Super Tuesday Preview: The Alaska Caucus

With Super Tuesday exactly 1 week away, I will be previewing the races in many of the Super Tuesday states. I will focus on the GOP, but there may be some analysis of the Democrats as well. I start with Alaska, which will probably be the least covered of the 12 states voting on that day. Why? Mostly because the caucus will close at 12AM Eastern, since Alaska is one time zone behind Pacific. Also, it is a small state with few delegates (28). Lastly, no campaign is going to waste time going to Alaska, and the time vs the reward is just not there in terms of delegates. Despite this, Alaska is a state and someone is going to get the most votes there and often who “wins” Super Tuesday is judged by who wins the most states. Delegates are really what matters, but don’t tell that to whoever wins the Alaska caucus.

A few things about the caucus. It is a caucus with a primary style vote. People can vote between 3PM and 8PM and are encouraged to participate in the district convention that happens at a later date. What is most important about this caucus? The fact that is considered “closed” which means that you have to be a member of the Republican Party in order to vote in it. Voters are allowed to become a member of the party on the day of the caucus. Still, expect the vast majority of voters to be loyal party member.

Polling in Alaska has been almost nonexistent. There has only been 1 poll this year, taken by the Alaska Dispatch News in late January. The only same I care about is the one of registered republicans, which had the following result: Trump 28%, Cruz 24% Carson 9% Bush 7% Rubio 7% Kasich 2%. When this poll was taken, these were the number nationally: Trump 35% Cruz 19% Rubio 11% Carson 8% Kasich 3%.

Of course a lot has happened since late January, including 3 contest. Nationally Trump and Cruz are at about the same percentage since then, but Rubio and Kasich have moved up as lesser candidates have dropped out. Still, with the independent spirit of Alaska, it feels like a very Trump or Cruz state. I think Cruz will be able to target Alaska with his very conservative message. There is talk of Trump winning all 12 states, and I think Cruz would be wise to invest a little in making sure this does not happen.

Alaska has proportional delegate selection, so I don’t see a big gain either way, but I am going to predict a victory for the Cruz campaign in Alaska. In a state where organization matters, I suspect that the hardcore Cruz support will do more to bring out the vote than the new to the process Trump supporter. I think Rubio will underperform here, and will hope just to break 15%, which is the threshold in order to get any delegates

My Prediction: Cruz 38% Trump 31% Rubio 17% Carson 6% Kasich 6% Others 2%

This gives delegates: Cruz 13 Trump 10 Rubio 5

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