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Early poll sets the stage for possible Alabama GOP U.S. Senate primary field

Yellowhammer News has obtained an early Republican primary poll for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race.

The poll was conducted by a prominent national pollster, Erik Iverson of The Moore Information Group, who is working for former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville’s campaign in the race. The survey polled 650 likely Republican voters on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The margin of error was four percent.

This early in the race, with only light social media advertising having taken place, the poll is almost entirely based off of pure name identification.

The survey measured a ballot test between the credible candidates who have already announced their candidacy (Congressman Bradley Byrne, Tuberville and State Rep. Arnold Mooney) as well as former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Secretary of State John Merrill.

Tuberville is leading with 23% of voters choosing him, followed by Moore at 18%, Byrne at 16%, Merrill at 7%, “Other” at 6% and Mooney at 2%, with 28% undecided.

The former football coach led in all media markets except Mobile, the area Byrne represents in Congress.

The poll went deeper than that, measuring those candidates’ and potential candidates’ name identification and favorability, along with at least one biography test on Tuberville and the popularity of President Donald Trump.

The survey showed 80% of respondents having a favorable opinion of Trump, with 18% responding unfavorably.

Tuberville had a 49%-17% favorable-unfavorable rating, compared to Byrne at 35%-16%, Moore at 38%-48%, Merrill at 28%-13% and Mooney at 12%-13%.

Tuberville performed best both among respondents who identified as “very conservative” and as Trump supporters, two demographics key in the 2020 Republican primary.

Moore has a “very favorable” rating of 17%, while his 32% “very unfavorable” mark shows the deeply rooted opposition to his candidacy even within the GOP grassroots.

Only 1% of respondents never heard of Moore, while the rest of the candidates have significant room to grow in name identification and strengthening soft favorability and unfavorability.

One question showed that 65% of respondents preferred an “outsider like President Trump who has never been a politician.” 17% percent preferred a “career politician who has spent the last two decades in office.”

The eventual Republican nominee will go on to likely face Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in the general election.

President Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and other allies of the president have warned that a possible Moore-Jones rematch could once again hand this ruby-red seat to the Democrats in 2020.

This polling should give observers some sense of relief that if the other GOP candidates do not tear themselves apart during the primary, Moore’s built-in unfavorable numbers give him a huge hill to climb out of the gates in seeking the nomination.

You can read a memo from Iverson on the poll here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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