According to a new poll, that was distributed by Breitbart News, former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner Kelly Tshibaka is leading incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski in the state’s U.S. Senate race. Murkowski has had numerous votes that have angered the GOP base, including her refusal to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh and her “yes” vote on a Democrat plan to federalize elections that are currently state run.
The poll, which was conducted the way Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system will hold its election, found that Tshibaka would emerge as the only candidate with a shot to get over 50 percent in a four-way field in November. Conducted from March 14 to March 16, the survey of 500 likely voters in Alaska’s November general election found Tshibaka in the first round with a huge lead of more than double digits over Murkowski. “On that first choice on the ballot, Tshibaka comes in with 45.4 percent and Murkowski at just 28.7 percent—with a generic Democrat close behind Murkowski and a libertarian candidate in fourth place,” Breitbart wrote. The poll had a margin of error of 4.21 percent.
Four candidates will end up on the ballot in November as part of Alaska’s new ranked-choice election system. That will come after a primary in which any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to the four-way election. In the November election, voters will list their choices and rank them. To win, a candidate needs to get over 50 percent of the vote. Until that happens, there will be a second and possibly a third round of vote counting.
Murkowski’s team was in favor of the new system, who likely see it as an effective tool to ward off a primary challenge. Murkowski has never achieved more than 50% of the vote in any of her general election wins throughout her time in the U.S. Senate. She was almost defeated in 2010 after losing the GOP primary election to Joe Miller, but managed to maintain her seat after a successful write-in campaign.
The pollster Cygnal conducted the poll based on the new criteria and still found Tshibaka still defeats Murkowski by 2 percent. Cygnal’s final tally had Tshibaka winning on the final ranking 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.
“With only modest investments in advertising by her campaign in 2021, Kelly Tshibaka has tripled her name identification over the last year and positioned herself to be the next U.S. Senator from Alaska,” Cygnal’s Brock McCleary wrote in a polling memo provided to Breitbart. “Based on the strength of her grassroots popularity, Tshibaka has united the center-right of the Alaska electorate in rejection of incumbent Lisa Murkowski’s re-election bid.”
The poll also found that Tshibaka currently has 84 percent of Republicans supporting her, including leads with both men and women. The poll also found Murkowski to be trailing Tshibaka among both staunch supporters of former President Trump and “traditional Republicans.”
Trump has endorsed Tshibaka in the race over the incumbent Murkowski.