Palin's Resignation Leaves Alaskans Reeling Alaskans say they were as shocked as the rest of the nation when Sarah Palin announced last week she was resigning as governor. Her approval ratings have dropped since last year, and many Alaskans who voted for her expressed dismay at her decision.

Palin's Resignation Leaves Alaskans Reeling

Palin's Resignation Leaves Alaskans Reeling

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Sarah Palin announced on July 3 she is stepping down as governor of Alaska. Robert DeBerry/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman/AP hide caption

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Robert DeBerry/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman/AP

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announces she is stepping down in Wasilla, Alaska, on July 3.

Robert DeBerry/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman/AP

Alaskans are slowly processing the news that they'll have a new governor by the end of the month.

Sarah Palin announced her intention to resign late last week. Her abrupt decision is puzzling and disappointing to many residents of the 49th state.

Falling Approval Ratings

"I mean, you got a job to do, you should finish it, you know — even if you are going to be attacked by the media," says Ken Post, standing behind the sizzling grill of his reindeer sausage stand in downtown Anchorage. "It's something that, in politics, that's what you're going to get."

Nearby, Lance Powell munches on a sausage smothered in grilled onions. He says the governor should have finished out her term.

"She's a quitter, and I'm glad to see her gone," he says.

Palin's approval rating in Alaska has been falling steadily since her vice presidential run. The Hays Research group found 54 percent of Alaskans viewed her favorably a few months ago, compared with 80 percent in July 2008. The group expects to put out a new poll in the next few weeks to gauge the reaction to Palin's latest move.

Dismay At Her Decision

Palin has said the people of Alaska will understand her decision. She made her first official public appearance since her resignation announcement on Tuesday in the remote Eskimo village of Kotzebue.

She signed a new bill into law, then worked to convince the crowd that she is doing what is best for the state: "I don't believe that I need a title to effect the change that's still needed in the state," Palin said. "It's good timing, and it's fair and honest to Alaskans to let them know that this is the intention, to keep working for Alaska in different paths."

The governor found a receptive audience in Kotzebue. And she still has fans in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, too. But on this day, it's difficult to find them. Wayne Karge is an exception. He says he stands by her 100 percent.

"I'm very supportive of what she's done for the state," Karge says. "I think it's very unfair the way people have treated her. I don't fault her for walking away, but I wish she would have stayed. But that's her decision and I stand behind it."

But across the state, even Alaskans who voted for Palin are voicing their dismay at her decision. Meghan Killoran was enamored of Palin when she first moved to Alaska a few years ago. Now she has the look of someone who has lost a good friend:

"I absolutely loved her," Killoran says. "I voted for McCain just because of her, honestly. But you know, now that she did this with Alaska, it's just like, pretty much my faith in her has gone way downhill."

Political watchers in Alaska are also bewildered by Palin's announcement. Michael Carey is an editorial writer for the Anchorage Daily News. He has heard from people who are still solid Palin supporters, but he believes they're a minority.

"People just shake their heads, generally," Carey says. "I don't think, except among a very few true believers, you could get a very positive review of her performance."

The Next Governor

As for the next governor of Alaska, most Alaskans don't know much about him. Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has kept a low profile in his current job — so much so that Alaska's lone congressman, Republican Don Young — a onetime political opponent of Parnell's — nicknamed him "Captain Zero." But Carey says that assessment is probably unfair.

"I think there's a lot of the state that doesn't know him, but will be favorably inclined, because — let's give the guy a chance," Carey says.

Adjusting to life out of the national spotlight may be more difficult. Carey says Alaskans like to complain about the attention Palin's celebrity status has showered on the state. But secretly, they may have a tough time with the transition to a governor who doesn't make worldwide headlines.