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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

GOP races for governor, AG wide open, according to poll

The Republican primaries for governor and attorney general are wide open, according to an independent poll released on Monday.
Bradley Byrne and Roy Moore are close in a race in the Republican primary for governor while Troy King and Luther Strange are virtually deadlocked in the race to be the state's chief law enforcement officer, according to the poll conducted by Baselice and Associates of Austin on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4.
In both races, almost half of those polled were undecided.
Brett Hall, a spokesman for gubernatorial candidate and Greenville businessman Tim James, said the campaign conducted a poll at the same time and disputes the numbers released on Monday.
Hall agreed that the undecided voters make up more than those selecting any one candidate. He said 31 percent were undecided in their poll.
The poll conducted for the James campaign has Moore with 26 percent while Byrne and James are in a "dead heat" for second. Moore is the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
In the James poll, James finished with 18 percent and Byrne with 17 percent. Byrne is a former state senator and former chancellor of the two-year college system.
"What we see is a wide open race," Hall said.
He said both sides have the objective of converting the undecided voters.
"From other sources I am getting, this poll is way off," Hall said.
For its poll, Baselice polled 1,007 likely Republican voters with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Mike Baselice is the pollster for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and has polled for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Montgomery firm of Public Strategy Associates, a Republican consulting and marketing firm, paid for the poll.
Brent Buchanan, senior partner at Public Strategy, said they decided to conduct the poll because other groups had conducted polls and not released them. He said the firm has a relationship with Baselice and decided to conduct the poll to show where the candidates stand because they did not have a candidate in the race.
"We've got four months and a lot of money to be spent," Buchanan said of the GOP primaries.
Public Strategy did represent state Rep. Robert Bentley, a Republican running for governor, from March through October, but no longer works with the candidate.
Byrne had 20 percent of the support from those polled while Moore was at 17 percent. James had 8 percent, Bentley had 4 percent, state Treasurer Kay Ivey had 3 percent, and Bill Johnson, former director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, had 2 percent.
Forty-six percent of people were undecided.
When people were asked about ideology, 55 percent of those polled said they were "very conservative" with 29 percent as "somewhat conservative" and 14 percent as moderate or liberal.
"It may not be this conservative if we were talking about a general election survey," Baselice said.
Ninety percent of those surveyed also said they would definitely vote in the June primary.
Moore had stronger support from the "very conservative" Republicans voters while Byrne was better among the "somewhat conservative" and more moderate voters.
When looking at media markets across the state, Byrne finished well ahead of the pack in Mobile while Moore's numbers were consistent in each of the markets.
Baselice said if a candidate for governor is persuasive "he could move into the top tier very quickly" because no one has distanced themselves from the competition.
Hall said he knows the James campaign is in better shape than the numbers in the Baselice poll.
"We're happy with where we are," he said. "We're where we need to be according to the poll. We have a clear strategy to win this race."
In the Baselice poll, King garnered 27 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for attorney general while Strange had 24 percent. Strange is a Birmingham lawyer and lobbyist. King is the sitting attorney general.
Almost half of people were undecided.
"It is still wide open," Baselice said.
The participants were also asked about their Republican choices for president in 2012. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee finished ahead of the pack in the state with 33 percent of the vote with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin finishing with 23 percent.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished with support from 12 percent of those polled while U.S. Rep. Ron Paul had 5 percent. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had 3 percent.
Twenty-four percent of the Republicans polled said they were undecided on their pick for president in 2012.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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