By Rick Journey
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Republican State Representative Robert Bentley holds a 20-point lead over Democratic nominee Ron Sparks in the first Rasmussen Reports survey since Bentley's primary runoff win in Alabama's gubernatorial contest.
The latest statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Bentley receiving 55% support, while Sparks picks up 35% of the vote. Just three percent (3%) would prefer another candidate in the race, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.
Bentley beat Bradley Byrne, who was endorsed by Governor Bob Riley, by a 56% to 44% margin in the GOP primary runoff on July 13. Bentley, a retired physician, came in second to Byrne in the June 1 primary in a field of seven candidates.
Sparks, the state agricultural commissioner, carried 62% of the vote to win the Democratic Primary race over Congressman Artur Davis.
In a survey conducted just before the runoff, Bentley held a 56% to 37% edge over Sparks. In the last Rasmussen Reports survey before the primaries, Bentley led the Democrat 44% to 31%.
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The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Alabama was conducted on July 22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Voters in Alabama not affiliated with either major political party favor Bentley over Sparks by a nearly three-to-one margin.
Only nine percent (9%) in Alabama rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent, but 51% rate it as poor. While 27% say economic conditions are getting better, 51% say they are getting worse.
Sixty percent (60%) of those who believe the economy is improving back the Democrat, while 73% of those who it's worsening support Bentley.
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Alabama voters favor the passage of an Arizona-like immigration law in their state, which is higher than the national average. Just 18% in Alabama oppose such a law in their state.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) who favor a similar immigration law in Alabama support Bentley, while Sparks is backed by 56% of the smaller group that opposes such a law.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) in Alabama also oppose the decision of the Department of Justice to challenge the law, while 25% agree with the decision. Sixty-five percent (65%) favor a welcoming immigration policy that excludes only criminals, threats to national security and those coming to live off the U.S. welfare system.
Bentley is viewed Very Favorably by 32% of voters and Very Unfavorably by just seven percent (7%).
Sparks is viewed Very Favorably by 19% and Very Unfavorably by 21%.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Alabama voters approve of the job Riley is doing as governor. Forty-two percent (42%) disapprove of his job performance. Riley is term-limited and can not run for reelection this November.?
While 26% say the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy, 41% say it has hurt the economy. Sixty-four percent (64%) believe the U.S. economy is currently in a recession.
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