Everyone who could read a poll or a room in Alaska knew Sarah Palin was unpopular in her home state. What was jarring to Republicans about her defeat in a U.S. House race there was that so many conservatives were unwilling to vote for her, anyway.
In an election that could spell disaster for pro-Donald Trump hard-liners in states across the midterm electoral map, only about half of voters who supported a more traditionalist Republican, Nick Begich III, as their first choice in Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system marked Palin as their second pick.
The others went for the Democrat or no one at all.
Palin, a former governor and one-time political sensation, had tethered herself to Trump in a reliably red state, with a similarly fervent base of support. But her race, more than any primary this year, had approximated a traditional general election where a candidate is rewarded for appealing to a broad swath of voters.
Her defeat was the firmest evidence yet this year that at least some Republicans may be turned off enough to vote the other way in the midterms and potentially, beyond. [Continue reading…]