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Internal poll: Sessions leads Senate race by wide gap, Byrne’s TV spending puts him over Tuberville

According to the latest internal poll conducted on behalf of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ 2020 Senate campaign, Sessions is strongly leading the GOP primary field in his bid to unseat incumbent Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November’s general election.

The internal poll, leaked first to Breitbart News on Monday, was conducted by national pollster Wes Anderson of On Message, Inc. from January 13 – 15. The survey sampled 700 likely GOP primary voters and had a margin of error of ±3.7%.

On the ballot test (when voters were asked who they plan to vote for in the primary), Sessions received 43% of responses, compared to Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) at 22% and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville at 21%.

This comes after a Sessions internal poll conducted by the same pollster with the same methodology December 3 – 5 showed Sessions at 44%, followed by Tuberville at 21% and Byrne at 14%.

Byrne, since that poll was conducted in early December, has been advertising significantly on television, which explains his eight-point jump. Sessions and Tuberville have not been advertising on television, explaining their relative stagnation.

Favorability numbers in the latest poll were also within the margin of error of December’s poll for Sessions and Tuberville.

Sessions saw 72% of respondents indicate that they view him favorably while 50% viewed Tuberville favorably. Sessions’ unfavorable rating was 19% and Tuberville’s was 18%.

Meanwhile, 46% of respondents viewed Byrne favorably, compared to 10% unfavorably. This represented a 10-point positive net favorability jump for Byrne since December.

Byrne’s camp reacted to the Sessions internal with enthusiasm, taking it as a sign their TV ads are resonating with voters and that they have the momentum to make a runoff.

Yellowhammer News also obtained hypothetical runoff matchup ballot tests between both Byrne and Sessions and Byrne and Tuberville. The tests were included during a Byrne internal poll conducted January 13. Voter Consumer Research Inc., a national polling firm, executed the Byrne internal survey, with a sample size of 600 and margin of error of ±4.0%.

In the first hypothetical matchup, that survey saw Byrne with 47% and Sessions with 45%. Another 9% were undecided or would not vote for either.

For the second hypothetical matchup, Byrne garnered 49% compared to Tuberville at 36%. A final segment of 15% were undecided or would not vote for either.

In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Tuberville campaign manager Paul Shashy referred to a poll commissioned by the Alabama Farmers Federation from early December that showed Tuberville narrowly trailing Sessions and Byrne at 12%. President Donald Trump tweeted that poll out last week, raising eyebrows in Alabama’s political circles.

“President Trump’s decision to tweet an independent poll showing Coach Tuberville’s strong momentum obviously scared the career politicians who are desperate to stay in power,” Shashy said. “The Tuberville campaign has not spent even one dime on television at this point, but every legitimate poll shows us running far ahead of one candidate who has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV commercials and competing for the lead with another who has run ads for weeks. We are confident in our game plan and look forward to going head-to-head with Doug Jones in the fall.”

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.

In a statement, Sessions campaign senior adviser Curt Anderson said, “Jeff Sessions is winning because the people of Alabama want a fighter in the U.S. Senate. They want a pro-Trump conservative who will never capitulate to the Washington DC establishment, and they know that is Jeff Sessions. He’s a national leader on fighting illegal immigration and fighting against the left’s desire to destroy our religious freedom. The Democrats know that Jeff Sessions will defeat Doug Jones.”

The Sessions campaign also released a summary of their latest internal poll.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn