MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A week after Super Tuesday, former Auburn Tigers football coach Tommy Tuberville has a commanding lead in the Alabama primary runoff for U.S. Senate against former Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to a new poll released today by Cygnal.
The Cygnal survey, conducted March 6 – 8, with 645 likely GOP primary election voters, shows Sessions (40%) trailing Tuberville (52%) by 12 points. The runoff election will take place on March 31.
“Starting at a 12-point deficit is going to be a big hurdle for Sessions to get over, especially if he continues to draw the ire – and tweets – of the President,” said Chris Kratzer, Cygnal’s VP of Research and Analysis.
Tuberville led the March 3 primary voting at 33% with Sessions trailing by just 1.74 points, prompting President Trump to tweet the next day, “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!” Cygnal conducted a survey 12 days out from the last election showing Tuberville would lead Sessions by 1.4 points.
“Jeff Sessions’ unfavorability has continued to increase among GOP Primary voters over the course of the primary season,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s CEO & Founder. “Now that Trump has gotten involved, it’s unlikely the former attorney general will be able to overcome the gap in how voters see Tuberville’s as more strongly favorable. Trump may not be able to pull a candidate across the finish line, but he sure can keep a candidate from getting there first.”
The survey asked voters if they believed that the President was opposed to Sessions in the Senate race. 45% of GOP primary voters agreed that he was; only 16% disagreed. Of the 45% that agreed, 67% say they plan to vote for Tuberville.
The probabilistic mixed-mode survey, pioneered by Cygnal – who was named the most accurate firm in the nation by The New York Times in 2018 – was conducted on March 6 – 8 with 645 likely Republican voters giving the poll a margin of error of ±3.86%. Interviews were conducted using an online sample acquired via email and SMS invitations sent to known registered voters and filled in with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to landline phones. This methodology reflects the way voters now communicate with more people using online communication than answering phone calls.
Cygnal is not working with any candidate or independent expenditure in the Alabama U.S. Senate race.