I’ve been saying Alaska is a competitive presidential battleground state, and Public Policy Polling (PPP) just confirmed it.
Trump only got 51% in Alaska in 2016, with Libertarian Gary Johnson getting 19% of the vote. Couldn’t vote for that woman. But with boring, safe, and very white and male Joe Biden on the ticket, it’s much easier for people to vote Democratic this year. Having Trump go from 51% to 48% is very plausible.
I’ve noted in the past that there is close correlation between Trump’s job approval number and his share of the Trump versus Biden vote. Here are the Civiqs’ Alaska numbers for Trump:
Our 47% Trump approval rating closely matches the 48% he’s getting in the PPP poll. We’re seeing that in every state in which Trump is underwater—if voters have turned against him, he’s in danger of losing that state’s electoral votes.
Montana is in the same boat.
Now, Biden doesn’t need Alaska’s three electoral votes. They’re not going to make or break the presidential election. And while having that big ass state painted blue on a results map is nice, really, it doesn’t have much of a practical benefit. As previously noted, if Biden wins Alaska, he’s already flipped (in order) Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Montana. Does it really matter if the final tally is 376-162 or 379-159?
Here’s where it matters:
|US Senate race in Alaska
|Dan Sullivan (R-inc)
|Al Gross (I)
That’s a whole lot of shoulder shrugging, but for an incumbent to be under 40% is danger-danger-Will-Robinson territory. Gross might be running as an independent, but he’s the de facto Democrat in the race.
According to PPP, 72% of voters still don’t know who he is. I saw an earlier internal poll that had that number at 90%. Alaskan voters don’t seem to realize there’s a Senate race this fall. Democrats need to change that ASAP, and Alaska is a dirt cheap state to advertise in. Not sure what the hold up is.
But here’s the thing: The bigger Trump’s victory margin, the harder it is for Gross to get the crossover votes he needs to pick up another Senate seat for Team Blue. So while Biden doesn’t need the state, the Democrats do. And the Senate race isn’t the only one impacted:
|US House race in Alaska
|Don young (R-inc)
|Alyse Galvin (D)
And woah. Young has been a perennial target in the state’s single at-large House district, but always manages to come through. PPP writes: “It’s worth noting though that the undecideds in the House race are supporting Trump for President by 26 points- if they ended up voting the same party for House it would easily push Young back into the lead.” Clearly Alaskan Republicans are tired of Young’s history of bizarre antics. The only question is whether they, as usual, send him back to Washington, D.C. But again, the narrower the margin at the top, the easier it becomes for Galvin to pull off the upset.