Polls vs polls

Now that the GOP gubernatorial numbers have settled down a little bit, let’s compare the Polls (on June 1st – hat tip to Doc’s) versus the Public Strategy Associates poll (early May).   Bradley Byrne received 28% of the vote vs 24%; Robert Bentley received 25% vs 12%; Tim James received 25% vs 23%; Roy Moore received 19% vs 18%.  PSA observed that 21% of known GOP primary voters were undecided.  In May, PSA said:

“The next couple of weeks will be ‘make or break’ in the governor’s race…” said Brent Buchanan, a partner in Public Strategy Associates. “This is when the heat is on, and a lot can change in the next nineteen days,” he added.

Nice job on the poll.  Looks like the undecideds broke for Dr. Bentley and we’ll see soon enough if he or Tim James is in the runoff (pending the recount – Friday is the deadline). 

The vote difference between Bentley and James is 167 votes – well within the 0.5% error rate mentioned by Susan Fillipelli in comments at Doc’s (which seems to be a pretty good estimate).   My guess is that Bentley made the runoff with Byrne, but James certainly has good reason to request (and pay for) a recount.

Primary runoff turnout generally drops to 66% of the primary turnout, but that’s still roughly 330,000 voters who might show up (the most recent GOP primary runoff in Madison County turned out about 80%! – which could translate into almost 400,000 voters on July 13th).  It’s probably safe to assume that most of Byrne’s 137,000 voters show up and that most of Bentley’s (or James’) 124,000 voters show up: that leaves 69,000 to 139,000 votes ‘undecided’.   None of the candidates’ voters by themselves can take the primary runoff, exempli gratia, Byrne needs to get out all his vote plus add at least another 30,000 votes to win the runoff.

I voted for Byrne and will again, but James and Bentley rounded out my top three choices so I could vote for any of them come November.

Public Strategy GOP Governor and AG Poll

The good folks at Public Strategy Associates say that GOP gubernatorial candidates Bradley Byrne and Tim James are running “neck and neck” in a race that is “too close to call”. PSA also observes “Luther Strange strongly pulling away from incumbent Troy King in the race for Attorney General”.

In phone surveys conducted by Baselice & Associates with 1,005 known Republican Primary voters, the race for Governor of Alabama appears to be a dead heat between Byrne and James. Byrne is in the lead at 24 percent, with James right behind at 23 percent. The survey found the bottom three contenders are Roy Moore at 18 percent, Robert Bentley at 12 percent and Bill Johnson at 2 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

Survey data in the Republican Primary for Attorney General indicates that Luther Strange has a commanding lead over Troy King, with Strange at 50 percent and King at 25 percent. The percentage of undecided voters in this race is at 25 percent.

Compare that to an earlier PSA poll (from the “Best in the barrio” post):

The poll of “likely Republican primary voters” showed Gubernatorial candidates Bradley Byrne at 20%, Roy Moore at 17%, Tim James at 8%, Robert Bentley at 4%, Kay Ivey at 3%, and Bill Johnson at 2% – with 46% of GOP primary voters Undecided.

The poll showed Attorney General candidates Troy King (incumbent) at 27% and Luther Strange (24%) – with 49% of GOP primary voters Undecided.

Brent Buchanan of PSA comments:

“The next couple of weeks will be ‘make or break’ in the governor’s race. It will come down to who has the best message that resonates with the right universe of voters the appropriate amount of times,” said Brent Buchanan, a partner in Public Strategy Associates. “This is when the heat is on, and a lot can change in the next nineteen days,” he added.

Danny at Doc’s wrote “Public Strategy Associates Releases Independent Polling in GOP Gov & AG Races”.   Thanks to Clinton for the heads up.


A quick look at the GOP Governor’s race sees that Byrne’s support has gained a little, but that James and Bentley have gained lots of ground, and that Moore’s support is stable.  This looks like a three-way race for the primary runoff between Byrne, James, and Moore.

In the GOP Attorney General’s race, Big Luther Strange seems to be getting his money’s worth from his media campaign.

Huntsville Governors Forum Report

It’s been awhile since the life-changing Huntsville Governors Forum on March 2 - my notes and memories aren’t getting any better with age.  So finally here it is, the post you’ve all been waiting for, the hottest post in the world, the Huntsville Governors Forum report!

