Alaska is More Progressive Than You Think
OK, can we just stop for a minute, and revel in something?
First let me start by saying that I have long tried to convince the unconvinceable that Alaska is bluer than its current slate of lawmakers would lead one to believe. Now I’ve got backup.
Public Policy Polling came out with some numbers that reflect a change on The Last Frontier. It’s the kind of change that says, “You know, we’ve been thinking about it, and maybe we don’t really want to be a backward, redneck, socially intolerant oil colony after all.”
Here are some highlights:
-For the first time in its polling PPP finds a plurality of Alaskans in support of gay marriage. 47% of voters favor it to 46% who are opposed. That represents a 9 point shift just from a year ago when only 43% supported it and 51% were against. When it comes to the broader issue of granting same sex couples legal rights through civil unions there’s a pretty broad consensus with 71% of voters in support and only 26% opposed to any sort of legal recognition. Even among Republicans there’s 54% support for at least letting gay couples have civil unions.
-Sarah Palin continues to be so unpopular in her home state that she trails Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical contest for President there. Only 39% of voters in Alaska have a favorable opinion of her to 55% who see her in a negative light, and she trails Clinton 44/43 in a head to head. Palin does worse in her home state than any of the other potential Republican candidates we tested. Jeb Bush is the strongest, leading Clinton by 8 at 47/39, followed by Rand Paul who leads her by 6 at 47/41, and Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee who both lead her by 4 points at 43/39 and 45/41 respectively.
-Alaskans support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes by a 74/22 margin, and they support legalizing it for recreational purposes too by a narrower 55/39 spread. When it comes to medical marijuana there’s a pretty strong bipartisan consensus with 88% of Democrats, 79% of independents, and 58% of Republicans in support of it. There’s 72/26 support for recreational use among voters under 30.
-Alaskans strongly favor both extending unemployment benefits and increasing the minimum wage to $1o an hour. 60% support the minimum wage hike to only 33% who are opposed. It has support from 81% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and even 43% of Republicans. The numbers on extending unemployment benefits are pretty similar with 59% in support of continuing them to just 34% who think they should be cut off.
-Lisa Murkowski voted across party lines on the procedural vote on the unemployment benefits issue last month, and perhaps as a result has some unusual splits in her approval numbers. She’s the most popular politician in the state with 50% of voters approving of her to 37% who disapprove. But she’s actually considerably more popular with both Democrats (59/27) and independents (55/33) than her own Republican voters (38/50).
-Although results we released yesterday showed that Sean Parnell is strongly favored for reelection this fall, he could be headed for a political setback in August. 43% of Alaskans say they plan to vote to repeal Senate Bill 21, the Oil and Gas Production Tax, compared to only 31% who intend right now to keep it in place. There’s a pretty strong consensus among Democrats for repeal (57/18), while Republicans only narrowly (32/40) want to keep it in place.
That’s right, candidates. If you want to appeal to the majority of your constituents, you’ll be pro-same-sex marriage, pro-legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use, pro-extension of unemployment benefits, pro-increasing minimum wage, and pro-repealing Sean Parnell’s disastrous SB21 oil tax rollback.
And in other news, you’ll also be anti-Pebble mine and pro-choice.
Oh, Alaska, you big sneaky blue state, you…