Good News, Bad News in the Republican AG Race

Outline of Alabama with '2010' written in itWe haven’t given much attention to the Republican primary numbers for the Attorney General’s race from last week’s Public Policy Polling poll. The spring rush on lawn mower service hasn’t kept the boys in the back from chattering about it.

Let’s give it the same treatment that we gave the gubernatorial candidates. If we take the numbers at face value, what good news and bad news can the candidates take from the numbers? (In the survey of Republican primary voters, King came in at 37%, Strange 32%, and undecided 31%.)

Troy King:

Good News: Second public poll of the AG’s race (the first is here), and second poll showing King with a narrow lead. Many insiders on numerous occasions have been ready to count King out but looks like he’s heading into the stretch run with a real chance at re-election.

Bad News: No incumbent wants to be that far under 50% (especially if the challenger has big potential to grow his own name-ID. In this case it’s hard for us to know how big the gap in name-ID really is between King and Strange).

Luther Strange:

Good News: Strange is nipping at King’s heels without having spent any real money on paid media. With King’s baggage, it’s certainly possible a strong negative ad or two could catapult Strange to the nomination.

Bad News: It’s difficult to find anyone in the halls of power with anything nice to say about King – but there’s no doubt that the incumbent is still in the game. And King’s ability to bully-pulpit against healthcare reform could be the wild card he needs to steer the conversation favorably.

Related Articles:

Rasmussen Polls Alabama Gubernatorial Race

Man at a Graph on an EaselRasmussen Reports today releases a poll of the Alabama gubernatorial race showing potential general election matchups between four Republicans (Byrne, James, Moore, and Ivey) and the two Democrats (Davis and Sparks). Robert Bentley gets no love here: he’s left out.

Byrne is strong, coming in at 50% in a head to head matchup against Davis’ 33%, and 43-33% over Sparks. Like in the Public Policy Polling poll, Roy Moore is the weakest Republican in the field when matched against the Dems. In the Rasmussen poll, he actually trails Davis (44-40) and Sparks (40-35) in head to head matchups. Also like in the PPP poll, Sparks polls a bit better against the Republicans than Davis does.

Note that in the Rasmussen poll, respondents when asked about head to head matchups may reply that they prefer another candidate.

Rasmussen gives respondents the opportunity to indicate that they feel “very favorable,” “somewhat favorable,” “somewhat unfavorable,” “unfavorable,” or “not sure” toward candidates. The high favorability ratings belong to Moore, Byrne, Ivey, and Davis at 47-49% favorable (“very” and “somewhat” combined). Sparks is the lowest at 39% (combined). James is at 43%.

Moore and Davis have the highest unfavorability ratings at 39% (combined). Byrne is the lowest at 21%. James, Ivey and Sparks range from 28% to 35%.

Moore and Davis are the most defined in the eyes of the respondents, having only 12 and 14% respectively not sure about their favorability. Byrne has the largest percentage of respondents who are not sure at 31%.

See the numbers here, and their write-up on the poll here.

We’re likely to sift through a bit more. What do you see?

Candidates' Good and Bad News in the PPP Poll

Traditional Theater MasksIf we take this week’s PPP poll numbers at face value, what good news and bad news can the candidates find in them?

Artur Davis

Good News: He still leads in the race for the nomination, despite that the poll could not have come at a worse time for his primary #’s to be affected negatively by his position on the health care bill.

Bad News: Apparently his stance on health care reform has cost him support for the Democratic nomination, and there is no indication in the PPP poll that it gives him a leg up over Sparks in the general election matchups.

Ron Sparks

Good News: In the general election matchups, Sparks polls closer to each Republican than Davis does.

Bad News: Still a lot of ground to make up to secure the nomination.

Bradley Byrne

Good News: What’s not good? He leads in polling for the GOP nomination, and he leads in head-to-head matchups with both Davis and Sparks.

Bad News: James and Bentley are still so undefined that it is hard to consider Byrne’s support solid.

Roy Moore

Good News: Moore has done almost no campaigning, he has skipped forums, he hasn’t been on TV, and with that, he’s still polling at 23%, just a few points behind front-runner Byrne who is at 27%.

Bad News: He’s got tremendous name ID and most people have likely made up their mind about him. How will he grow support? Bentley or James could nudge him out of run-off.

