We tested eight potential match ups for Governor of Alabama last week, and they almost all came out within the margin of error.
The early front runner appears to be Republican Bradley Byrne who leads Democrats Artur Davis and Ron Sparks 39-35 and 41-27 in prospective contests.
Davis nonetheless looks to be quite a formidable candidate, as he holds small leads in matches against three other likely Republican contenders. He has a 39-31 edge on Kay Ivey, a 41-38 one on Roy Moore, and a 37-35 lead over Tim James.
Sparks doesn't poll quite as well against the other GOP hopefuls. He leads Ivey 33-29, is tied with James at 32, and trails Moore 38-36.
There's not much doubt the black vote is the reason Davis is polling so much better than Sparks. For instance against Byrne Davis holds a 58 point lead with that demographic, 68-10. But Sparks has just an 18 point advantage at 38-20. Sparks actually gets slightly more support from white voters than Davis in all of the possible matches. We didn't do any polling on the primary, but with African Americans likely to make up around half of the electorate and Davis doing so much better with them it's hard at this admittedly early stage to see anyone else being able to snag the nomination.
Given the wealth of strong candidates and how tightly bunched they are in this early polling it looks like this has the potential to be one of the more competitive races in the country next year.
Full results here