An Alabama poll, conducted by Strategy Research on behalf of WKRG News, found Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton enjoying large leads within their respective parties in the 2016 presidential race. Alabama holds its presidential primary on March 1st, along with a number of other Southern states.
The Strategy Research poll found Trump leading the Republican field with 30 percent support. His nearest challenger, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, was way back at 15 percent. Bush was followed by Ben Carson and Marco Rubio each at 11 percent. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Alabama primary in 2008 on the strength of evangelical voters, polled just 8 percent. Carly Fiorina was also at 8 percent, followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz who polled at 7 percent support.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton held a crushing 78 to 10 percent margin over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been barnstorming the South, speaking to large crowds recently, but that enthusiasm has not translated into strong poll numbers for the senator in the state of Alabama.
Clinton’s ridiculously strong poll numbers in Alabama suggest that she could employ a Southern strategy to curb Sanders’ momentum if he wins early victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. South Carolina holds its primary after the first two states weigh in, and on March 1st Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia hold their primaries, giving Super Tuesday 2016 a distinctly Southern flavor.
Sanders’ home state of Vermont and neighboring Massachusetts also hold primaries that day and Colorado and Minnesota have their Democratic caucuses on March 1st as well. Nevertheless, if Clinton’s strength in Alabama is indicative of strength elsewhere in the South, Super Tuesday would give her an opportunity to scoop up the lion’s share of Democratic delegates on March 1, 2016.
On the Republican side, the Alabama poll simply affirms that Trump’s lead in the GOP extends to every part of the country, including the Deep South. Alabama’s evangelical tradition makes it an excellent pickup opportunity for a social conservative like Mike Huckabee or Ted Cruz, but it appears that Donald Trump has cornered the evangelical vote, shutting out the most outspoken Christian conservatives in the field.
With most campaigns so heavily invested in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Alabama poll gives analysts a glimpse at how the presidential race stacks up in a Southern state that hasn’t received much attention yet, but whose primary still falls early in the 2016 calendar. With Alabama voters decisively supporting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the poll also suggests which candidates should be favored to perform well in the Southern flavored Super Tuesday primaries.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.