Poll shows Huckabee the early frontrunner in Alabama, other candidates close behind
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A survey by nationally-known public opinion research firm McLaughlin & Associates shows former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to be the early frontrunner in a 2016 Alabama presidential primary fight that could see a half-dozen or more candidates with a legitimate shot to win the state’s 50 Republican National Convention delegates.
The scientific poll of 500 likely Republican primary voters, which was shared exclusively with Yellowhammer News, shows a crowded field led by Huckabee and followed closely by famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The current polling numbers are as follows:
Mike Huckabee — 19 percent
Ben Carson — 15 percent
Undecided — 14.6 percent
Jeb Bush — 13.4 percent
Scott Walker — 8.4 percent
Marco Rubio — 8 percent
Rand Paul — 6.6 percent
Ted Cruz — 5.6 percent
Chris Christie — 2.2 percent
Rick Perry — 1.8 percent
Rick Santorum — 1.8 percent
Carly Fiorina — 1.8 percent
John Kasich — 1 percent
Bobby Jindal — 0.8 percent
Huckabee’s position atop the survey comes as no surprise in the Yellowhammer State, whose large swath of “values voters” propelled the former Arkansas governor to a 2008 Alabama Republican primary victory. Huckabee garnered 41.25 percent of the vote that year, besting eventual nominee John McCain (37.1 percent), future nominee Mitt Romney (17.75 percent) and libertarian icon Ron Paul (2.68 percent).
Huckabee’s continued popularity in the poll stands in stark contrast to Alabama’s 2012 Republican primary victor, Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator received 34.55 percent of the vote in 2012, edging out Newt Gingrich (29.28 percent) and eventual nominee Mitt Romney (28.97 percent). In the latest survey, he stands in tenth place with less than 2 percent support.
McLaughlin & Associates president Jim McLaughlin told Yellowhammer Tuesday the poll is reflective of the fact that an eye-popping 72.8 percent of Alabama Republican primary voters identify themselves as Evangelical Christians. However, it is too early to tell what will happen over the nine months between now and election day, he added.
“The presidential race is wide open at this point, as you would expect this early on. It’s very fluid,” said McLaughlin. “Huckabee — who’s viewed as the Christian, moral conservative — is the frontrunner right now, but voters are just starting to get to know a lot of the candidates. Alabamians are looking for a leader who will change the course the country is on, and they’re open to hearing that message from a lot of different candidates.”
Alabama has actively sought to increase its role in the presidential nominating process and has joined with five other nearby states to form an “SEC Primary” that proponents say will force candidates to pay more attention to southern conservatives.
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) June 9, 2015