliminary work on an 800-mile natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant, Governor Sean Parnell said Wednesday. The agreement calls for partners to invest millions in so-called front-end engineering and design work over the next 18 months for the project, which could ultimately cost between $45 billion and $65 billion. The agreement comes two months after the state’s legislature backed Parnell’s plan to work with North Slope leaseholders Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and BP, plus pipeline company TransCanada on a project development contract. That contract will have to be ratified by the legislature and is still forthcoming, likely by the end of 2015.” (Emphasis added).

    Also, I consider myself to be fairly well informed. Please provide the reference articles that explain when TransCanada approached Bill Walker to pursue the AGIA project to Valdez as you claim after 2010. The viability of AGIA was a topic of the debates between Parnell and Berkowitz for the 2010 race when Parnell claimed he knew of “willing buyers and sellers” when pressed for the results of the AGIA open season which had not been released (and never were – apparently because there were neither). I know Walker was working on the Port Authority or All Alaska Line. I do know that, at the last minute, TransCanada changed the routing to South Central Alaska just before AKLNG surfaced. Also, when the AGIA contract was terminated and the restriction of 500 million cubic feet per day for the AGDC/ASAP project was removed, why are we paying for that second project especially in light of the activity in Cook Inlet?
    I hope the hearing on AKLNG Monday is recorded so I can listen to it – thanks for the heads up.

  5. Jon K


    Lynn you are wrong on many issues. for now i’ll just hit on the contract issue. Here are links to the contract that was executed earlier this year formalizing our participation in Ak LnG:

    And here is a story about the joint venture agreement that was executed this summer:

    The bottom line is that we currently have plan that was endorsed by 52 legislators during an election year to get this thing built – I’m not saying it will happen but we are following the right process. We’ve learned from our mistakes in the past and are better off for it.

    In respnse to parnell’s plan, Walker is lobbing grenades without apparently understanding what we’ve agreed to. Worse he doesn’t appear to have the slightest clue how to get a project of this magnitude and complexity built. What walker does say is reckless and delusional. It should concern all Alaskans that this man wants to blow up the considerable amount of progress we are making. It would be one thing if he could explain to us how he wants to proceed. But he doesn’t. Again all we get are empty and stupid bumper stickers.

    And while this state has many significant problems, getting the gasline correct has got to be our top economic priority. We have a fighting chance under Parnell’s approach to finally get this done.

  6. Amanda Post author

    Jon and Lynn: Just so you know: I read every word both of you write and I learn so much from both of you. Thanks for that. I don’t know exactly how I would do it, but I’m envisioning taking key passages of what both you have written and putting them into one, longer piece. I think readers who don’t pour over comments like I do would be really well served by that.

  7. Lynn Willis

    The legislature passed a bill and we are following that law. If you want to call that law a contract so be it. We have no formalized contractual participation yet Jon, – that would require a contract. That contract will be proposed at the end of “pre-feed”. The same propaganda you spew was said about AGIA. AGIA became untenable after shale gas killed it yet Parnell just kept paying TC. The competing project at Kitimat B.C was into “Feed” (we are just starting “Pre-Feed) when Apache Oil bailed on Chevron. How much is that costing the sovereign of British Columbia (answer zero) as compared to what our (the State of Alaska) leaving at the end of Feed will cost us according to the DNR ( $145 to $180 million plus TC development cost of $183 to $337 million plus 7.1% of Allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC)). Aren’t you the one claiming we have to continue deficit spending because we are bound by formula spending so it isn’t Parnell’s fault? Where will we come up with cash for this expense if necessary other than the body of the Permanent Fund?
    You keep demanding that I side with Walker on this issue. I am not doing that. I don’t want the state as a partner in any gas line endeavor certainly not as a minority partner. I have reasons to support Walker that have nothing to do with a gas line starting with the Dahlstrom hire, spending us into the poor house and now ending with the National Guard debacle.
    We are a sovereign, not an investment bank. We did not “partner” with the producers on TAPS. We made significant revenue in the role intended for a sovereign. How soon would have the ongoing the property tax litigation on the value of TAPS be politicized if we had been partners in that endeavor? The State would have been in direct conflict with those local governments who rely on those property taxes for local revenue.
    You state the very reason we shouldn’t be involved as a business partner when you explain how the “best and the brightest” are working on this. The best come from the industry not from a group whose leader now holds political fund raisers for Sean Parnell.

