A survey conducted over four days last week by the polling firm McLaughlin & Associates shows a close race between Congressman Mo Brooks and first-time candidate Katie Britt for the Republican nomination in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race.
Asked which candidate they would vote for if the primary was held that day, 31.4% of respondents picked Brooks and 26.2% picked Britt. Former U.S. Army aviator and businessman Mike Durant was the choice of 16.6% of respondents, while 4% picked Prattville businesswoman Jessica Taylor. The remaining 21.8% of respondents were undecided.
Respondents were more likely to be familiar with Brooks than Britt and more likely have both favorable and unfavorable views of Brooks: Britt, 40% favorable; 10.4% unfavorable; 22.4% no opinion; 27.2% never heard of. Brooks, 55.8% favorable; 21.4% unfavorable; 13.8% no opinion; 9% never heard of.
When the respondents were asked to pick between Britt or Brooks, 38.8% chose Britt, 36.6% chose Brooks, and 24.6% were undecided.
Some questions in the survey were intended to measure Trump’s influence in the race. When asked to choose between a candidate who backs traditional, mainstream Republican policies or Trump’s issue agenda, 64.2% chose the Trump agenda, while 26.4% chose the traditional GOP agenda.
When asked whether they would vote for Brooks because of the Trump endorsement, 19% said they would, 38% said they would keep an open mind, and 33% said the endorsement had no impact.
The survey of 500 likely voters in the Republican primary was conducted by live phone interviews and text messages from Dec. 6-9. The margin of error was 4.5%.
The primary is May 24. The race is for the seat Sen. Richard Shelby will leave when he retires in 2023. The Britt campaign said the poll shows Britt, former chief of staff for Shelby, has the momentum over Brooks, who is serving his sixth term in Congress representing Alabama’s 5th District.
“It is clear the Alabamians want fresh blood in the Senate, not a do-nothing, 40-year career politician,” Sean Ross, spokesman for the Britt campaign, said in an email. “Katie continues to work tirelessly every day to directly deliver her positive message to every corner of our state, and her grassroots campaign is paying off. She will be the best candidate to protect Alabama’s Christian conservative values, fight to always put Alabama first, and deliver real results that benefit hardworking Alabama families, not Washington, D.C. special interests. Alabamians can see this, as the numbers reflect.”
Brooks sent a statement in response to the poll results, and noted the endorsement of former President Trump, who was viewed favorably by 86% of the respondents in the poll.
“I am very pleased to be leading in this Senate race,” Brooks said. “The lead is, in large part, because President Trump’s endorsement confirms that there is only one proven MAGA conservative in this race and that proven MAGA conservative is Mo Brooks.”
Brooks campaign chairman Stan McDonald also sent a statement: “Mo Brooks is a conservative fighter–that’s why President Trump endorsed him, why the conservative grassroots are with him, and as this poll shows, why he’s going to win this race.”
McLaughlin said the benefit Brooks gains from the Trump endorsement will probably depend on whether the former president takes an active role in the campaign. “My sense of it is a lot of people don’t necessarily know about it (the endorsement)” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said one revealing question found that respondents preferred a political outsider with a new approach over a candidate with four decades in elected office by 68.6% to 12.8% [AL.com].
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ALREPORTER.COM
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