To refresh your memories, the Madison County Young Republicans and Right On Huntsville hosted the Forum at the Davidson Center.  Republican gubernatorial candidates Robert Bentley, Bradley Byrne, Kay Ivey, Tim James, Bill Johnson, and James Potts attended – note that Kay Ivey has since decided to run for Lieutenant Governor.

Retired Lt. Gen. Jim Link of Redstone Arsenal and Teledyne Brown, Gary Palmer of the Alabama Policy Institute, and former Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer were the Forum Panelists.

The event was attended in total by 575 people, but what surprised me was that it was almost like two events: several hundred attended the Reception and several hundred attended the Forum.  Anyway – it was a successful event – the hosts did better than break even (the Davidson Center costs big money – IIRC like $8,000 with catered hors d’ouvres  - but it was worth it).

The Forum began promptly at 6:15, with the Butler High School Air Force ROTC Color Guard presenting the colors.  I was able to spend some time with the cadets and they are great kids – smart and ambitious.  ROTC Instructors Colonel Mike Parsons and Senior Master Sergeant Elijah Porter are creating future leaders – well done!

Retired Colonel John Reitzell led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Clinton Carter of the Madison County Young Republicans introduced the candidates and panelists.  Kudos to Carter for doing a fantastic job of organizing the Forum.  Joel Jaqubino of Right On Huntsville fired up the audience with red meat – and then – the big show…

Loretta Spencer asked about State support for BRAC in terms of roads and infrastructure:

Bentley – signed the gas tax pledge.
James – signed the gas tax pledge, saying “where do we get the biggest return” and “bang for the buck”.
Byrne – cited Maryland BRAC efforts as a model, Governor is “the point of the spear”, State may have to spend more than 100% on the dollar for roads and schools.
Johnson – helped get BRAC jobs, “understands the needs and will deliver”.
Ivey – “focused”, designate senior staff to liaison with City / County leaders to cut red tape, “count on Kay Ivey”.
Potts – Statewide audit, tax-free bonds for infrastructure, subdivisions pay their way, air / water quality of life.

General Jim Link asked for specific ideas to boost the economy:

James – “keep taxes down”, incentivize existing businesses, regulations – “get Government out of the way”.
Byrne – use Universities as key asstes, cited 2-year college Robotics Center, create “Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship”.
Johnson – get all the BRAC jobs here that are allocated, improve State image, grow exports.
Ivey – economic liberty, entrepreneurship, elevate Office of Economic Development to Cabinet level, workforce development and education.

Unfortunately, I missed Potts’ and Bentley’s answers, as well as Gary Palmer’s question along with the responses to his question from most of the candidates.  We’ll pick back up with Bentley and James’ responses to Palmer’s question:

Bentley – unfunded teachers retirement is huge problem ($5.4 billion plus $1 billion for employee health care), need to refinance over 30-year cycle.  Need Health Savings Accounts. Likes Representative Greg Canfield’s Rolling Budget Plan.
James – elect Republicans to the State House and Senate.

 *** MORE ***

Mayor Loretta Spencer asked about forming a ‘Transportation Commission’ to hire the Alabama Department of Transportation Director:

Johnson – supports “taking the politics” out of road construction.
Ivey – “the last thing you need is another layer of Government”.  Need a firm method of deciding road funding.
Potts – “committees spend money on studies but don’t get anything done”.
Bentley – every time this bill came up he voted for it, he voted against it this time because he’s running for Governor.  The Governor needs a single point of contact, not a commission.
James – no commission.  Removing politics from the process won’t happen.  Need one person in charge.
Byrne – not ready for a commission, maybe in the long term.

General Link said there are 33,000 people who work at Redstone Arsenal.  What role does the State play in protecting Federal jobs such as Constellation?

Ivey – listen and “keep economy healthy, healthy, healthy”.
Potts – keep a close relationship with Senators; work force development; ensure that education produces students who perform grade-level work.
Bentley – BRAC renegotiation in 2015; education; work with Senators and Representatives.
James – believes in limited government, interstate commerce and defense.  Cited lobbying office in Washington for the Air Force tanker program.
Byrne – “intense response to BRAC”.
Johnson – cited the moon landing, “we can’t sit on the sidelines” while China and Russia continue improving their space programs.


