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AK-Gov: After Walker withdraws, new poll says race is a veritable toss-up

After Gov. Bill Walker withdraws from the Alaska gubernatorial race, Republican Mike Dunleavy (left) and Democrat Mark Begich (right) will face off in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A new poll on the Alaska gubernatorial race shows that it could be an extremely tight race between Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy and Democrat Mark Begich.

Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) withdrew from the race last week just days after Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott (D) abruptly resigned from office amid confessions that he'd made unspecified "inappropriate comments" to an unspecified person.

Walker said he opted to withdraw from the race because he felt Begich would have better odds of beating Dunleavy, who had been leading in several polls.

“This week I have talked to many Alaskans to determine whether I or Mark Begich had a better chance of running a competitive race against Mike Dunleavy,” Walker said. “The determination was made that, at this point, Begich has the better odds. Alaskans deserve a competitive race.”

After dropping out of the race, Walker endorsed Begich.

What are the details of the poll?

The poll, which was released on Tuesday by Ivan Moore of Alaska Survey Research, shows Dunleavy ahead of Begich by 4 points.

The poll showed Dunleavy would take 48 percent of the vote if the election were held today. Begich would receive 44 percent of the vote.

The poll was conducted Oct. 19-22 and surveyed 500 likely or certain Alaska voters. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Pollster Moore told the Juneau Empire, "I think it’s going to come down to the wire."

Moore added that he began polling Alaskan voters within “five to 10 minutes” of Walker’s withdrawal announcement, which came late Friday afternoon, and was implicit in noting that the poll was being conducted after Walker's withdrawal announcement.

What else?

A previous poll by Moore — conducted prior to Walker's withdrawal — showed Dunleavy leading Begich by nearly 14 points.

In a two-way race between Dunleavy and Begich, Dunleavy would receive 54.5 percent of the vote, Begich would receive 40.8 percent of the vote, and 4.6 percent of respondents would be undecided.

You can read more about the previous poll here.

The two candidates will face off in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. You can read more about the candidates’ backgrounds here.

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