EXCLUSIVE: Poll indicates Bell in strong position to win re-election

Updated: Aug. 1, 2017 at 6:00 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor William Bell is in a strong position to win re-election, according to the results of an exclusive new WBRC FOX6 News poll.

The poll of most likely Birmingham voters found 54% make Mayor Bell their first choice in the August 22 election, with contractor and former Auburn player Chris Woods a distant 2nd at almost 17%. Assistant city attorney and Birmingham Board of Education member Randall Woodfin is close behind in 3rd at 14%, Patricia Bell at 6%, and Randy Davis had 4% in voter support.

Mayor Bell also enjoys a higher job approval rating than the city council among Birmingham voters in this poll, with 57% saying Bell is doing an "excellent" or "good job," while only 34% give the city council the same rating.

Bell responded to the results of our poll with the following comments:

I'm grateful that the citizens are seeing the progress we're making under my administration and leadership. We're going to continue to work hard and not take anything for granted. We're gonna continue to showcase programs like the one we have here, CPR. What that does is give us the opportunity to have discussions with people so the people can have input, and that's what my administration has been about, the people of this great city.

"What I take away from the poll is the order of finish," says Political analyst and Birmingham Southern College professor Dr. Natalie Davis, who conducted the poll.

"I don't think I would bet the barn on the actual numbers because there is a large margin of error in this kind of poll, you don't know who's going to vote, and because the dynamics of get out the vote are hard to measure."

Dr. Davis says while Mayor Bell may be heartened by his job approval rating and lead over other mayoral candidates, "I don't think it's insurmountable. I think if it goes to a runoff, then all bets are off. Also, while it's not a special election, these elections don't draw the voters that would be a typical November election, so turnout becomes the key. We've been down this road with mayor bell before. When he had to go to a runoff he had 48% of the vote and lost. So he probably is well aware he probably needs to win it the first time around."

Chris Woods is disputing the poll numbers and the sample size, but issued the following statement after hearing the results of our poll:

We are very encouraged with the feedback we have received from the citizens of Birmingham. We will continue working to earn the trust and votes of every citizen in Birmingham until the close of the polls on election night.

Woods says he has conducted polling in contrast to the results, but has not released that information.

Randal Woodfin had the following to say:

I think we're in a competitive race. We're 21 days out, we've put ourselves in a competitive position based on 11 months of working with, listening to, and talking with voters about the importance of this election. 2017 represents a change election where voters are not wanting change for change's sake, but wanting to be a part of progress that parts of the city are experiencing.

The poll conducted between July 28 and 31 reached 214 registered voters in Birmingham with a margin of error of 5-7% and a 90% certainty.

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