Alaska District 36 Statistics

District 36 includes the communities
of Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakatla,
Saxman, Hydaburg, and Hyder.
I live in Alaska's District 36, newly created after the crazy episode of redistricting that was this and this and this. (Ketchikan used to be in District 1, but apparently someone from Fairbanks managed to change the numbering so it's in their community now.)

As a precursor to the upcoming primary election (August 19th) and general election (November 4th), I thought I should share some statistics about my district related to population and political affiliation—a sort of electoral "getting to know you" piece. (All statistics come from this state source.)

As is true for all of Alaska, the majority of people in District 36 prefer not to identify with a political party. In fact, over 58% of District 36 voters are "undeclared" or "nonpartisan," compared with less than 54% in the whole state. (I am "undeclared." Read this to find out why.)

25.4% of the district's voters are registered Republicans, while only 11.6% are registered Democrats. Again, this is roughly similar to Alaska as a whole, where the rates are 26.9% and 14%, respectively. The largest third party is the Alaskan Independence Party, with 3.3% of voters—yet again almost the same as the state overall. (It's interesting to have your belief in the uniqueness of your community and region undermined by political statistics.)

District 36's precincts (click to enlarge) [source]
The majority of District 36's population lives on Revillagigedo Island, like me. Three precincts in Ketchikan proper, two on North Tongass Highway, one in Saxman and one on South Tongass Highway together contain 77.5% of the district's voters. (The South Tongass precinct does include the 87-person mainland community of Hyder, and the people who live on Gravina Island, just across Tongass Narrows from Revillagigedo.)

The most Republican of Revillagigedo's precincts are North Tongass No. 1 and 2, which are 32.4% and 30.9% registered Republican compared to 8% and 8.2% Democratic, respectively. South Tongass follows closely behind with 30.5% vs. 10%, so the most conservative areas of the island are the ones outside the cities of Ketchikan and Saxman. If you want to find the most Democratic area on the island, don't second-guess yourself: It's Saxman (the island's majority-Tlingit community). In fact, Saxman has exactly the same number of Democrats as Republicans—amazing!—but 64.2% of Saxman voters don't identify with any party, which is fairly higher than the district's average.

Off Revillagigedo there are the communities of Wrangell, Metlakatla, and Hydaburg. Wrangell's statistics are quite similar to the North Tongass precincts, though it has fewer registered Democrats per capita than any other in the district: 28.4% Republican, 7.4% Democratic. Metlakatla and Hydaburg both have more Democrats than Republicans: In Metlakatla it's more even, with 17.8% vs. 14.8%, but Hydaburg has a big Democratic contingent—35.2%—with only 9.5% registered Republican. In fact, you could call Hydaburg the most partisan precinct in the district, as it has the lowest rate of voters identifying as undeclared or nonpartisan (49.3%).

While racial and ethnic details don't accompany these statistics, it's clear that the Democratic Party fares much better in the Alaska Native-majority communities of Saxman (mostly Tlingit), Metlakatla (mostly Tsimshian), and Hydaburg (mostly Haida). In the white-majority areas of Wrangell and Revillagigedo, Republicans consistently dominate—at least among voters who choose to register with a party.

The final fact to reflect on, however, is that most people in District 36—just like most Alaskans—refuse to register with a party. That leaves these voters' general political stances unfathomable, at least as far as these state statistics are concerned.

Let me know if you find anything useful about this information, or if you think I should just get out and talk to people. Please leave a comment!

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