Robert Bentley

Good News: Dark horse has grown his numbers.

Bad News: Still a long climb to make it into a run-off and has to hold off James too.

Tim James

Good News: Definitely room to grow with Moore voters if he can convince them that he is the electable option.

Bad News: His biggest primary competitor for social conservatives is Moore, and Moore has a sturdy lead despite virtually no effort on his part.

Bill Johnson

Good News: Well… Kay Ivey is out of the race, and her supporters will go somewhere.

Bad News: No indication from his numbers that his campaign is connecting with anyone.


I enjoy being able to turn to people who think about matters like these professionally. From one, I received this.

Considering the Democrats’ primary…

On the surface these numbers are troubling for Davis. They show he’s not running away with the race and the healthcare vote and ensuing coverage did at least some temporary damage.

But even at this possible low ebb, Davis is still roughly breaking even with whites (29% Davis / 33% Sparks) and leading black voters 2:1 (48% Davis / 23% Sparks). If this is reflective of what happens in the primary, then Davis will win with room to spare.

Davis’ calculation has always been that it takes some short-term heartburn among the base to remain viable in the general election. And he is certainly getting some blowback from the base. The silver lining is that he has eight weeks for the Democratic primary electorate to settle down and focus on other issues, and since healthcare ultimately passed it’s easier to imagine primary voters getting over his apostasy than if it had failed.

And while Davis has seen some erosion in his vote, Sparks is still in the mid 20s – which is where polls have had him for months. Davis’ erosion has not yet become Sparks’ gain. Sparks certainly could benefit, but those voters could also slide back into the Davis column once the healthcare vote falls off the radar. Given Davis’ expected financial advantage, Sparks still needs some breaks to keep the fundamental advantages Davis has enjoyed over the past months from reasserting themselves.

On the Republican side…

Definitely good news for Bradley Byrne. It’s not a surprise that Moore is in the top tier of candidates, but James and Bentley are making efforts to break into that top tier. James and (presumably) Bentley – plus Byrne – are still unknown to a majority of the primary electorate so there is still room for them to grow their support.

Moore’s numbers are a disappointment. The conventional wisdom (that Moore’s campaign embraced) was that Moore started the race with a big lead, and his name-ID and loyalty with the GOP base virtually guaranteed him enough of the primary vote to get into a runoff. The PPP poll showed that Moore’s current support is only in the low 20s – and that’s with the other candidates still being unknown to a big chunk of the primary electorate. I’d assume that as Bentley, James, Byrne continue to gain name-ID that Moore’s vote will continue to soften.

If these numbers are to be believed, Byrne’s big lead over everyone but Moore and the ability to expand his vote among the 60% who don’t know him put him on the inside track to make a runoff. James and Bentley have to hope for continued erosion in Moore’s support to open the door for them, or they have to pro-actively take votes away from Byrne and Moore through negative ads.

Related Articles:

One Dem Too Many in PPP Poll

Democratic Party logoI do wish that Sam Franklin Thomas has not been included in the Democratic primary polling by Public Policy Polling poll.

Given the facts in this Huntsville Times article, we noted last year he hasn’t lived in Alabama long enough to meet the seven year residency requirement.

Thomas only received 9% of the vote in the PPP poll, but it would have been interesting to see that 9% divided among Davis, Sparks, and undecideds. 20% of 18 to 29 year olds supported him in the poll, 15% of conservatives… what difference would it make if he had not been in the poll? I suppose it’s nearly incalculable, and perhaps insignificant.

Considering General Election Poll #'s for Governor's Race

Business GraphPublic Policy Polling has released the rest of the results from their Alabama polling this week.

Some observations:

  • Only Bradley Byrne, Ron Sparks, and Roy Moore had favorability ratings that were a match or near match to their unfavorability ratings.
  • Even Governor Bob Riley’s approval rating was easily lower than his disapproval rating (36 to 50). To what else other than his handling of the gambling issue would you attribute such a drop? SurveyUSA had his approval/disapproval rating at 56/39 in December.
  • The highest unfavorability ratings belong to Artur Davis (35%) and Roy Moore (34%). Tom Jensen points out that these are the only two candidates that a majority of voters have formed an opinion about.
  • Democrats Artur Davis and Ron Sparks polled about the same in head to head matchups (30′s) against each Republican.
  • Republican candidates Robert Bentley and Bill Johnson were not included in the poll – presumably to cut down on respondent fatigue. If you add questions on their favorability ratings and head-to-head matchups with Davis and Sparks, then that’s six more questions you are asking respondents to hang in there for.

