Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What drove Miller's victory

A PPP survey of Republican primary voters in Alaska seeking to get at what drove Joe Miller's surprise victory last week finds that while the Tea Party was definitely a major factor, Sarah Palin may not have been. Here's what we found:

Tea Party

-Only 18% of Alaska Republicans identify themselves as Tea Party members but Miller won them by an 80-20 margin, enough to make up for Murkowski's 63-37 lead with ones who don't actively identify with the movement.

-While only 18% of GOP voters identified themselves as Tea Party members, 53% said they supported the goals of the Tea Party. With those folks Miller won 74-26, while Murkowski had the 88-12 edge with those who said they did not support Tea Party goals


-47% of primary voters thought Murkowski was too liberal to 38% who said 'about right' and 14% who said either too conservative or no opinion. Not surprisingly Murkowski lost the voters who said she was too liberal 85-15.

-Additionally 34% of primary voters said they thought the Republican Party in general was too liberal and with those folks Miller won 76-24.


-Only 15% of those who voted for Miller said Palin's endorsement was 'very important' in who they decided to vote for while 26% said 'somewhat important' and 59% said it didn't matter at all.

-Overall 35% of primary voters said a Palin endorsement would make them less likely to support a candidate while 26% said more likely and 39% said it didn't make a difference either way. Among Miller voters though 41% did say a Palin endorsement was a plus to only 13% who said it was a negative.

Wrapping it up

Joe Miller's victory was driven by conservatives who think their party and more specifically Lisa Murkowski have gotten too liberal. Tea Party identification in Alaska is actually not that high, but Miller's advantage with that group was so overwhelming it gave him the win. Palin's endorsement certainly helped Miller and it's unlikely he could have won without it, but it doesn't appear to have been the driving force in his upset.

Full results here


Zornorph said...

It's not that Palin's endorsement is what caused people to vote for Miller, it's that her endorsement put him on the map and brought him the money and airtime he needed to win. She's become the Oprah of politics.

Anonymous said...

From Patrick at PalinGates, which is out of Germany. These people know exactly what is happening here:

I have witnessed in Germany in 1992/93 how a racist "mass rage" can spin out of control.

This kind of mass rage can easily happen again in other places as well. All you need is an incident, a reason to ignite the flame. There seems to be already a broad base of people in the USA who are heavily prejudiced against Muslims, and we have seen the first "incidents" against Muslims. What would for example happen if a Muslim "hits back" and hurts a "white person?" Wouldn't that give people a reason to "strike" against the Muslims?

That's why Glenn Beck's and Sarah Palin's game is so dangerous: If you whip up the masses, you might as well see some (unwanted?) results.


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding - the entire post drips of Tea Pary and Palin...he's a nobody until she weighs in and you say it wasn't the driving force?...here's a little help - she doesn't endorse him, he doesn't win - period! But I guess if you want to say that isn't a "driving" force so be it. However, you're entire post suggests otherwise.

Dale Sheldon-Hess said...

Have you/will you ask about the abortion/parental-notification issue that was on the ballot, and how much that may have driven support for Miller? I suspect it might have, but I don't know for certain.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Have you/will you ask about the abortion/parental-notification issue that was on the ballot, and how much that may have driven support for Miller?"

We didn't ask about that, no.

Clearly, Palin catalyzed Miller's candidacy, but we can only report what people tell us, and they didn't say her endorsement had enough of an effect to be the decisive reason he (presumably) won.

wt said...

Great numbers, but I think if I were responding to the poll I'd probably fudge because I'd want to say something about how I came to the conclusion to vote for Miller on my own (especially with winner's hindsight now), rather than Palin giving me a nudge.

Unknown said...

Was the poll result originally 50-50, or was that the result of weighting to make it more accurately reflect the actual result?

Anonymous said...

When are you releasing the Governor and Congressional numbers? Not expecting much but would still like to see the data. THANKS!!!

Tom Jensen said...


It actually come out that way without having to be weighted.


We'll do Governor and House numbers Thursday

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom.

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