The Associated Press
New polling data on next week’s U.S. Senate special election Republican primary in Alabama shows former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore pulling ahead in a three-way battle between Moore, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL).
Strange was appointed to the seat earlier this year by then-Gov. Robert Bentley to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.
The survey of likely 2017 special election primary voters released on Friday shows Moore with 35.07 percent, followed by Strange at 23.07 and Brooks in third with 19.68 percent.
The Trafalgar Group’s (TFG) senior strategist Robert Cahaly told Breitbart News the poll results reflect Moore’s popularity in the state and the impact of President Donald Trump’s recent endorsement of Strange.
“Brooks had momentum and we believe short of Trump’s endorsement tweet, Brooks would have overtaken Strange for second place,” Cahaly said, adding that things can change in the final days of an election, including future presidential tweets, which in recent days have been critical of McConnell.
“Brooks had been gaining daily before the Trump tweet, but that growth has slowed,” Cahaly said. “By contrast, Strange has yet to receive a significant bump from the president’s endorsement possibly due to his association with McConnell as President Trump continues to criticize his Senate leadership.”
Cahaly noted the divide between longtime establishment Republican voters and first-time voters who were motivated by Trump’s candidacy.
“There is a noteworthy difference in the preferences of longtime Republican voters versus newly energized 2016 first-time GOP voters,” Cahaly said. “Strange leads Brooks by more than 6 percent among more established voters, but the two are tied among new voters from the Trump dominated primary.
“Moore is consistently over 35 percent with both segments of Republican voters,” Cahaly said.
And Moore, Cahaly told Breitbart News, was “the most anti-establishment” candidate in the field of nine candidates vying for the seat.
In fact, Cahaly said, “Moore voters are Trump voters.”
As reported by Breitbart News, Moore produced an ad hitting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his “DC slime machine.”
The 30-second ad is apparently in response to the McConnell-controlled Senate Leadership Fund, which is reportedly willing to spend up to $8 million to boost Strange’s campaign.
The ad targeted McConnell’s “slime machine” for failing to repeal Obamacare and “for bearing witness” against Moore.
Cahaly also laid out what polling data showed in head-to-head runoff match-ups between Moore and Strange, and Moore and Brooks.
“Looking toward a runoff we see a Strange/Moore runoff (advantage Moore) dividing the Brooks vote with the large anti-establishment share supporting Moore,” Cahaly said. “In a Brooks/Moore runoff (advantage Brooks) we see the vast majority of Strange supporters backing Brooks who is seen as less extreme than Moore.”
TFG conducted this survey of 1,439 respondents August 8-10 from a random stratified selection of likely 2017 primary voters. The margin of error is +/- 2.59.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter @PennyStarrDC