I asked an Alabama political insider with campaign experience to look at the numbers for us, and this is what I got.

The Alabama electorate appears to be angry. Governor Riley has long been one of the most popular governors in the country, but his numbers are upside down and half of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing. And none of the candidates for governor have a net-favorable rating. This is probably a combination of economic anxiety, displeasure with the President and Congress, and frustration at the state government which is mired in bingo battles while unemployment reaches 13%.

Clearly Byrne looks the strongest of any of the Republican candidates. But all of the Republicans lead both Davis and Sparks, showing Republicans have a fundamental advantage at this point. As any serious observer of Alabama politics knows, the most critical number in a poll like this is where the Democratic candidates are with white voters. One assumes any Democrat will run up the score with African Americans, but a Democrat needs to take approximately 38% of the white vote to win statewide.

Davis’ share of the white vote ranges from 21% against Byrne to 28% against Moore. And Sparks runs at almost identical clip (21% of the white vote against Byrne / 29% of the vote against Moore). Either Democratic candidate has a lot of ground to make up, but peeling off an extra 10-15 points of the white vote is not insurmountable.

The odds certainly favor a Republican to be the state’s next governor, but Democrats can hope that after healthcare saturation wanes, the GOP primary goes negative, and the governor’s race becomes more about the two candidates than a reaction to the national environment – that either Davis or Sparks can start growing their white support and make this race start to look more competitive.

What do you see in the numbers?

Related Articles:

Campaigns react to PPP poll

We’re all excited to have the Public Policy Polling results today. An independent poll — especially with all these wonderful details — is political geek manna!  Not that we’re geeks.

Here’s how interested parties are reacting (I’ll update this as I get more to point to):

On the Democratic side, the poll has Artur Davis at 38% to Ron Sparks’ 28%.  The Sparks campaign issued a press release embracing numbers which they say show Sparks “clearly has the momentum in the Democratic primary.”  Their major take-away, as I read it, is this:

In only a matter of months, a 30-point lead for Artur Davis has shrunk to a 10-point lead.


In August, a poll released by the Davis campaign showed he had a 3-1 favorable to unfavorable rating. Now 34 percent of Democratic voters have an unfavorable view of him, while only 28 percent view him favorably.

Here’s the release (.pdf) about that Davis-commissioned poll, which was conducted in July by Anzalone-Liszt Research.

Continue reading “Campaigns React to PPP Poll”

Public Policy Polling releases its Alabama poll

For the impatient (remember D comes before R):

Davis leads the Democratic field with 38% to 28% for Ron Sparks and 9% for Sam
Franklin Thomas. Davis leads with liberal, moderates, and conservatives alike by
margins ranging from 8 to 14 points. Sparks is ahead 33-29 with white voters but Davis
has the overall lead thanks to a 48-23 advantage with African Americans.

On the Republican side Byrne and Roy Moore are the clear early frontrunners. Byrne has
27% to Moore’s 23%. Robert Bentley and Kay Ivey are tied for third with 10% each
followed by Tim James at 9%.

Full report is available at Public Policy Polling.  No doubt much celebration will had as well as rending of clothes and tearing out of hair.

H/T: Alabama Politics

Click Here for New Poll Results - Updated

Tallying on a chalk boardAt this writing, Alabama’s lead has evaporated in the online poll to determine what state Public Policy Polling will poll next.

Would you please take a moment to go to the Public Policy Polling blog and cast your vote for Alabama? I think most of us would very much enjoy seeing some fresh polling numbers on the governor’s race in the state.

Pass it along to others – friends, co-workers, Facebook friends, Twitter…

Update: The online polling is closed. PPP will poll Alabama next week

You Can Very Easily Help Poll Alabama

Public_Policy_Polling_logoPublic Policy Polling is again asking its blog’s readers which state it should poll next. Alabama is one of four choices.

I hope you are interested enough in seeing some polling numbers in the governor’s race that you would go vote and spread the word.

