Alaska to Palin: Drop Dead

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 28 2010 9:39 AM

Alaska to Palin: Drop Dead

Public Policy Polling confirms what had become pretty obvious in the defeat of Joe Miller: Alaskans don't like Sarah Palin anymore.

In Alaska just 33% of voters have a favorable opinion of her to 58% with a negative one. The only place where fewer voters see her positively than her own home state is dark blue Massachusetts.

Democrats hate Palin in Alaska but they hate her everywhere so there's nothing newsworthy about that. What makes her home state numbers unusually bad is that Republicans see her favorably by only a 60/30 margin. In most places she's closer to 80% favorability within her own party. Also while independents don't like her anywhere their level of animosity in Alaska is unusually large- 65% unfavorable to only 25% with a favorable opinion. 

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One reason some people expected Joe Miller to lose the GOP primary this summer was that Palin's unpopularity in the state was an open secret. I visited Alaska in July, and spent half a day in Wasilla, where one used book store put Going Rogue in the Alaska Fiction section. There are simple psychological reasons for all of this. People come to Alaska to strike out and get rich -- in gold, on the oil pipeline, on fishing boats. But Alaskans don't bail on the state to get rich elsewhere, and that's obviously what Palin did in July 2009. She kept her home base in the state while making money as a political pundit Outside. As she did this, Alaskans visiting other states, who were once asked about bears or Deadliest Catch , were asked some variation of the question "ooh, ooh, can you see Russia from your house?" So this is a very specific, provincial kind of popularity plunge.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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