Sorry about this, out of time.  Only a few more pages of notes to post.  Maybe starting this post will motivate me to finish it – that’s the plan…

Winter Wonderland Forum

Tuesday, March 2 dawned with snow… fluffy chunks of what Les Phillip calls “Goreflakes”.  

The Republican Women of Huntsville held a gubernatorial forum at the Ledges, which is a beautiful place any day, but it was spectacularly beautiful in the snow.  Tim James on his Facebook said “the snow up in the hills was absolutely breathtaking”.

The forum was moderated by WBHP’s Will Anderson, who did a fine job of asking questions and pressing for answers.  I got to meet Will in person after the event – he recognized my name but couldn’t place it – I mentioned that I’d called his show once before and that we’d talked about Obama’s looming defense and NASA cuts (which have since happened).  I was impressed that Will recalled the conversation.  We also talked about Brian’s social skills (“wounded rat”) and Will’s compliments to Brian’s posts (calling Flashpoint the “Heritage Foundation of Alabama”).

The forum agenda called for each of the five candidates attending (Robert Bentley, Bradley Byrne, Kay Ivey, Tim James, and Bill Johnson) to give a short opening speech, followed by three questions each, and ending with closing remarks.  Here are some snippets:

Kay Ivey – “it’s women who manage money”
Bradley Byrne – “the #1 issue is not bingo, it’s putting our people back to work”
Bill Johnson – asked about education said “not everyone will go to college” and proposed improving technical and trade education
Bradley Byrne – asked about education said “we shouldn’t let the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party (AEA’s Paul Hubbert) rob our children of their future”
Robert Bentley – asked about health care said “form Health Insurance Exchange” and ‘scholarships for medical students with committments to practice in underserved areas’
Kay Ivey – asked about her greatest single skill said “leadership standing on principle” and mentioned that she’s been vilified for PACT but that “Governors don’t get to choose crises”
Tim James – about PACT said “the problem is we lost balance” and that trust fund money should be more carefully invested
Bill Johnson – “always votes against taxes” because “it’s personal”
Tim James – “I’m a businessman” who’s “created private sector jobs”
Robert Bentley – “the State is in pain and you need a Doctor”

Thanks to the Republican Women of Huntsville for a great event – there were more than 250 people there – what a turnout!  I think the GOP is going to have a good year…

Huntsville Governors Forum

The Huntsville Governors Forum will be held Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at the Davidson Center.  The forum will start at 6:15PM and the public is invited.

The Huntsville Times wrote “Six of seven Republican candidates for Alabama governor to appear at forum”:

The forum will be moderated by a panel including retired Lt. Gen. Jim Link, former commanding general of Redstone Arsenal and former president of Teledyne Brown Engineering; Gary Palmer, president of the Alabama Policy Institute; and former Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer.

“Huntsville and North Alabama have not always been at the ‘epicenter of attention’ for candidates for political office, but I believe the scope and size of the Huntsville Governors Forum shows that we are gaining influence in the state’s political process,” said Clinton Carter, chair of the Madison County Young Republicans and the forum’s chair. “We feel that the forum will provide a great opportunity for voters to hear directly from the Republican candidates for governor, including where they stand on a variety of issues that are important to Huntsvillians.”

The forum will commence with the Presentation of the Colors by Butler High School’s Air Force ROTC Color Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation.

Each panelist will ask two questions – each candidate will have 90 seconds to respond to each question (which is a long time in forum time).  We’ve scheduled an hour for all three panelists to ask  their two questions and get responses from the six candidates (remember – 90 second answers).

We’ve scheduled 15 minutes for a ten question “Lightning Round”.  Each candidate gets 30 seconds to respond to these questions ranging from Free the Hops Brewery Modernization to charter schools to improving trade and technical schools, along with the obligatory gambling question.  We’ve tried to come up with some questions that are different from those asked at other venues…

We’ve also scheduled 15 minutes for a potentially exciting “Round Robin”, where each candidate gets to directly ask one other candidate a question.

