Two independent polls released Thursday on Alabama’s U.S. Senate Republican runoff reflect that Katie Britt has a significant lead over U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks with less than a week until voters return to the polls.
In both polls, Britt has the support of 50% of those surveyed while Brooks trailed by at least 16 points.
Emerson College Polling, commissioned by The Hill and Alabama media outlets in the Nexstar Media Group, surveyed 1,000 likely voters in Tuesday’s runoff and Britt got 50% support while Brooks received 34%. The Emerson poll had a margin of error of 3%.
Auburn University Montgomery surveyed 400 likely voters and Britt got 50.4% support to Brooks’ 29.5%. The AUM poll had a margin of error of 4.9%.
A total of three independent polls released over the last week have suggested Britt is primed to win the GOP runoff in the race to replace her former boss, retiring Sen. Richard Shelby. Louisiana-based JMC Analytics and Polling, released June 10, had Britt with 48% support and Brooks with 29%.
Britt formerly served as Shelby’s chief of staff as well as the head of the Business Council of Alabama.
“As we’ve traveled to all 67 counties across our state over the past year sharing our message and listening to people, the enthusiastic response we’ve received in every corner of Alabama has been incredible,” Britt said in a statement Thursday. “It is clear that hardworking Alabamians know that I am the best candidate to fight for our Christian conservative values and the America First agenda in the U.S. Senate. I would be honored to earn your vote on Tuesday, June 21. The future of our state is on the ballot, and I’m in this race because that is worth fighting for. Together, we will preserve the American Dream for our children and our children’s children.”
In last month’s primary election, Britt received 45% of the vote in the six-candidate field. Brooks finished second with 29% of the vote.
The polls underscore the the depth of the challenge facing Brooks. Since 2000, no Alabama candidate in a statewide race has rallied to win a runoff after finishing second in the primary election from as large a gap between Britt and Brooks.
In the Emerson poll, 17% of those surveyed said they were undecided which candidate they would support. In the poll’s release, Emerson said when those undecided voters were asked which way they were leading, Britt’s support grew to 59% and Brooks’ to 41%.
“Britt’s initial ballot support in the runoff is higher among men than among women, she leads Brooks 55% to 31% among men compared to 44% to 36% among women,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said in a statement accompanying the poll’s release. “However, 20% of women are undecided and when asked who they are leaning towards, 71% support Britt.”
“Britt leads with all age groups, however, her support is the strongest among those under 50, where she leads Brooks 53% to 28%.”
Nearly 53 percent of AUM Poll respondents indicated a favorable opinion of Britt compared to 32 percent for Brooks, said David Hughes, associate professor of political science and director of the AUM Poll.
“The division among voters is in line with the Alabama Republican Party being traditionally divided into factions consisting of a business wing, which is more (sub)urban, wealthy and better educated, and a grassroots wing, which is more rural, evangelical and socially conservative,” Hughes said in a statement accompanying the poll’s release.
The polls also indicate that former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Britt on June 10 had little impact.
In the Emerson poll, conducted June 12-15, 45% of those surveyed said a Trump endorsement makes no difference while 16% said Trump’s endorsement would make them less likely to support his preferred candidate. Another 40% said Trump’s endorsement would make them more likely to vote for that candidate.
“The Trump endorsement makes a more significant impact for voters without a college degree,” Kimball said in a statement. “Half of voters without a college degree say a Trump endorsement makes them more likely to support a candidate, compared to 23% of those with a college degree or more. Whereas, 55% of voters with a college degree say it makes no difference on their vote compared to 28% of voters without a college degree.”
The AUM poll, conducted June 8-15, found that among Alabama Republican voters who view Trump favorably, 46 percent expressed support for Britt compared to 70 percent who view Trump unfavorably.
“The AUM Poll found that Britt’s support is higher among Alabama Republican voters who are better educated, wealthier, less supportive of Donald Trump, and more likely to believe that President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election,” Hughes said in a statement. “For example, among Alabama Republicans with a college degree, 57% support Britt compared to only 47% support among those with a high school degree or less.”
That’s consistent with the JMC poll last week that said two-thirds of those it surveyed indicated Trump’s endorsement either made no difference or would lead them to vote for the other candidate.
Updated today, June 16, 2022, at 1:49 p.m. with new information throughout.