Close Battles Loom in Alabama, Mississippi GOP Primaries
Around the State
Update: Rick Santorum Wins Close Battles in Alabama and Mississippi.
Eyes turn toward the Deep South on Tuesday as Alabama and Mississippi hold their Republican presidential primaries -- and polls released Monday show that both states are close.
There are 50 delegates on the line in Tuesday's Alabama Republican primary and, according to a poll released on Monday from American Research Group (ARG), Newt Gingrich holds a small lead.
With the support of a majority of voters who say they are supporters of the tea party movement, Gingrich leads the poll of likely primary voters with 34 percent followed by Mitt Romney with 31 percent. Rick Santorum takes third place with 24 percent, while Ron Paul lags behind with 6 percent. Some 4 percent remain undecided and 1 percent back other candidates.
The poll of 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters was taken from March 9-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Mississippi also holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday and an ARG poll released Monday shows Romney with a narrow lead over Gingrich in the Magnolia State. There are 40 delegates at stake in the primary.
Romney leads the poll of likely Republican primary voters with 34 percent, with Gingrich on his heels with 32 percent. Santorum stands in third place with 22 percent with Paul taking 8 percent. Three percent remain undecided and 1 percent back other candidates.
Gingrich led an ARG poll of Mississippi released last week with 35 percent followed by Romney with 31 percent.
The poll of 600 likely Mississippi Republican primary voters was taken from March 10-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Two polls released by Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, on Monday showed close battles but with different results -- Gingrich ahead in Mississipi, Romney ahead in Alabama and Santorum running much closer.
“About all we know for sure about Tuesday’s primaries is that Ron Paul will finish last in them,” said Dean Debnam, PPP president on Monday. “Beyond that, it’s plausible that any of the candidates could finish between first and third in both Alabama and Mississippi.”
Romney leads a PPP poll of Alabama with 31 percent but Gingrich and Santorum are both within the margin of error. Gingrich takes 30 percent in the PPP poll and Santorum takes 29 percent. Paul takes 8 percent while 2 percent are undecided. The poll of 600 likely Alabama Republican primary voters was taken from March 10-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
In the PPP poll of Mississippi, Gingrich leads with 33 percent followed by Romney with 31 percent, Santorum with 27 percent and Paul with 7 percent while 2 percent are undecided. The poll of 656 likely Mississippi primary voters was taken from March 10-11 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.
The candidates made their final pitches to voters in both states on Monday.
Romney unveiled the support of a host of Alabama Republicans, including eight state representatives, on Monday. Romney has already reeled in the support of many state GOP leaders including former Gov. Bob Riley.
“My support is growing in Alabama because voters in the state are looking for a change of direction in Washington,” insisted Romney on Monday. “President Obama has grown government at the expense of the private sector. I will shrink government and expand the private sector with the help of these leaders.”
Gingrich responded in Mississippi when he unveiled the support of eight state legislators. The former congressional leader spent the weekend campaigning in both states.
The Santorum camp had the Duggar family, reality television stars from the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” stump for their candidate in Alabama on Monday with appearances outside of Birmingham and in Huntsville. Santorum himself campaign in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery on Monday, but he plans to be based in Louisiana to watch the results come in on Tuesday night.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.