Trump’s Northern Exposure? New Poll Says Alaska Is A Battleground State

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According to a new poll of 400 voters, Hillary Clinton leads reality show star-turned-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump 47-43% in perhaps the most unlikely battleground state of all: Alaska.

Conducted by Anchorage marketing firm Craciun Research Group, the survey is a rare snapshot of public opinion in a state that is notoriously difficult to poll accurately. But it matches a trend line seen in polls taken the first week of October, which showed Clinton within the margin of error, and at mid-month which suggested a statistical tie.

In other words, the same late trend that’s driving record early voting turnout and making Clinton competitive in deeply-red states such as Georgia and Texas is also happening in Alaska. Voters are apparently repelled by Trump, especially younger voters, minorities, and women.

The Gender Gap is at levels not experienced in the recent past with women supporting Clinton by a margin of 17% (55% to 38% respectively). Further impacting the race is the unprecedented endorsement of Clinton by the Alaska Federation of Natives board. In the rural North and Northwest regions of the State, the poll shows Clinton is beating Trump by a margin of almost 5:1 (74% to 15%).

The poll may also shed light on who the 18% still undecided voters may pick. “If you look at non-partisan voters, Secretary Clinton is winning by a margin of 15 points. That may give you a sense of how the undecided voters will lean on Election Day,” according to pollster Jean Craciun.

Craciun has a good track-record, but there are reasons to remain skeptical. Alaska voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney by 21.5% and 14% respectively, while the FiveThirtyEight election tracker gives Clinton just a 31.3% chance of winning the Last Frontier state. Statistician Nate Silver says that Democrats tend to underperform their polling in Alaska because most surveys are “crap” conducted by partisan firms. However, sources familiar with Alaska Democratic politics tell Freak Out Nation that even reputable polling companies using large samples have been wildly off the mark before, as if the independent spirit of the state actively resists accurate polling.

Nevertheless, this news is tantalizing evidence of an anti-Trump wave in traditionally-red states. According to Reuters, almost 19 million Americans have already voted, and their poll of those voters gives Clinton a substantial 15-point lead. Opinion tracking polls have showed some narrowing in the race, but there is no sign of a Trump comeback on the scale he needs to win the popular vote.

Of course, Americans don’t elect presidents by popular vote. Alaska is huge but thinly-settled, so the state only has three Electoral College votes. We are unlikely to see either campaign investing time or resources there during the final week before Election Day. But the fact that it’s a battleground at all? That is news.

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