A poll of Alabama ahead of its Super Tuesday vote shows Donald Trump with a solid 13-point lead over the rest of the Republican field. Trump has 36 percent support, followed by Marco Rubio in second with 23 percent.
Cruz is in third with 16 percent while Ben Carson has 10 percent support. John Kasich is last with 8 percent.
The only other poll of Alabama was released in early December. In that poll Donald Trump had 35 percent, the same as in the current poll. Cruz had 15 percent, essentially tied with Rubio and Carson who had 12 percent support each. The drop in Trump’s support from the earlier poll seems to reflect a movement towards Rubio.
The increase in support for Rubio is somewhat surprising in Alabama, if this poll is accurate. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions has been the leading national political figure against amnesty for illegal immigrants and,particulary, against the “Gang of 8” bill co-sponsored by Rubio.
Cruz has campaigned nationally on his work with Sen. Sessions on defeating the Gang of 8 legislation. Based on other states’ results, it is probable that the voters most animated by the issue of illegal immigration have gravitated to Trump, at the expense of Cruz.
While Trump remains the favorite to win Alabama, it is noteworthy that his support hasn’t grown since the end of the year. Although it is difficult to compare two different polls, Rubio does seem to have some momentum in Alabama.
Almost 20 percent of likely Republican voters in Alabama say they may still change their mind before election day on Tuesday. Around 18 percent of Trump’s supporters say they might change their mind. Almost one-third of Rubio’s supporters, however, say they might change their mind.
The poll interviewed 460 likely Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percent. It is only one poll in a state that has seen very little polling and very little campaign activity.
Trump’s numbers in the poll largely match his national polling, while Cruz is doing a bit worse and Rubio a bit better. It would certainly be interesting if Rubio finished second, or even a strong second, in Alabama.
It would suggest that his immigration stance isn’t hurting him especially or isn’t very well known to Republican voters in the state.