Narrow house

Will Sarah Palin cost the GOP a House seat?

The Washington Post published an interesting story yesterday about how Sarah Palin could potentially cost the GOP a House seat ahead of the November vote,… In the last election cycle, voters in Alaska have adopted a ranked voting system to elect federal candidates. Under this system, the second choice of the unregistered is assigned to the favorites based on the ranking of voters on Election Day. There have been two rounds of elections in Alaska for their sole House seat. One was to determine the nominees for the November contest. The other was to determine the immediate winner who would fill the vacancy created by the death of longtime GOP congressman Don Young. The Job article focused on the election to fill the immediate vacancy created by Young’s death.

They noted that as of Tuesday this week, Democrat Peltola was leading with 38% of the vote, with Palin coming in at 32% and Republican Nick Begich trailing with 28.6%. With 70% of the votes counted, under the new ranked voting system, Begich will most likely be eliminated and his votes reallocated to Palin and Peltola, depending on his supporters’ second-choice preferences. Most had assumed that since Begich was a Republican, Palin would be her backers’ second choice. Although the article concedes that Palin is likely still the slight favorite to win when all the votes are reallocated at the end of the month, that is by no means guaranteed.

A part of Posts takeaway meals include:

Peltola outranks absentee voters, many of whom have yet to be counted.

Peltola also outperforms in rural areas.

There is a lot of resentment from voters over Palin’s departure in her first year in office.

Peltola’s total share of first-choice votes could end up approaching 40%. That means she would only need about a third of Begich’s second-choice voters to win..

Most election models predict a very narrow victory for Palin when all the votes are cast by the end of the month. But those same patterns show Peltola working much stronger than expected with an upset as a distinct possibility. We can only hope.