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District 2 poll offers insight into voters’ attitudes, progressive concerns

A poll last month showed that more than 80 percent of 450 likely voters cared if a candidate lived in the district.

Candidates for the 2nd Congressional District, clockwise from top-left: Shomari Figures, Rep. Anthony Daniels, Rep. Juandalynn Givan, Rep. Napoleon Bracy, Sen. Merika Coleman, and Rep. Jeremy Gray.

A poll conducted in December ahead of the 2nd Congressional District primary in March could offer an interesting look into what voters’ concerns may be. 

The SPLC Action Fund published a poll last month that showed that more than 80 percent of 450 likely voters who responded to the poll cared if a candidate lived in the district. This is noteworthy because several candidates in the race are not residents of the 2nd Congressional District.

Brandon Jones, political director for the SPLC Action Fund, told APR he didn’t believe the poll broke new ground necessarily because voters tend to care about whether a candidates lives in the district. But Jones did say that he thinks the high percentage of likely voters concerned about the issue should not be dismissed even if it’s a snapshot four months before the primary.

“So I think this poll looks like who we can expect to show up in the Democratic primary,” Jones said. “So generally speaking, I don’t know that there will be a lot of change, but…I think it’s worth noting that any poll that’s issued more than 60 days prior to the election, it’s worth recognizing that this is an indication of where people are at this moment. And that can change. But I do think it’s a very good indicator of where likely Democratic primary voters are at this moment.”

Ever since District 2 was redrawn and a federal judge decided on the new map, candidates have arrived in droves to determine who will be the next to represent the district. Democrats now maintain an advantage in the congressional district due to Alabama’s voting being racially polarized and the district being redrawn to give Black voters a higher voting age populous. This has resulted in over a dozen Democrats entering into the primary but several of the top contenders live outside of the district or just returned.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham and Sen. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham are all seen as major players yet are not residents of the district proper. Shomari Figures, son of Vivian Davis-Figures, is from Mobile but just recently moved back after leaving a position in Washington D.C. as the deputy chief of staff for Attorney General Merrick Garland.

This specific concern from voters could wane as they come to know these candidates because Jones also stated the impetus for the poll was to gauge how voters were feeling as this was likely the first time many of them would participate in a competitive election. Also, many candidates have not truly begun campaigning and getting their name out to the public.

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According to the poll voters were largely undecided on who they would vote for at 47 percent but Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, was favored over the conventional candidates at 15 percent. This may be due to Bracy’s current state office district crossing over into some of the newly drawn Congressional district and being a recognizable name.

Another interesting detail was 41 percent of voters responding that they believe abortion should be legal in all cases. This is notable because most Democrats in Alabama have typically been moderate to conservative on the issue of abortion specifically. Jones stated he thinks this response was due to the issue of abortion being placed at the forefront of the national conscience recently.

“I think that the Dobbs Supreme Court decision has brought this issue into stark relief for people,” Jones said. “And I think that when your medical options are taken away, and when you realize the real life and death issues that surround this issue it makes it much more primary in people’s minds.”

Alabama has almost totally banned abortion even for cases of rape or incest. The only exception is in cases where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk. However, this could still pose delays causing women to remain at risk and in danger of dying.

As the 2nd Congressional District primary draws near candidates are sure to gin up attention to their campaigns and only time will tell if that attention can turn into votes come March.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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