Clinton and Giuliani Ahead in Alabama

Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani lead likely voters in Alabama as the favorites for their party’s nomination, according to a survey by the Capital Survey Research Center, the polling arm of the Alabama Education Association.

Among likely Democratic voters, Clinton was favored by 35 percent to 19 percent for Sen. Barack Obama, 9 percent for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, and 8 percent for former Vice President Al Gore. Eight percent favored other candidates, and 21 percent were undecided.

Among likely Republican voters, Giuliani polled 28 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain 23 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 18 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee each with 3 percent. Two percent favored others, and 23 percent were undecided.

Alabama recently moved its primary to February 5 from its traditional irrelevancy in June, so this may have some small impact on the race.

What’s more interesting to me, aside from my Alabama ties, is that it so closely tracks the national polls. The current RealClear Politics average has the GOP race at Giuliani (38.0%), McCain (21.0%), Gingrich (10.3%), and Rommey (7.3%). For Democrats, it’s Clinton (35.6%), Obama (24.6%), Edwards (12.3%), and Gore (8.4%).

The Clintons generally and Hillary Clinton in particular are widely disliked in Alabama but apparently that doesn’t carry over to the state’s Democratic nominating electorate. That Barack Obama is trouncing much-better-known Southerner John Edwards is somewhat interesting, too.

On the Republican side, Mormon Mitt Romney is doing somewhat less well than in national surveys but otherwise things are tracking well. Either the word on Giuliani’s liberalism on the social issues hasn’t gotten around (a distinct possibility) or people have discounted it because of the “9/11 hero” thing.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Apparently the democrats in Alabama liked Hillary’s accent since this came in after the Selma speeches.

    On Rudy doing well, why don’t you also add a comment such as “Either word on Hillary’s vote to authorize the war hasn’t gotten around or people have discounted it because of the “Bubba” thing.” What you are doing is essentially saying “I don’t know why the polls aren’t matching the mainstream bigotry about how republicans in general and social conservatives in particular are reacting to Rudy.” If Romney was ahead, would you be making a similar point about Mormonism or past practices of the LDS? If McCain was in the lead would you be bringing up McCain Feingold or his age? Or if Obama was in the lead would you ponder if people know about his cocaine use? If Edwards was in the lead would you question their knowing about his new home? You only seem to harp on Rudy, but not the other candidates. Why is that?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Not sure that I’m “harping on” Rudy. Right now, he’d be my choice among the Big Three, although I reserve the right to change my mind.

    I mentioned Romney’s Mormonism, which I do think is hurting him with Evangelicals in the Deep South.

    Giuliani is I think, without question, the least socially conservative of those guys. That doesn’t bother me but I’m surprised it’s not hurting him in the Buckle of the Bible Belt.

    I don’t think it’s “mainstream bigotry” that there is dissatisfaction among the base with all the candidates. It was rather palpable at CPAC. Of the three, I think Giuliani went over the best.

  3. My point was that you singled out Giuliani as somehow his poll results should not be, but not the others. I’m not saying you support or despise him, but you are treating him differently. And you are treating him differently on your perception on how others (not you) view him. That is a form of bigotry. “Some of my best friends are ______ so I don’t have a problem with them, but I don’t understand how the rest of the neighbors can stand him unless they don’t know.”

  4. James Joyner says:

    I’m “singling out” Giuliani because he’s leading the polls and because I find that somewhat interesting, especially for a guy who is the least socially conservative candidate in a region that is most socially conservative.

  5. Brian says:

    Romney may be worse off than the polls show – he’s got several well-known and well-connected people in his camp down here. The state treasurer is his chair on the Pres. Exp. Committee, and Rep. Rogers is the co-chair. In addition, the AL Rep. party seems to be on his side more than the other candidates, in that they’ve announced the above positions in e-mails, which they didn’t do for McCain getting Att-Gen King.

    So if Romney isn’t doing well in spite of what seems to be a lot of infrastructure, this could be a really bad sign.

  6. ken says:

    Actually Giuliani’s first marriage was to his cousin.

    Clearly the conservatives in Alabama see this and think they have a lot more in common with Giuliani, values wise, than the stuffed shirt McCain or the mormon. Rudy was having sex with his cousin and he married her, and so is seen as just ‘one of the boys’.

  7. just me says:

    Giuliani is I think, without question, the least socially conservative of those guys. That doesn’t bother me but I’m surprised it’s not hurting him in the Buckle of the Bible Belt.

    I think at this point he still polls well in Alabama and similar because he has the most name recognition other than maybe McCain (who probably won’t poll well there either given his past there isn’t tons of love for McCain he has burned too many bridges).

    I would be curious to see what the polls say in a few months.

    Also, social cons aren’t as one dimensional as they are painted. I think a lot of social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives and care a lot about the WOT and Guliani comes across as being good on those two issues. So those who are in the know on Rudy’s positions, may still be willing to compromise that soc con position to keep the other two. And in a lot of ways Rudy is probably the more fiscally conservative of the bunch, and one who comes acress at least as being better on WOT issues.