Related Articles:

Last Day You Can Help

Public_Policy_Polling_logoToday is the last day you can help determine if Alabama will be the state that Public Policy Polling polls next. You could make the difference with extended efforts to encourage others in your circles on Facebook, Twitter, forums like and wiregrasslive – wherever you have a presence – to go to the Public Policy Polling site and vote for Alabama.

At the moment, Alabama is 3rd behind Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Related Articles:

Help Poll Alabama

Tallying on a chalk boardIf you are interested in seeing poll results on Alabama’s governor’s race by the end of next week, head on over to the Public Policy Polling website and vote for Alabama. When I first looked at the site, Alabama had only 29 votes and was well behind Massachusetts, the leading vote-getter. At this writing, Massachusetts is ahead by a single vote.

FWIW, Public Policy Polling notes on its site the Wall Street Journal’s recognition of its accurate polling of swing states during the 08 presidential campaign.

Related Articles:

You Can Help Poll Alabama!

Public_Policy_Polling_logo…or, at least, you can help see that Alabama is polled.

Public Policy Polling is asking readers to choose which of five states it polls next, and Alabama is one of them. Go vote now! Wouldn’t you like to see some numbers on the governor’s race?

Voting will be open until Monday morning, the poll is in the field beginning Monday night, and the results will be released by the end of the week.

Crosstabs on 2010 Governor’s Poll from PPP

A reader has done the heavy-lifting for us and put into spreadsheet form the crosstabs from the PPP poll mentioned here yesterday. The font size below may make you squinty as I tried to squeeze it into a post that would fit many browsers and formats.

You may also see it online here in Google Docs (complete) or in this Excel file (Davis only vs. Repubs), both with less eyestrain. This represents a good faith effort and is correct as far as I know. Inform us if you see any typos or errors of any sort.

Let us know what you glean from the info.

Edit: Edited above to show that the Excel file does not have the #’s with Sparks.
Edit: Result for Byrne in “Older than 65″ crosstab in matchup with Davis corrected to 38.



