On Wednesday morning, February 13th, Alabama news and information site Alabama Daily News, released new polling in the Republican primary in the Alabama Senate race. This poll was conducted by Mason Dixon on behalf of Alabama Daily News and a couple other television media organizations in the state. This is the first concrete independent Pol in the race not conducted on behalf of any of the campaigns involved in the race.
The polling suggested that Jeff Sessions, former US Attorney General and US senator from the state of Alabama, is registering 31% of support in the Republican primary. It also has him with what is considered universal name recognition amongst voters, not surprising considering his long service as a US senator from Alabama and President Trump’s Attorney General. Among Republican primary voters, he came in with a 49% approval rating. John Rogers, campaign spokesman for the Jeff Sessions for Senate campaign reacted to these new polling numbers by saying, “Jeff Sessions’ lead is larger than this poll indicates. Regardless, all polls have had one thing in common — they show that Jeff Sessions is the leader, and he will be the Republican nominee who will defeat Doug Jones in November.”
Tommy Tuberville came in with 29% of respondents indicating support for him in the Republican primary on March 3rd. Tuberville also came in with what is considered universal name ID as well, again not surprising as he spent years as the head football coach at Auburn University. Coach Tuberville came in with the lowest unfavorable rating of any of the Republican candidates at 6%. He also came in with 47% favorable ratings among likely Republican primary voters. “With only a couple of weeks remaining, the Republican primary is entering the red zone, and this independent poll offers clear evidence that momentum is on our side,” Tuberville said. “Republican primary voters are clearly responding to our message of supporting President Donald Trump, draining the D.C. swamp, and sending a fresh face instead of career politicians to represent us in Washington.”
US Representative from Alabama’s first congressional district Bradley Byrne came in with 17% support in the Republican primary in this poll. This is a departure from recent polling released this week and last indicating that he was in the mid-20s and support, and running neck and neck with coach Tommy Tuberville. He also came in with the lowest of the top three candidates in favorability among Republican primary voters with 34%, but had the second lowest unfavorable rating at 7%. Also he had the highest ‘not recognized rating’ among the top three candidates with 22%. Representing Alabama’s first congressional district along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, that is not unusual as Southwest Alabama usually gets overlooked by the rest of the state. Byrne’s campaign said that the polling released yesterday speaks for itself and that they would have no other comments other than that.
The poll conducted from February 6th to February 9th polled 625 respondents, with 400 of them being likely Republican primary voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. Veteran political insiders did raise concerns about the methodology in this poll. One said that, “It surveyed less than 1,000 people, and I don’t like polls that do that”. Another political insider said, “A 400 sample size is a crappy poll and won’t tell the story of this race. Totally inconsistent with all other recent polling on this race.” 538, a statistical analysis website that focuses on sports and politics founded by Nate silver, rated Mason-Dixon with a B+ rating amongst the different polling organizations. Another political insider said, “My sense is that’s probably closer than the Byrne internal poll. I think Sessions and Tubs are the most likely runoff opponents.”