  8. Garand Fellow

    No, judges determine the law but they certainly do not determine what is honest and dishonest. Remember, every judge worked as an attorney before becoming a judge and after 15 years as a judge in Alaska can go back to being an attorney but with full judge pay for life. Heaven help anyone who thinks that system could possibly be the arbiter of honesty.

    The law itself is very often dishonest, perhaps especially in Alaska when it comes to politics and courts. So this change from an elected Democratic Party ticket to no ticket for the Democratic Party, and substituting Bill Walker who didn’t run for Byron Mallott who ran and won is dishonest whether some erstwhile attorney who has temporarily become a judge to take advantage of the lifetime retirement opined up or down.

  9. Jon K


    We have entered into a legislatively approved contract to formalize our participation in the AK LNG project. This joint venture is being led by the best in the business – the best arctic pipeline company, the best arctic gas producers, the best at building LNG facilities, the best at marketing gas. About 500 people are currently working on the project. We get a seat at the table and only have to pay for a small portion of the costs while we get 25 percent of the value. I’d say this is a great deal. There will be a legislative hearing on Monday. Perhaps you could attend and learn something?

    But since you and walker keep insisting that we need to be in control – maybe you can tell us what this means? Who do we hire to put in control? What will it cost is in time and money to “get control”? How much experience do the folks who will lead Walker’s project have with building a massive gas treatment plant in the arctic, a 800 mile gas pipeline, LNG facilities, a port, and gas marketing? And Why the hell would we want Walker, or the state, in control of such an unbelievably expensive and complex project? Remember in 2010 Walker had a company – Transcanada – willing to bring gas to Valdez. All he needed to do was find the customers – which he told Alaskans that he had – and find someone to build the liquefaction. He didn’t deliver despite spending a TON of the Port Authority’s money – this is another areaa that the press has never examined – how much money did walker make off of the Port Authority? how much money did hr Port Authority spend? what did they get for that money? Maybe Dermot cole could investigate. Oh wait, he isn’t a reporter any more – he prefers propaganda. Perhaps someone else will look into this?

  10. CPG49

    I got so annoyed with Fleener’s hypocrisy in my earlier comment posting, I forgot to comment on the story. I appreciate your practice of supplying polling data. Some of it is valuiable and some less so’ however, collectively it certainly provides some trends and ideas where the electorate is. Hellenthal knows a great deal about polling and understands the Alaska electorate. While I don’t want to pretend I’m a polling expert like Densmore (see comment) because I’m not, like he’s not – – but, isn’t it problematic that the poll was in the field for 10+ days? Just thinking that might impact the quality of results.

  11. CPG49

    Couldn’t help but to laugh at Craig Fleener’s posted comment. The big reason I could never support Walker is because of his demonstrated poor judgement of selecting Craig Fleener as his running mate. Fleenr’s comment critical of the current administration are laughable. Evidently he didn’t mind when he was working for the administration. Fleener is a hypocrite. A dumb one at that.

  12. jack

    You and the media want to ask questions?..then get your boy Parnell into the debate ring and let`s go!…


  13. jack guys kill me..your using massaged polls. Frivolous and meaningless, Strait`s lawsuit. Like the Alaska republican leadership. So what are you saying?..stay with Parnell and go broke and stay cold because we can`t afford heat among so many resources making others rich. People in a state of less than a million should be able, with all the resource wealth,..make it available. gas or propane should have been coming off the slope to Fairbanks and the interior years ago, and rail, road, and river heads in Fairbanks years ago, laying groundwork for a healthy and growing base economy and infrastructure. Instead, we spent year after year in Juneau, our representatives dancing to the “tax-cut polka”,..played by the “Cartels”. Who needs to investigate injustice and rape in our guard… it`s being “handled”… right.

  14. Lou

    Lynn Willis and Jon K, I appreciate and value your comments. Both of you make solid points and offer perspectives worth considering. While I don’t always agree with either of you, I appreciate your consistent logic and commentary.
    The other day someone opined negatively on Stockholder’s comments. Ditto. They are garbled rants from the uninformed.
    I have to admit that I love this blog and for the most part really enjoy reading the comments on Amanda’s postings.

  15. Stockholder

    The Hayes Research group poll that found Bill Walker up by 8 points showed their methodology. The Hayes poll surveyed more Alaskans than this new pollster- making the Hayes poll more statistically significant.

