I was talking with some Internet friends from the Lower 48 about these two articles:
* [Alaska On EBay? Election Numbers Update](http://shannynmoore.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/alaska-on-ebay-election-numbers-update/)
* [What the Hell Happened in Alaska?](http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/what-in-hell-happened-in-alaska.html)
I thought I’d post this where I could show it to other people who are confused about Alaska.
My friends asked if the weather was a factor: No. It’s been a very light winter so far, and nothing a motivated voter would have even thought about.
My money is on one or a combination of the following. They’re not all related, and some could be seen as contradictory. Some of this is covered in the two articles above, as well.
1. Democrats assumed that there was no way Stevens and Young would be re-elected (especially Stevens) and that McCain/Palin were a shoo-in, so didn’t bother to vote.
2. The uncounted votes are largely early votes, and as has been shown across the country, most of the early voters have been Democratic. I still have a faint hope that Begich will win. I’m less sure of Berkowitz.
3. Neither Begich nor Berkowitz were terribly compelling candidates; not in the sense that Obama was. Both are in favor of opening ANWR, both are in favor of all the pipelines we can build, and both are in favor of all kinds of natural resource exploitation; both focused on two things in their campaigns: “Those guys are crooks!” and “Let’s get that oil out of the ground!”. Not really the message for Democrats being motivated by Change, you know? I certainly voted for both of them, and I actually do believe they’d do good things for Alaska, but in fairness I’ve voted against Stevens and Young (and both Murkowskis when I could) every single time I’ve had the chance, and will continue to do so.
4. A lot of Alaskans are really, really attached to the vast quantities of money that Stevens brings in. It’s hypocritical in many ways, and sometimes it’s embarrassing, but it’s true.
5. Both Stevens and Young latched onto the Campaign of Fear train being driven by the McCain/Palin team: Alaska would lose all its experience and pull in the Legislature; the Terrible Liberal Scourge would take over and ruin the country. That tactic worked really well on a lot of people. Just go watch all the YouTube videos from people terrified that Obama is going to turn us into socialists and reveal himself to be a Muslim. (Don’t forget that it was our very own governor who kept associating the word “terrorist” with Obama’s name.)
6. People got out to vote for McCain/Palin but protested our Legislative reps by not voting for anyone. Stupid, yes, but entirely believable if you know how some Alaskan Republicans feel about Democrats.
I’m willing to entertain the idea that something bigger and more sinister is happening, but I think it can all be explained with pretty mundane stupid human behavior.
UPDATE fivethirtyeight.com just posted this, which goes to my point 2: [Uncounted Votes May Push Begich Past Stevens](http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/uncounted-votes-may-push-begich-past.html)