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Giuliani, Clinton popular in state presidential poll

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — A statewide survey found that two New Yorkers appear to be the most popular presidential candidates in Alabama. And if they are matched, the Republican is favored.

Capital Survey Research Center, the polling arm of the Alabama Education Association, surveyed 867 people who say the intend to vote in Alabama's presidential primary on Feb. 5.

Among likely Republican voters, 29 percent said that if the primary were held today, they would support former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Arizona Sen. John McCain polled 23 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia 15 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 7 percent. Other candidates totaled 8 percent, and 18 percent of those asked said they didn't know.

Among likely Democratic voters, 37 percent said they would vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton if the primary were today. Illinois Sen. Barack Obama polled 21 percent, and former Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards each had 9 percent. Other candidates polled 5 percent, and 18 percent didn't know.

In an interview Monday, poll director Gerald Johnson said McCain and Obama have remained fairly steady in their support since he started doing statewide presidential polls in January. But Giuliani has gone up 9 percent and Clinton 10 percent since January.

Johnson said that based on responses in the poll, Giuliani benefits from the view that he's "the nation's mayor" after his handling of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and Clinton is helped by the popularity of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Johnson's poll included possible general election matchups to see how the candidates would fare, and the Republicans came out on top.

Giuliani led Clinton 50 percent to 39 percent and Obama 51 percent to 38 percent, with the remainder undecided.

McCain topped Clinton 53 percent to 39 percent and Obama 53 percent to 37 percent, with the rest undecided.

Johnson said that is "dramatically different" from nationwide polls that have shown the race closer. "For national elections in Alabama, there is still that Republican lean," he said.

"Whether that will hold or not is the interesting question," Johnson said.

Alabama has voted Republican in presidential races since 1980.

In looking at Democratic results, 41 percent of those who said they plan to vote in the Democratic primary were black. And among black Democratic voters, Clinton had 41 percent and Obama 33 percent. Johnson said the two candidates have been in that order since he began polling in January.

Johnson's poll was conducted March 28-29, April 2 and 23-26 and May 1. It had a margin of sampling error for party primaries of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Part of the poll was conducted after Giuliani made campaign stops in Mobile and Montgomery on April 11 and after President Clinton spoke at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Birmingham on April 20.

Giuliani will be back in Alabama on Wednesday to speak to a GOP breakfast in Tusca-loosa.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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