Page last updated at 10:44 GMT, Tuesday, 30 October 2007

State profile: Alaska

Alaska map
Alaska is traditionally a solid Republican state. The last Democrat elected to Congress was in 1974 and Alaskans have not opted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

However, with two Republicans - Senator Ted Stevens and Congressman Don Young - both under investigation for their ties to the oil company Veco, electoral politics in Alaska could become more competitive.

Alaska's relationship with the federal government has been dominated since 1967 by battles over control of the 11 billion barrels of oil in the North Slope field, which was discovered that year.

Population: 670,053 (ranked 47 among states)
Governor: Sarah Palin (R)
Electoral college votes: 3
This is a crunch issue because the state receives all the royalties from oil extraction. They provide 80% of its revenue, and underpin the low-tax regime (the state income tax was abolished in 1980) that has enabled Alaska to grow despite a decline in oil revenues and military spending.

In recent years, there has been increasing friction between environmentalists and oilmen, particularly since the proposal in President Bush's Energy Plan to allow oil drilling on the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which was popular with many Alaskan voters. Efforts by Democrats and moderate Republicans to block the plans were not welcomed in the state.

House of Representatives:
1 Republican
Senate: 2 Republican

The state not only stands apart geographically from the rest of the US, but it would not be part of the country at all had Secretary of State William Seward not purchased it from Russia in 1876 for $7.2m.

2004: Bush 61%, Kerry 36%
2000: Bush 59%, Gore 28%, Nader 10%
1996: Clinton 33%, Dole 51 %
Alaska has been inhabited longer than anywhere else in the Americas and one in seven Alaskans are ethnically Native Alaskans. But only 38% of the population as a whole was born in Alaska and more than 40% live in Anchorage.

Tourism is booming, with one million people visiting Alaska each year.

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