By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—A recent internal poll by Hickman Analytics, Inc., shows that Rep. Joe Hubbard has surged to a virtual tie with incumbent Luther Strange in the race for the Attorney General’s job. The analysis even suggest that Hubbard’s candidacy still has, “room to move up even more.”
Key findings in the report, not surprisingly, show, that Strange has better name ID with voters. Just under three-quarters of likely voters (72 percent) have heard of Strange and 60 percent are able to rate their thoughts about him. By contrast, 48 percent have heard of Hubbard, and 38 percent have an opinion. However, Hubbard’s name recognition has grown by 15 points since June. The report suggests, “good progress for an electorate relatively disengaged at this stage of the campaign.”
The finding states that, “voters’ opinions of Luther Strange are tepid at best,” with his favorable numbers in decline over the past three months. Strange is only pulling 30 percent favorable; down 6 percent since June.
According to the poll, Strange remains weak among white Independents (30 percent favorable to 29 percent unfavorable) with less than a majority of register Republicans giving him a favorable rating, at 46 percent.
According to the Hickman poll, Hubbard’s, popularity has increased since June, “despite Strange’s attack ads.” Hubbard stands at 23 percent favorable, with 13 percent unfavorable, with 3 percent volunteering mixed opinions. His favorable rating is up 12 points since June while his unfavorable is up only two points.
The report also states, “The electoral strength of an incumbent can be judged by the degree to which voters say they are committed to re-electing him.” Only 43 percent intend to vote to re-elect Strange while 39 percent want to replace him with a nameless Democrat, “This is unchanged since June.”
The poll suggests that Strange needs approximately two-thirds of white votes to win. Currently only 54 percent are supporting him, including only 70 percent of white Republicans and 50 percent of white Independents. The poll finds that Strange has only about 8 percent crossover appeal.
The poll claims that if the election were held today, Hubbard would win among African Americans 71 percent to 18 percent, “far below the traditional spread for Democratic nominees.” However, the poll suggested that Hubbard already has almost the exact level of support he would need among white voters. Neither candidate is shown to have an obvious advantage among undecided voters.
Among those who say they “probably or definitely” will vote, the current race has Strange at 46 percent and Hubbard pulling 45 percent. Among those who say they definitely will vote in the race the vote percentage is dead even.
Strange has attacked Hubbard for receiving campaign contributions from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI). However, according the poll, by a two-to-one margin, voters are more concerned “that Luther Strange is obsessed with the bingo issue” than “that Joe Hubbard’s biggest campaign contributor is the Poarch Creek Indians.”
While the current internal polling from the Hubbard camp seems to spell trouble for Strange’s reelection, indictments coming out of Lee County might give Strange something to crow about. An indictment of Speaker “Mike” Hubbard could also confuse voters, who might have voted for “Joe” Hubbard.