New Poll Numbers, New Front runners, New Campaign Strategies Before Alabama's Super Tuesday - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

New Poll Numbers, New Front runners, New Campaign Strategies Before Alabama's Super Tuesday

Posted: Updated: Jan 31, 2008 10:54 PM CST
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We are just a few days from Alabama's entry into Super Tuesday and there are new frontrunners in the latest poll numbers for both the Democratic and Republican races.

At the same time, the biggest bloc of Alabama voters remains undecided.

Barack Obama, the new leader among Democrats, gained five percentage points from December in the latest Alabama State University Leadership and Public Policy poll. 

Just over 30 percent of those surveyed named him as their choice.

Hillary clinton lost her lead and ten points in the last month.

She polled 23.8 percent, down sharply from the 33% she had in December.

The now departed John Edwards polled ten percent.

The second largest bloc of Democratic voters, or 27 percent, say they are undecided.

On the Republican side, John McCain is the new leader with about 20 percent of those surveyed.

Mike Huckabee, who didn't show up in December polling, zoomed into the picture with just under 19%.

Mitt Romney lost four points to fall to under 12%.

Previous Alabama front runner Rudy giuliani came in at 11%.

The Republican undecideds? They are by far the biggest bloc of all, 32%.

The poll has an error rate of plus or minus five percent.

Many people question the poll numbers because candidates have defied them before, such as Hillary Clinton's recent comeback in New Hampshire.

So we decided to take you inside the process and show how polls affect campaign strategy.

It looks like an ordinary computer classroom, but it's where fourteen trained surveyors talk to hundreds of people each week to track Alabamians' preferences.

They don't dial any phone numbers; the computer does that randomly.

To keep the surveys clean, workers don't even use a pad or a pencil. They click a computer mouse to enter someone's preference while a supervisor listens in to make sure no one can sway the results.

"Sometimes even the inflection in your voice can change the way people...answer," said manager Myles Mayberry III.

The most recent numbers have already had an effect.

Hillary Clinton's campaign ordered air time on WSFA but has yet to submit the ad or pay for it.

Rival Barack Obama unveiled a fresh new TV ad just in time for the final push, and so did surprising challenger Mike Huckabee.

The campaigns are also planning more in-person appeals to sway voters. Huckabee has plans to come back.

Frontrunner John Mccain is doing satellite interviews statewide.

President Clinton planning Alabama visits.

All of those moves prompt the question; is the entire campaign so close that Alabama's delegates are growing in importance?

Mayberry doesn't think so.

"The image of winning and actually winning helps build momentum in the campaign," he said.

We spoke with Auburn Montgomery political scientist D'linell Finley.  

He's one of those people who question the polling data, not because of the results, but because of the unpredictability of voters.

He thinks Clinton will pull out a victory against Obama in Alabama because of older black voters and younger more affluent whites.

On the Republican side Finley says Mike Huckabee is a force to reckon with, but he does not think Huckabee will win the nomination.

Reporter: Chris Holmes

 

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