MONTGOMERY — Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ campaign on Tuesday touted a recent internal poll as evidence of “momentum,” however previous internal polls from earlier in the race might paint a different picture.
The survey released Tuesday was conducted May 26-27 utilizing live telephone interviews with 600 likely Republican primary voters. The margin of error was ± 3.46%.
On Message, Inc., a national firm that has done Sessions’ internal polling throughout the race, also conducted this latest survey.
On the all-important ballot test (when voters were asked who they plan to vote for) ahead of Alabama’s July 14 GOP U.S. Senate primary runoff, the survey showed Sessions with 43%, compared to former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville with 49%.
A more detailed breakdown showed that after taking out “lean” respondents, 47% chose Tuberville compared to Sessions at 40%.
A polling summary released by the Sessions campaign included select questions involving President Donald J. Trump, who has endorsed Tuberville and recently strongly criticized Sessions related to his performance as the president’s first attorney general. Trump has even called on Sessions to drop out of the race.
While 92% of survey respondents indicated they had a favorable view of the president, additional questions indicated many could support Sessions and Trump at the same time.
In releasing the survey, the Sessions campaign sought to rebut an independent poll conducted the first week of May that showed Tuberville with a 23-point lead.
However, the latest Sessions internal poll actually shows the campaign at best stagnating compared to its own previous internal polls.
A Sessions internal poll conducted the first week of December showed Sessions at 44%, Tuberville at 21% and Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) at 14%.
This was followed by a Sessions internal poll conducted the second week of January that showed Sessions at 43%, Byrne at 22% and Tuberville at 21%.
In the March 3 primary, Tuberville ended up leading the field with 33.39%, followed by Sessions at 31.65% and Byrne at 24.89%.
The Sessions campaign quickly took a runoff poll following the primary election. Conducted March 8-9, that internal poll showed him and Tuberville statistically tied on the ballot test, with both candidates receiving 45% of the vote.
Compared to that post-primary poll, the latest internal Sessions survey had Tuberville up four percentage points and Sessions down two points, for a net gain of six points for Tuberville. Compared to the January internal poll, the latest internal Sessions survey had Tuberville up 28 points and Sessions not moving either way more than four months later.
In a statement on Tuesday, Sessions campaign manager Jon Jones said, “Jeff Sessions has the momentum in this race. This is a one-on-one matchup, and voters increasingly see that Tommy Tuberville just isn’t prepared to be a leader and represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Alabama can’t afford a Senator who needs on the-job-training and who is weak and wrong on China and immigration. And if Tommy won’t debate Jeff Sessions, there’s no way he has the strength to stand up for Alabama in the Senate.”
“Voters trust Jeff Sessions’ leadership and character, and they know that he has the toughness and experience to take on the radical left and Chuck Schumer, and protect and defend Alabama’s interests,” concluded Jones.
You can view a summary of the latest Sessions internal survey here.
The winner of the July 14 Republican primary runoff will face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November’s general election.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn