The respective U.S. Senate campaigns of former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday each released internal polling with three weeks to go until the March 31 Republican primary runoff.
Sessions’ campaign publicly released his internal polling in a press release. Tuberville’s campaign responded a couple hours later by sending an internal polling memo dated the same day to Yellowhammer News for publication.
Sessions’ internal survey was conducted by On Message, Inc. from March 8-9. March 8 was a Sunday, while March 9 was a Monday. The survey measured 800 “likely Republican primary voters” and had a margin of error of ±3.46%. The release stated, “The data is exactly proportional to the turnout from the March 3rd [primary] race in each of Alabama’s 67 counties.”
A poll summary is available here.
It should be noted that the same pollster on behalf of Sessions released an internal survey in January showing Sessions leading the primary field with 43%, compared to Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) 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 new Sessions survey showed him and Tuberville statistically tied on the ballot test (when voters were asked who they plan to vote for in the primary), with both candidates receiving 45% of the vote.
In a statement, Wes Anderson of On Message referenced independent polls put out earlier this week that showed Tuberville with sizable leads. This included a survey by nationally respected Cygnal showing Tuberville leading 52% to Sessions’ 40%.
“Unlike some of the nonsense robo call polls and online polls being thrown out there, this is a real look at the Republican voters in Alabama right now,” Anderson said of the Sessions’ internal survey. He added, “I like Jeff’s chances.”
However, countering that assertion, Tuberville’s campaign released to Yellowhammer News an internal survey backing up the trend shown by independent polls.
The national polling firm Moore Information Group conducted a survey on behalf of the Tuberville campaign on March 5 and 7. March 5 was a Thursday while March 7 was a Saturday. The survey measured 400 likely primary runoff voters and had a margin of error of ±5.0%.
The survey showed Tuberville with 49% and Sessions at 38%. One interesting nugget included in the polling memo obtained by Yellowhammer News showed Tuberville leading with both Crimson Tide fans (48% to 40%) and Auburn fans (58% to 30%).
Favorability numbers in the Tuberville internal survey also reflected a significant difference between the two candidates, like the Cygnal independent poll but unlike Sessions’ internal survey. A key number, if true, could be how voters trust both Sessions and Tuberville through the lens of whether each would support President Donald Trump. In that regard, 48% of respondents chose Tuberville while 30% chose Sessions.
Trump the morning after the primary tweeted of Sessions, “This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!”
The president had refrained from bashing Sessions during the primary, only commenting back in November, “He’s got tough competition.”
“I mean, you have the football coach. Tommy is doing very well. You have some good people running in Alabama. Let’s see what happens,” the president added.
The latest Tuberville internal survey memo also advised that he is leading “among all age groups, among both men and women and has a double-digit lead in the Birmingham DMA, which is the state’s largest TV market.”
“Coach Tuberville won a crowded primary against better funded opponents because he’s a political outsider who will always have President Trump’s back,” stated Erik Iverson, president and managing partner of Moore Information Group. “And now heading into the runoff, Alabama Republican voters are sending a clear message – they stand with Coach because they trust him to stand with President Trump.”
The Tuberville internal survey memo can be read here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn