Change Research, a San Francisco polling firm, helped candidate Alan Gross test his mettle before he filed for office for the Alaska congressional seat now vacant upon the March 18 death of Congressman Don Young.
In a poll conducted for Democratic Party in late March, Gross’ name was tested against others to see if he could be successful. Gross didn’t show any interest in the congressional race until Young’s death, but then had a poll in the field right away, March 25-29, asking 755 Alaskans their views on his candidacy, as well as others.
In a race that had Gross vs. the D.C. lobbyists’ favorite Josh Revak, Gross pulled 35% and Revak pulled 34%. When it was Gross vs. Sarah Palin, it was nearly split, at Gross 40% and Palin 42%.
When Gross’ name was pitted against Palin, Revak and State Sen. Lora Reinbold, the result was Gross 33%, Palin 30%, Revak 9% and Reinbold 8%.
In a Must Read Alaska poll commissioned in April found that, among 955 likely voters, the result would be:
- Sarah Palin-R – 31%
- Al Gross-D – 26%
- Nick Begich-R – 21%
- Chris Constant-D – 7%
- Josh Revak-R – 3%
- Tara Sweeney-R – 2%
- Other candidate 4%
- Undecided 6%
Remington Research Group typically polls for Republicans, while Change Research polls for Democrats. Al Gross flies under the “independent” label but is a nominal independent, who aligns with Democrats on all issues.
Change Research’s poll was for 314 Action, a political action committee for the Democratic Party and reached 728 likely voters. The breakdown of demographics for that poll are not known. The company is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, formed in July 2017 by Mike Greenfield, a former data expert at PayPal and LinkedIn, and Pat Reilly, a Democratic Party campaign operative. Change Research is the official pollster of Crooked Media’s Pod Save America and KQED, the most-listened-to public radio station in the US, according to the company website.
The special election primary will occur on June 11, 2022. Ballots will be in the mail from the Division of Election on April 27, and there are 48 names on the ballot, making polling extremely challenging for this race. The special general election Aug. 16, 2022, and the winner will be the temporary congressional representative for Alaska until the regular election process is completed in November and the new representative is sworn in in January.
Gross, fresh off the campaign trail from 2020 has evidently caught campaign fever. After he lost his race against Sen. Dan Sullivan in 2020, the Democrats contracted with Change Research and tested Gross’ chances against Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, with the idea that he might jump into that race in 2022. But the numbers were not favorable. In a three-way race with Murkowski and Tshibaka, Gross drew the last straw with 25% of the vote, handing the win to Tshibaka at 39% and leaving Murkowski with just 19% of the vote. That’s not something the Democrats could support, and Gross demurred from signing up as a spoiler.
He distinguished himself as a true liberal in 2020 with support from major progressive organizations such as the anti-Republican Lincoln Project, which may hold off getting involved in the 2022 special election for the temporary congressional seat until it sees which of the 48 candidates on the ballot are moving forward. If Gross moves to the special general election ballot, the Lincoln Project will likely be the attack dog that goes after Sarah Palin, just as the group went after President Donald Trump, Sen. Dan Sullivan, and other Republicans in 2020.