More Polls: A Moore Bounce and A Baxley Meltdown
Riley : 44%
Moore : 38%
The GOP poll is in the ballpark of what other polls have shown and what I would expect. It does give Moore a significant bounce since the early October Mobile Register Poll that had the race 44/25 in favor of Riley. Moore's numbers are probably somewhere between the 38/25 figures, but it does show positive movement for the challenger. Riley, on the other hand, seems stuck at 44%. And while he is in the lead for now, he'll of course have to grow his numbers to beat Moore. These numbers also highlight the likelihood that an additional GOP candidate of the Harri Anne Smith variety, would lead to a runoff.
Now the Democratic side...Boy, what has happened to Lucy Baxley? Many, including myself, scoffed when Siegelman asserted that post-Katrina polls had him leading Baxley. It now appears that Siegelman was right on the money. Before I get carried away, we of course have to acknowledge this is just one poll and could be flawed in some way. But SurveyUSA, though a national firm, has a lot of experience in Alabama races and is one of the more accurate firms in the country.
I am not sure how to explain these poll results and the Baxley meltdown it shows. Maybe it is "Blanco" problem that is affecting Baxley. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, like Baxley a Democrat and fmr. Lieutenant Governor, was widely panned in the days after Hurricane Katrina as weak and ineffective. Don Siegelman, in his now infamous Tuscaloosa News meeting, inferred that voters don't feel a woman can handle some of the disaster or emergency duties of a governor. Siegelman was roundly criticized for his statement and later apologized, but maybe he's right after all.
Or perhaps all of the attention Siegelman got from his recent legal and political troubles rallied Democrats around the former governor. Whatever, the reason Lucy Baxley needs to find a way to stop the bleeding.
If this poll is indeed not a true reflection of the current state of the Democratic race, Baxley needs to publicize one of her internal polls or find a third party poll to refute these findings. While the public as a whole hasn't yet tuned into the race, there are certainly opinion leaders and potential financial supporters who are following it closely. And many will think twice about backing Baxley if they think she is 30 points down to Don Siegelman.
Also, Baxley needs to start publicly touting her platform. Both Don Siegelman and Roy Moore have been promoting their plans and driving the debate. Baxley needs to give voters a reason to support her besides her charm and red dress.
I'll be interested to see if future polls confirm these surprising results. But Lucy Baxley doesn't have the luxury of running a frontrunner's campaign anymore; she needs to run like she's 30 points behind, because she just might be.