BY WILL WHATLEY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Two recent surveys testing the Alabama Senate race show some mixed results, but generally positive signs for former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.
Released early Monday morning, an internal poll from the campaign of Democratic incumbent Sen. Doug Jones showed Jones and Tuberville in a tight general election matchup, with Tuberville leading 47% to 44% and 9% undecided. But with an adjustment to increase the African-American share of the vote, the survey puts the two candidates in a tie at 46% each and 8% undecided.
The polling memo released by the campaign did not include a hypothetical matchup between Jones and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is locked in a GOP runoff with Tuberville. When asked to release results of a Jones-Sessions matchup, the Jones campaign declined.
Jones’ poll was conducted May 14-18 by FM3 Research and sampled 601 registered voters with a margin for error of +/-4.0%.
The same poll included a Republican-only sampling that showed Tuberville holding a 54% to 32% advantage over Sessions, who is looking to reclaim the seat he vacated when he was named U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. The survey found that 14% of Republican voters are still undecided for July’s runoff.
While Jones is trailing Tuberville in the poll, the relatively close numbers show the incumbent senator remains competitive in the November election, said Jones campaign communication director Owen Kilmer.
“After months of Sessions and Tuberville attacking each other, we are going to make clear that Senator Jones has been working for Alabama and to bring people together,” Kilmer said.
In response to the survey results, Sessions’ spokesman John Rogers accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats of trying to game the election.
“They want to trick Alabama Republicans into picking the weakest candidate so they can beat him,” Rogers said. “Tuberville is weak, and Jones and Schumer know it. On July 14th, Alabama Republicans will tell these Washington insiders to back off and get lost.”
Another more recent poll from Cygnal released Monday afternoon showed more promising results for Tuberville. In it, Tuberville is projected to best Jones by 14 points in a November matchup. Meanwhile, Sessions is projected to beat Jones by 10 points.
The Cygnal survey was conducted June 13-16 with a sample of 530 likely Republican runoff voters with a margin for error of +/-4.26.
According to Cygnal, when put up against Jones and an independent candidate, Tuberville performs better than Sessions with independent voters, medium-income voters, and college-educated voters. In fact, Sessions is one point behind Jones in the Birmingham media market, whereas Tuberville is ahead of Jones in all media markets.
“Despite the ups and downs of this race, with the pandemic and the runoff being postponed from late-March to mid-July, we’ve continued to see Tuberville in the lead,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s CEO and founder. “Not only did he lead in the primary, but the poll we did after the primary showed him 12 points ahead of Sessions in a head-to-head. Our pre-primary survey was within half a percent of the final results between Sessions and Tuberville.”