AARP Poll: Trump-Endorsed Kelly Tshibaka Tied with Pro-Impeachment Lisa Murkowski

UNITED STATES - JULY 19: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, attends the Senate Energy and Natu
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Trump-endorsed Alaskan Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka remains tied with 21-year incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), an AARP poll confirmed Thursday.

Like previous polls, the AARP poll takes into account Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system. Tshibaka leads Murkowski on the first ballot by eight points and by nine points on the second. On the third ballot, the poll shows Tshibaka and Murkowski tied.

Democrat Pat Chesbro received 14 percent on the first ballot and 14 percent on the second ballot before becoming ineligible for the third ballot.

“Specifically, 227 respondents from the core sample are voting for Murkowski on the final ballot vs. 224 picking Tshibaka,” the poll reported. “It is an understatement to call that within the margin of error.”

The poll was conducted Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research, which interviewed 1,050 likely voters ages 50 years and older from September 6-11 with a 3.3 point margin of error. The interviews were conducted via landline (30 percent), cellphone (35 percent), and SMS-to-web (35 percent).

The AARP poll confirms polling released Monday; the 21-year incumbent and pro-impeachment Republican is in a statistical tie with Tshibaka.

The polling suggests that Murkowski’s best chance of defeating Tshibaka within the ranked-choice voting system is Democrat voters — similar to how Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tried to benefit from Democrat votes in her primary election loss. The way Alaska’s ranked-choice general election works is as follows:

All candidates from all parties appear on the ballot together in the August primary. The top four vote-getters regardless of party then advance to the general election, and their voters are given the opportunity to pick their top choice, as well as their second and third choices. If no candidate in the first round of voters’ first choices gets 50 percent of the vote, the last place candidate’s second choices are distributed across the remaining three candidates to see if someone can get across the majority threshold. If that fails again to produce a majority vote-getter, then a third round is conducted where the third place candidate’s votes are redistributed according to second choices between the remaining two candidates.

Momentum seems to be behind Tshibaka. Three former U.S. Senate candidates in recent weeks have suspended their campaigns and coalesced behind Tshibaka instead of the 21-year incumbent. Because of the ranked-choice system, former candidates endorsing Tshibaka are exactly what she needs to win.

“I think it is really becoming clear that Alaskans across the entire spectrum are uniting behind this campaign,” Tshibaka told campaign supporters on Monday.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.


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