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

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Alaskans are processing the news that they'll have a new governor by the end of the month. Late last week, Sarah Palin announced her plans to step down. Her abrupt resignation is puzzling and disappointing to many Alaskans, as Alaska Public Radio Network's Annie Feidt reports.

ANNIE FEIDT: It's the rarest kind of summer day in Anchorage: sunny and hot - sweltering, in fact, by Alaska's standards.

KEN POST: Oh god, it's atrocious. Seventy-six degrees today?

FEIDT: To be fair, Ken Post is feeling the heat more than most. He's standing behind the sizzling grill of his reindeer sausage stand in downtown Anchorage. He may be a bit annoyed at the weather, but Post reserves most of his irritation for Sarah Palin.

Mr. POST: I mean, you got a job to do, you just should finish it, you know. Even if you are going to attacked by your, you know, the media. It's something that, in politics, that's what you're going to get.

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

Mr. LANCE POWELL: She's a quitter, and I'm glad to see her gone.

FEIDT: Palin's approval rating in Alaska has been falling steadily since her vice presidential run. The Hays Research group found 80 percent of Alaskans viewed her favorably last July, compared to 54 percent a few months ago. The group expects to put out a new poll in the next few weeks to gauge the reaction to Palin's latest move. The governor has said the people of Alaska will understand her decision. She made her first official public appearance since her resignation announcement yesterday in the remote Eskimo village of Kotzebue. She signed a new bill into law, and then worked to convince the crowd that she's doing what's best for the state.

Ms. SARAH PALIN (Former Governor, Alaska): I don't believe that I need a title to effect the change that's still needed in this state. It's good timing, and it's fair and honest to Alaskans to let them know that this is the intention, is to keep working hard for Alaska in different paths.

FEIDT: The governor found a receptive audience in Kotzebue. And she still has fans in 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.

Mr. WAYNE KARGE: I'm very supportive of what she has done for the state. I think it's very unfair the way people have treated her. You know, I don't fault her for walking away, but I wish she would've stayed. That's her decision, and I stand behind it.

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

Ms. MEGHAN KILLORAN: Yeah, oh yeah, I absolutely loved her. You know, I voted for McCain just because of her, honestly. But, you know, now that she did this with Alaska, it's just like, you know, pretty much my faith in her has gone way downhill.

FEIDT: Political watchers in Alaska are also bewildered by Palin's announcement. Michael Carey is an editorial writer for the Anchorage Daily News. He's heard from people who are still solid Palin supporters, but he believes most Alaskans feel differently.

Mr. MICHAEL CAREY (Editorial Writer, Anchorage Daily News): People just shake their heads, I think, generally. I don't think, except among a few true believers, you could get a very positive review of her performance.

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

MR. CAREY: 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.

FEIDT: 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.

For NPR News, I'm Annie Feidt in Anchorage.

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