Interesting results in the Alabama Gubernatorial primaries last night. Here are some thoughts:
-This race was going to be a tough one for Democrats no matter who their nominee ended up being, but there's no doubt their chances are better with Ron Sparks as their candidate than they would have been if Artur Davis had won the nod. The latest polls by PPP, Rasmussen, and Research 2000 showed Sparks polling an average of 3.3 points better than Davis against Bradley Byrne, who is the only clear runoff contestant for the Republicans at this point.
-When we polled the Democratic primary back in March 80% of likely voters said they supported President Obama's health care plan. The results would seem to be an indication that you really can't expect to win a primary when you opposed a bill that your party base overwhelmingly supports, and when that was the bill they probably paid the closest attention to in the last two years. Davis was still ahead of Sparks back then but based on our polling in other races Democratic voters generally assumed their Representative voted for the health care bill- whether they did or not. Sparks' campaign ensured that Democrats in Alabama knew the truth on that front.
-Finally, big upsets are caused by lack of polling. There was only one public poll on this contest in the last two months of the race and even that one came a couple weeks before the voting. Would we be surprised by the results if this contest had been getting the quantity of polling the Pennsylvania Senate primary did? Doubtful.