New Polling on Guv Candidates
Survey USA has a new poll gauging the favorability of all four of the major gubernatorial candidates.
The question is worded, "What is your opinion of Candidate X?". And the possible responses are favorable, unfavorable, neutral, or unfamiliar.
Below are the results:
Lucy Baxley (D)
This is a great time for a poll as the races are just starting to heat up. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the poll tested the primary matchups, unless I have just overlooked it. It should be noted that the poll was taken on Oct. 3, the day Roy Moore announced his campaign. It is possible that the publicity leading up to his announcement could have boosted his numbers a little.
The poll is straightforward, so I'll only give a brief reaction to each candidate's numbers:
1) Lucy Baxley is still a mystery to half the electorate. 24% are neutral towards her, while 26% are unfamiliar. It's obvious that her success is riding on introducing herself to these voters and creating a public image of more depth than she currently has. If the half that doesn't have an opinion on her, breaks along the same lines (30-21) as the half that already has a perception then she is looking at a 60% favorability rating and we are are probably looking at Governor Baxley.
2) Don Siegelman's numbers are the weakest of the four. He is the only candidate with a net negative unfavorability and his near universal name recognition makes it hard for him to dramatically change his numbers. His 42% unfavorable rating shows he is teetering on the edge of unelectability, but if he can avoid much damage from the federal prosecution, then he may be able to make a last stand in the Democratic primary, where his numbers are undoubtedly stronger.
3) Roy Moore's numbers look better than I had expected. His net favorable rating of +6% is better than Riley's and Moore has more room to grow with a surprising 29% of the voters either neutral or unfamiliar (?!?) with the ex Chief Justice. Assuming these numbers are accurate and not skewed by the timing of his announcement, Moore starts off in a strong position.
4) Bob Riley has to be disappointed with these numbers. A poll by the same firm taken a month ago showed Riley's job approval surging in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It should be noted that job approval and personal favorability ratings are not measuring identical sentiments, but it seems clear that voters' opinions of the governor are returning toward pre-Katrina levels. The GOP establishment had been hoping that Riley would ride the momentum from his hurricane performance past Moore in the GOP primary. It certainly doesn't look like it will be that simple.
Simply put, at this juncture, the combination of room for growth and an initial favorability edge place both Baxley and Moore in strong positions as they challenge the Governors.