    Walker will win this election. Alaskans have grown tired of the failures of the incumbent. Alaskans have shown their support for term limits- and Parnell is seeking a defacto third term. He’s had his chance, and he’s blown it. The biggest deficits in state history, no gas line, no alternative revenue, no clean air in Fairbanks. But what Parnell has done is massively increase salaries for his friends. $250,000 for Butcher, $570,000 for Fauske, etc.
    And then the Board of Regents trying to dole out a $320,000 bonus of Gamble. Enough.

    Bill Walker has met a (private sector) payroll for over thirty years. Parnell has never done this, not even once.

  16. Dunsmore

    Um yeah. I’m trying to come up with a polite way to describe Hellenthal’s methodology. Primitive, maybe? There is a reason that 21st Century pollsters do not release the raw numbers from their polls, because they have developed sophisticated (and proprietary) sampling and weighting models so the raw numbers are not meaningful out of context. Simply put a modern poll is really about 10 or more mini-polls of various demographic groups that are compiled based on statistical projections into a statewide number. For one, any pollster should know that a phone survey will be biased towards Republicans since stay at home spouses (who lean conservative) are the most likely people to be available to answer a phone survey and should weight their results accordingly.

    There’s a reason that the best pollsters make millions of dollars- they are practicing a highly skilled profession. While 20th Century polling focused more on how to write non-biased questions and how to get representative phone samples (both of which are still important), modern polling is more about how to develop mathematical models to reduce the inherent inaccuracies.

    Also distributing the undecideds equally between the candidates is just stupid. In most cases undecideds break 2-1 for the challenger, and since the Libertarian and Constitution Party tickets were left off of the poll it is safe to say some of the undecideds are actually committed L or C voters.

  17. Craig Fleener

    Jon K,

    Some of those may be valid questions. But, have you thought of also asking the existing governor any of the same questions? Or, are you thrilled with his multi-billion dollar overspending, his disregard for the abuse in the national guard, and many many other issues that are important for Alaskans?

  18. Lynn Willis

    Jon and Garand,
    I am intrigued with both your arguments based on the premise that Parnell is terrible; however, Walker is probably going to be worse.
    Jon, I have already stated I don’t see a pipeline from either of them; yet, I would certainly not want the one that makes a very minority partner. What actual contracts are you claiming exist? Legislative approval of contracts for the AKLNG project does not occur until after “pre-feed” according to the DNR presentation to the legislature. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is not a contract.
    Garand, name calling is probably the most desperate argument one can offer. The courts have now ruled on the legitimacy of this ticket so, at this time, the claim of a “dishonest” ticket is moot.

  19. Jon K

    Garand – couldn’t agree more. Walker is now backing off his promise to balance the budget. He just updated his website and that promise has been removed. Instead he says he will “make the hard choices necessary for a sounder fiscal future, including putting in place a sustainable budget.” Of course he doesn’t say what those harder choices are.

    One issue you neglected to mention is his delusional plan to get us a gas pipeline. Actually, that is being too generous. There is no plan. All we get are slogans and populist mush. “Study hall is over!” “We are going to take control.” “We are going to get a pipeline build on our terms.” Why doesn’t any one in the media ask him what the hell this means or how much this will cost? What is he going to do with the legislation already on the books and with the contracts already signed with Exxon, BP, Conoco, and Transcanada? Is he going to try and repeal the legislation? Modify it? Is he going to terminate the contracts? Who is he going to hire to put in control and lead a $50 billion plus project? Will it be one of his former clients?

  20. Garand Fellow

    This poll says what I have to believe is the situation but there is conflicting information from many directions. Still, Bill Walker is a nut, and I cannot believe Alaskans will vote for this contrived and dishonest ticket.

    We need the media to do its job. They have to ask if environmentalists will vote for the Sealaska CEO who mined all the timber for cash, leaving clearcuts that could likely be seen from the moon. There were no stream buffers until state law required them but there was lots of rhetoric about the importance of salmon and the strong ties to the land. The land took second place to high six figure and low 7 figure salaries at Sealaska while Byron Mallott ran the show. Now his son runs the place.

    The media have to ask how can Walker balance the budget as he claims and at the same time increase education funding as he claims. The deficit will be about $2.5 billion this year; what programs will he cut to balance the budget?

    The women’s pro-choice groups must be asked to reconcile what is plain as day. Bill Walker is pro-life, and because of the Democratic Party razzle-dazzle there is no ticket for pro-choice people to choose.

    The media are doing a poor job of asking questions of the Walker-Mallott team. Possibly there is not other state where the media do such a superficial job of investigating something like this strange ticket that has emerged right before the election!

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