Gov. Bill Walker hits new low in opinion poll

Morning Consult finds 40 percent of Alaskans approve of nation’s only independent governor

Gov. Bill Walker speaks to members of the media in April 2015. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file photo)

Gov. Bill Walker has hit a new low in a quarterly opinion poll conducted by the national firm Morning Consult.

 

Only 40 percent of Alaskans approve of the job Walker is doing, according to the poll released Tuesday. That’s down from a 42 percent approval rating in July. The poll has a 5 percent margin of error.

Morning Consult publishes a nationwide gubernatorial opinion poll each quarter. It polls 255,000 people nationwide — the number of people in Alaska wasn’t released in the poll’s methodology — and releases approval and disapproval ratings for all 50 state governors.

Walker, who was elected in 2014, had high approval ratings in the poll until his 2016 decision to veto half the funding for the annual Permanent Fund Dividend. The Alaska Legislature halved the dividend in 2017, precluding another veto. Both actions were inspired by the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit.

In early 2016, Walker had a 62 percent approval rating, making him one of the 10 most popular governors in the nation. Only 21 percent of Alaskans disapproved of his work. Now, Walker is among the 10 least-popular governors in the nation.

By the start of this year, Walker’s approval rating had sunk to 43 percent. It has remained in that range since then.

Walker in August announced he will run for re-election in 2018. To date, only one Republican — Michael Sheldon of Petersburg — has signed up with the Alaska Division of Elections to run against Walker in 2018.

Several Republicans and Democrats have filed letters of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Those letters allow them to raise money for a gubernatorial campaign.

Among those filing letters of intent explicitly for governor: Scott Hawkins of Anchorage, Charlie Huggins of Wasilla, Christopher Hunter of Fairbanks, Jacob Kern of Anchorage and Kirk Wilson of Anchorage.

Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla has also filed a letter of intent for governor but said earlier this year that he is suspending his campaign. Mike Chenault of Kenai has filed a blank letter of intent and may run for governor as well.

 


 

• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.

 


 

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