Poll shows Peltola is well known and liked but that Begich is just as likely to win Alaska’s seat in Congress

Nancy Dahlstrom, Mary Peltola and Nick Begich III are running for U.S. House in 2024. (Alaska Public Media)

A new poll suggests the race for Alaska’s congressional seat is too close to call.

The poll by Data for Progress shows Democratic Congresswoman Mary Peltola would win the first round of voting with 44%, followed by Republicans Nick Begich III and Nancy Dahlstrom. But after ranked choices are tallied, the poll shows a 50-50 split between Peltola and Begich.

Data for Progress Executive Director Danielle Deiseroth said one strength Peltola has is that she’s well known and 51% of respondents view her favorably or very favorably. 

“To be an incumbent representative viewed favorably by your electorate is, you know, certainly a good sign. That definitely stood out to me,” Deiseroth said.

The poll of 1,120 likely Alaska voters closed March 2 and has a three point margin of error. Data for Progress funded it. That’s a progressive group with a highly rated polling department. The political news site 538 gives it a nearly perfect score for accuracy and lack of bias.

The poll also shows that Dahlstrom is largely unknown among Alaskans, even though she’s the lieutenant governor. It found that 65% of Alaskans don’t know enough about her to say whether they view her favorably or not.

“Typically, state level elected officials do carry more name recognition. So that was a little bit surprising to me,” Deiseroth said.

You can expect to hear a lot more about Dahlstrom in the coming months. Political action committees associated with U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson have picked Dahlstrom as their candidate. They are likely to spend millions to try to convert Alaska’s seat to the Republican column.

Election forecasters The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball say the Alaska race “leans Democratic,” meaning they think Peltola has an edge on the challengers.

The poll asked about all of Alaska’s statewide officeholders. About half of respondents rated U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski favorably. The poll found she’s better liked among Democrats and independents. Two-thirds of the Republicans surveyed gave Murkowski an unfavorable rating. Murkowski is a Republican who frequently angers conservatives by taking moderate positions and opposing Donald Trump.

Few statewide Alaska polls are made public. Deiseroth said the state is on the group’s radar in part because one of its senior advisors, Jason Katz-Brown, lives in Anchorage, and the organization is interested in ranked choice voting.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

Previous articleAlaska News Nightly: Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Next articleHome bakers in Alaska find sweet success on Instagram