Even though the Forum is competing with NCIS, we expect to have a fine turnout and we’d love to see YOU there!

Thanks to The Huntsville Times for writing about the Huntsville Governors Forum – I think that the event will generate some news content for you…

Tim James wins MCGOP Straw Poll

Gubernatorial candidate Tim James received 35% of the vote at a standing-room only meeting of the Madison County GOP.  Bradley Byrne came in second with 26% and Roy Moore came in third with 15%.  Undecided got 10%, Robert Bentley got 7%, Kay Ivey got 4%, Bill Johnson 3%, and James Potts got less than 1%.

Tim James attended the meeting and it appears  that his personal campaigning may have helped earned him the win.  In a departure from previous straw polls, this poll was open to MCGOP members only.

Tim James to sign highway tax pledge

GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim James announced that he will sign the Madison County highway tax pledge.  He joins fellow Republicans Bill Johnson and Bradley Byrne in pledging to increase road funding for Madison County.  From James’ blog:

If elected Governor of Alabama, I will create a special statewide BRAC initiative to coordinate all communities to be prepared for the 2015 review. This will help give us the competitive edge for not only Huntsville but also Montgomery with Maxwell Air Force Base, the Wiregrass with Fort Rucker, Anniston with the Army Depot, and Lee and Russell Counties with nearby Fort Benning, Georgia.

Let’s take the approach that everyone in Alabama benefits from a BRAC transfer to an Alabama military base. As a result, we need to focus our state resources to invest in highways, bridges, sewer systems and schools for communities that will need to meet BRAC requirements.

To this end, I am signing the pledge to commit at least 80 percent of Madison County highway tax revenues back to Madison County. 

I’m pleased that James reconsidered his position on the pledge.   Road funding for Madison County has been out of whack – our taxes will still fund projects in the rest of the State, but we need more than the $0.53 for each dollar we send to Montgomery.

Brian wrote about this as a ‘campaign gimmick’, but since it is the Madison County Commission, City of Huntsville, and City of Madison who are pushing the pledge, and not the candidates, I don’t see it as much of a gimmick.  I see it more as our local politicans addressing the issue.

What about the other candidates?

MCGOP Breakfast – Tim James

Tim James, GOP candidate for Governor of Alabama, spoke at the Madison County Republican Men’s Club breakfast Saturday morning.  I had never seen him, met him, or heard him speak before, so I was looking forward to hearing from him.

James is a good public speaker – well-organized with a great voice.  He touched on national issues, then state issues, then his campaign – all throughout repeating his theme of “common sense solutions”.

National – companies that are “too big to fail should be allowed to go bankrupt” (to loud applause) and “Wall Street is willing to sell the country down the river”.  He praised Senator Sessions, Senator Shelby, and Congressman Aderholt for opposing the bailouts.

State – Education - ”The foundation is the ball game” - reading programs must be improved to create an educated workforce.  Put strong Principals in weak schools.  Economic Development – 74% of Alabama’s jobs are in existing small businesses, implement programs to provide same economic development benefits to expanding local businesses that we do for companies such as Thyssen Kruppe.  “Make Alabama business-friendly”.

James closed by saying “America is under assault … from Washington.  The economic foundation of America will collapse if we continue to print money”.  He said “It is time for all leaders at all levels to speak clearly – inspiring our countrymen to an economic and moral great awakening”.

He made a good first impression on me.

There was more excitement at the meeting: Rob Broussard attended – he is likely to be appointed as the next Madison County District Attorney to replace the retiring DA Tim Morgan.  Rob and I have some mutual friends, but the first time I saw him (long time ago) he was the prosecutor on a case where I was on the jury – he did a great job on that case – conviction.  If you know Broussard, contact Governor Riley and let him know that Rob would make a fine DA:

Phone:  (334) 242-7100
Email Governor Riley

I also got to meet John McMillan, who is running for Agriculture Commissioner.  I enjoyed talking with him -  he used to be a Baldwin County Commissioner and I almost think of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach as home.  I’d like to live there but then I couldn’t stop to get Chilton County peaches on the way.  Here’s last years Beach Monitoring and Poo post about water quality in Baldwin County.