New polling obtained Friday morning by Yellowhammer News shows a potential blowout on the horizon in the March 3 Republican primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02).
We Ask America, a national polling firm based in Illinois, conducted a survey January 14-15 of 600 likely GOP primary voters. The margin of error was ±3.99%. Of the responses, 240 were recorded via cell phone text message, while 360 were conducted via automated landline calls.
The survey measured the popularity of President Donald J. Trump among the Second Congressional District’s Republicans, as well as the favorability ratings and ballot test (when voters are asked who they would vote for if the primary were held today) in the congressional primary race.
On the ballot test, a whopping 43% chose Wiregrass businessman Jeff Coleman. Next came former Alabama Attorney General Troy King at 16%, followed by former State Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) at 8% and Prattville businesswoman Jessica Taylor at 5%. Finally, 25% were undecided and a total of about 4% chose lesser known candidates.
When respondents were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion about each candidate, Coleman again rose above the rest. The results showed 57% answered favorable, compared to just 9% unfavorable. Of the respondents, 33% had no opinion (which could include having never heard of the candidate). It should be noted that 30% specified they view Coleman “very” favorably as opposed to 27% choosing “somewhat” favorably; 5% marked very unfavorable compared to 4% somewhat unfavorable.
King and Moore seemed to have relatively similar name identification levels as Coleman, just with lower favorability.
For King, 46% responded favorable (13% very, 33% somewhat) and 23% answered unfavorable (14% very, 9% somewhat), while 31% had no opinion.
When it came to Moore, 39% viewed him favorably (13% very, 26% somewhat) and 23% chose unfavorable (15% very, 8% somewhat), while 39% had no opinion.
Taylor, a first time candidate who has spent little money in the race, trailed when it came to name identification, which also explains her fourth place position on the ballot test. For Taylor, 22% of respondents marked favorable (7% very, 15% somewhat) compared to 13% unfavorable (9% very, 4% somewhat), while 65% had no opinion.
Coleman, also a newcomer to running for political office, has had success raising money in the race while also investing personal funds into the campaign. He has been advertising on television, radio, digital and billboards, and his campaign’s strategy appears to be paying off. The We Ask America polling comes on the heels of a new internal poll which also showed Coleman with a major lead.
Additionally, the We Ask America polling asked respondents who their second choice would be on the ballot test if they could not vote for their first choice. For that question, Moore performed best, garnering 19%, followed by King at 18%, Coleman at 17% and Taylor at 7%, while 34% were undecided.
On a weighted combined ballot, factoring in both the first choice and second choice questions, that would mean Coleman came in at 53%, with King at 26%, Moore at 20% and Taylor at 9%.
Finally, 76% of respondents stated that they strongly approve of Trump’s job approval, 14% somewhat approve, 6% strongly disapprove and 2% somewhat disapprove.
You can view the poll toplines here and crosstabs here.
We Ask America also released a polling memo to Yellowhammer News featuring their main takeaways about the survey.
One bullet point stated, “Jeff Coleman has a massive lead and could avoid a runoff. Riding his impressive image with likely Republican primary voters, Coleman receives 43% of the vote, 27-points higher than his next closest opponent, Troy King, who sits at 16%. Barry Moore at 8% and Jessica Taylor at 5% come in a distant third and fourth, respectively. While 25% of voters remain undecided, Coleman is best positioned to capture a large portion of that vote. 22% have a favorable opinion of Coleman versus 12% having an unfavorable opinion (net +10). If Coleman can convince just a quarter of those undecided voters to vote for him, he should win outright and avoid a runoff.”
“If Coleman fails to clinch outright, Barry Moore could sneak past Troy King for second place. While King leads Moore by 8% overall (16%- 8%), Moore is better positioned to capture some of the remaining undecided voters. Of the 25% who say they are undecided, Moore has an image of net +7% (22% Fav/17% Unfav), while King is underwater at net -2% (24% Fav/26% Unfav). While it ultimately won’t matter if Coleman eclipses 50%, the race for second should be a close one,” the memo continued.
The final point read, “In a runoff, Jeff Coleman will still be the overwhelming favorite. If Coleman is forced into a runoff, he is well positioned to immediately capture the votes of those who failed to advance. 53% of voters list Coleman among their top two choices, while the next highest is Troy King at just 26%. Additionally, 31% of King voters and 27% of Moore voters choose Coleman as their second choice, higher than any other candidate.”
Fundraising disclosures for the fourth quarter of 2019 are due on January 31. Those FEC reports should indicate which, if any, candidate(s) will have the funds to force and make a runoff with Coleman.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn