Alaska voter poll: Repeal oil tax cuts, legalize marijuana, allow gay marriage

Erik Hill

From Lisa Demer in Anchorage:

Here are some highlights from Part Two of a new Public Policy Polling survey of Alaska voters, along with some detail on PPP's methodology:

- For the first time, the left-leaning polling organization found that more Alaskans support gay marriage than oppose it, with 47 percent of voters in favor and 46 percent opposed, according to the poll done Jan. 30 through Feb. 1. A few weren't sure. Last year, 43 percent supported it and 51 percent were against it. And 71 percent back civil unions for gay couples.

- Alaskans back legalizing marijuana for recreational use, with 55 percent of voters in support and 39 percent opposed. Among voters under age 30, legalization is even more popular, with 72 percent in support and 26 percent opposed. And it looks like they'll get a chance to vote in August.

- Another ballot measure also has support: the referendum seeking a voter veto of last year's oil tax cut measure, Senate Bill 21.  The poll found found that 43 percent of voters said they would vote to repeal the tax cut, while 31 percent want to let it stand. The rest weren't sure.

- Another measure that may be headed for the August ballot would boost the minimum wage here. The poll asked voters whether they support a $10-an-hour minimum -- which is even higher than what the ballot measure proposes -- and 60 percent said they did compared to 33 percent who didn't.

- Former Gov. Sarah Palin remains unpopular among Alaska voters, with 39 percent having a favorable opinion of her and 55 percent seeing her in a negative light. If she and Hillary Clinton were on the ballot for president, Clinton edges past, 44 percent to 43 percent. But other potential GOP candidates -- Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul -- would beat Clinton in Alaska. As to Palin, 62 percent of Alaska Republicans don't think she should run for president.

- Sen. Lisa Murkowski isn't running this year but is popular -- especially among Democrats. Overall, 50 percent of voters approve of the job she's doing compared to 37 percent who disapprove. Among Democrats, 59 percent approve and 27 percent disapprove, compared to 38 percent of Republicans who approve and 50 percent who don't.

Since increasing numbers of Americans no longer have a landline, Public Policy Polling announced this year it was changing its methods to have 20 percent of its interviews through opt-in Internet surveys. It uses robo-calls to reach most of its voters, but is barred by federal law from using an automated call system to call cell phones. Some critics didn't like PPP's old methodology, even while acknowledging the relative accuracy of its predictions. The Huffington Post took a close look at the changes.

For the recent Alaska poll, PPP surveyed 850 registered voters including 442 Republican primary voters. The margin of error overall was plus or minus 3.4 percent.

Find Lisa Demer at 257-4390, and on Twitter @lisa_demer