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Poll: Palin’s Negative Rating Hits New High

ANCHORAGE — A poll released today by Anchorage pollster Ivan Moore shows support for Gov. Sarah Palin in her home state declining in the past two months. Of the 500 likely Alaska voters surveyed, 65 percent say they have a positive view of the governor, down from 68 percent in late September and 82 percent in late August.

There’s also been a noticeable jump in the number of likely voters who say they hold unfavorable views of the governor, jumping from 13 percent in August and September, to 30 percent this week. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/10/picture-48.pngGov. Sarah Palin positive v. negative ratings among likely Alaska voters. (Source: Ivan Moore Research, Anchorage)

I spoke with Moore Thursday night about the upcoming poll. He said there are two possible factors explaining Palin’s drop in support and her increased negative rating.

While campaigning for governor in 2006, and even in office, Palin had a distinctly nonpartisan appeal. She ran on a platform to reform a corrupt system and to invest in energy, two popular ideas across the ideological spectrum here.

As McCain’s running mate, she has been blatantly partisan, alienating some Democrats who supported her. Moore noted that her comment about community organizers during her acceptance speech at the Republican convention in Minneapolis struck a nerve with some Sen. Barack Obama supporters.

The second factor cited by Moore is Troopergate — the scandal surrounding Palin’s decision to fire a state employee after he allegedly would not settle a personal, long-standing feud between the Palins and a state trooper.

There are two aspects to the Troopergate story. First, there is a sense that Palin, a self-described reform candidate, has gone back on her word. She initially said the investigation would be transparent, and that she would cooperate in the non-partisan probe. Now she is participating in the McCain campaign’s efforts to stonewall the investigation.

The second aspect to Troopergate is a fierce sense here in Alaska that state matters should not be handled by those from “Outside.” Many Alaskans think the McCain campaign is playing too prominent a role in the matter that Alaska public officials should be handling. Lawyers from the lower 48 are certainly running around Anchorage trying to change the investigation’s course.

The Troopergate scandal is supposed to come to a head Friday when the independent investigator submits his report to the bipartisan legislative council that commissioned it. Seven Palin administration aides agreed to testify this week, after attempts to skirt interviews.

The report should be interesting. Depending on what it says, Palin’s ratings could swing again.

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