  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


Byrne 39% 13% 27% 56% 43% 36% 9% 69% 34% 10% 52% 25% 31% 42% 41% 38%


Davis 35% 70% 50% 13% 36% 34% 67% 8% 29% 68% 21% 44% 42% 37% 33% 31%


Undecided 26% 17% 23% 31% 22% 30% 23% 23% 37% 22% 28% 31% 27% 22% 26% 31%


  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


James 35% 12% 22% 51% 40% 31% 8% 62% 28% 11% 45% 15% 31% 40% 34% 31%


Davis 37% 71% 52% 17% 36% 38% 68% 12% 31% 69% 24% 39% 47% 38% 37% 33%


Undecided 28% 17% 26% 32% 24% 31% 23% 25% 41% 20% 30% 46% 22% 22% 29% 36%


  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


Moore 38% 11% 26% 55% 40% 36% 14% 64% 30% 12% 49% 26% 32% 44% 38% 34%


Davis 41% 70% 57% 20% 43% 40% 70% 16% 39% 69% 30% 44% 47% 40% 41% 40%


Undecided 21% 13% 18% 25% 17% 17% 16% 20% 30% 19% 21% 30% 21% 17% 21% 27%


  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


Ivey 31% 13% 21% 43% 34% 28% 5% 54% 30% 8% 40% 26% 35% 36% 28% 27%


Davis 39% 72% 15% 20% 38% 39% 71% 14% 28% 68% 27% 34% 42% 40% 37% 38%


Undecided 31% 15% 28% 37% 27% 34% 23% 32% 42% 24% 33% 40% 23% 24% 34% 35%




  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


Byrne 41% 23% 27% 55% 43% 38% 15% 69% 20% 20% 50% 25% 36% 45% 41% 38%


Sparks 27% 49% 35% 14% 31% 23% 47& 9% 25% 38% 22% 35% 33% 30% 22% 28%


Undecided 33% 28% 37% 31% 26% 39% 37% 22% 46% 43% 28% 40% 31% 25% 37% 34%


  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


James 32% 9% 18% 49% 37% 27% 6% 58% 26% 10% 41% 21% 26% 38% 31% 29%


Sparks 31% 61% 40% 16% 36% 28% 53% 13% 29% 48% 25% 40% 41% 33% 29% 30%


Undecided 37% 30% 42% 35% 28% 44% 41% 29% 45% 43% 34% 39% 33% 29% 40% 41%


  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


Moore 38% 16% 22% 57% 39% 37% 12% 65% 34% 13% 49% 26% 28% 45% 38% 36%


Sparks 36% 63% 49% 19% 42% 32% 58% 16% 36% 50% 31% 40% 42% 35% 35% 39%


Undecided 25% 20% 28% 25% 19% 31% 29% 19% 30% 36% 20% 34% 29% 21% 27% 25%


  Base Liberal (14%) Moderate (37%) Conservative (49%) Men (46%) Women (54%) Democrat (38%) Republican (41%) Other (21%) African-American (28%) White (69%) Other (3%) 18 to 29 (11%) 30 to 45 (25%) 46 ro 65 (44%) Older than 65 (20%)


Ivey 29% 12% 22% 38% 29% 28% 11% 48% 21% 15% 35% 10% 28% 36% 26% 25%


Sparks 33% 52% 39% 22% 40% 27% 48% 19% 32% 43% 28% 51% 44% 32% 30% 33%


Undecided 39% 36% 39% 40% 31% 45% 40% 33% 47% 42% 37% 39% 28% 32% 44% 41%

Related Articles:

Byrne & Davis Strongest in New Poll for 2010 Governor’s Race

Tallying on a chalk boardPublic Policy Polling polled head-to-head matchups (.pdf) for the 2010 Alabama governor’s race. Republican candidate Bradley Byrne leads Democrats Artur Davis (39-35) and Ron Sparks (41-27). The margin of error is +/- 3.8%.

Davis leads all other Republicans: 41-38 against Roy Moore, 37-35 vs. Tim James, and 39-31 over Kay Ivey. (The first two are within the margin of error.) With Davis showing “only” a 68-10 lead among African-Americans in the Byrne matchup, he has to be eying the undecided 22% and figuring to get the lion’s share.

No primary matchups were polled.

On its website, Public Policy Polling writes, “Given the wealth of strong candidates and how tightly bunched they are in this early polling it looks like this has the potential to be one of the more competitive races in the country next year.”

Ivey Creeping Closer to Announcement for Governor

Kay IveyRepublican state Treasurer Kay Ivey sent out an email last night (below, and quite lengthy) telling those on her distribution list what Parlor readers already knew: she is preparing for a run for Governor.

My plan is to make a formal, statewide announcement in the upcoming few weeks. You know me; you know my record and you know I have a passion for public policy and for solutions to lingering and outdated practices. We must be about meeting today’s needs and tomorrow’s priorities rather than be bound by policies and laws adopted in yester-year.

There is only one office on the ballot—the office of Governor— that can develop and propose solutions for the great, many needs of this state and its future. It is the only office I intend to seek in 2010.

In the email, she also addresses the PACT issue:

I have received some very pointed criticisms from emotional PACT contract holders and opportunistic political rivals. I understand and sympathize with the fear and anger of these holders. But I am disappointed by the fear-mongering and false indignation of some of my rivals whose only goal has been to inflict damage on me, while they offered nary a single solution, only political platitudes.

I have survived the rhetorical slings and arrows, and I will not run for cover nor avoid any discussion of PACT during the course of a campaign. People forget that before the national economic collapse, my administration was averaging better than 12% returns a year on PACT investments. Therefore, I know that what happened was a market problem coupled with an escalation of tuition rates, not a management one on my watch! I have the utmost confidence that when the facts are fully told, most every rational and reasonable soul out there will know this too.

Here is the full text of the email:

Continue reading “Ivey Creeping Closer to Announcement for Governor”

Related Articles:

Legislative Dispatch

A Look from the Rearview Mirror

This Thursday will mark the last day of the legislative Session.  For some, it was a Session that seemed would never end.  For others, it was one that ended much too quickly.  It may be early, yet, to write an obit on this Session, but as we approach the finish line, some perspective may be in order.


Putting Students First

As you know, a very important piece of legislation will be presented for our consideration in the House tomorrow in Montgomery – Senate Bill 310 – the “Students First” tenure and fair dismissal reform bill. Like me, many House members have been inundated with phone calls and emails from opponents of this bill, and some have been [...]

Legislative Transparency

There are a lot of issues to debate before we begin the final days of this session. In fact, I am quite certain there will be some comments on this post debating many of them. Before we get into the last seven day of the session I wanted to bring up a topic that [...]

See more Recent Small Town News