Although he has been heavily outmatched in fundraising and endorsements, a Cygnal poll debuting on Politico early Thursday shows an insurgent Dean Young with a three-point lead over his competitor Bradley Byrne in Alabama’s first congressional district Republican primary runoff heading into the last few days of the contest.
The poll, which was completed on Wednesday, surveyed 1,027 likely voters with a 3.03 percent margin of error.
A polling memo from Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s managing partner, said that one possible reason for Byrne’s position in the poll was his inability to build a favorability advantage over Young.
“One potential reason for Byrne’s positioning, despite his drastic fundraising advantage, is his favorability rating (57.1% fav / 33.1% unfav) compared to Young’s standing in voters’ minds (58.7% fav / 30.4% unfav),” Buchanan wrote. “Traditionally, candidates with such disparate resources are not so similar in fav/unfav ratios.”
Buchanan did note that his firm’s polling shortly before the September Republican primary was off on then-GOP hopeful Quin Hillyer (within 4.7%) and Young, who Buchanan noted “outperformed by nearly double.” Cyglal did, however, predict the rest of the field within the margin of error.
Another criticism of the poll is that it was conducted on a single day, rather than over several days, as most reputable polls are. Zac McCrary of the Democrat polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research said on Twitter that the poll “should be taken with a grain of salt” because of the importance of spreading surveys out over the span of 2-3 days. ”[I] don’t disagree at all,” Cygnal founder Brent Buchanan responded. “Tight timeframe.”
Yellowhammer has learned the Cygnal numbers don’t reflect what the Byrne campaign’s internal poll numbers show.
“We are going to win,” Byrne campaign manager Alex Schriver said confidently when asked about the poll. “It’s a close race and there’s a lot at risk for South Alabama. From Austal & Airbus, to ongoing economic development projects, we need a Congressman willing to fight a broken Washington for us. Bradley Byrne is that person.”
The AL-01 Republican runoff election is set for next Tuesday. The winner will face Democratic nominee Burton LeFlore in the Dec. 17 general election.
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