Alabama Senate: Shelby (R) 60%, Barnes (D) 28%

August 23, 2010

Rasmussen Reports

So far, it looks like Republican incumbent Richard Shelby won’t have a problem winning his fifth term as a U.S. senator from Alabama.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Shelby leading his Democratic challenger, William Barnes, by better than two-to-one, 60% – 28%.  Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, while 10% are undecided.

These findings have shown little change since late March.  Last month, Shelby held a 59% to 29% advantage over Barnes.

This race remains Solid GOP in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.

Shelby is favored by 87% of Republicans and 80% of voters not affiliated with either political party.  Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats support Barnes, a lawyer and political newcomer.

The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Alabama was conducted on August 19, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Republican Robert Bentley leads his Democratic opponent Ron Sparks 58% to 34% in Alabama’s gubernatorial race.

Shelby is viewed as a conservative by 81% of Alabama voters. Voters have a tougher time determining Barnes’ ideology: He’s seen as conservative by 23%, moderate by 23% and liberal by 23%. Thirty-one percent (31%) are not sure how to describe Barnes’ political viewpoint.

Fifty-five percent (55%) describe Shelby’s political views as mainstream, while nearly as many (46%) have no idea where to place Barnes on the political spectrum. Twenty-four percent (24%) say Barnes’ views are mainstream, while 30% say they’re extreme. Twenty-three percent (23%) view Shelby’s views as extreme.

Initially elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1986, Shelby switched parties in 1994 and remains a popular figure in Alabama. He was reelected in 2004 with 68% of the vote.  Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters in the state now hold a Very Favorable opinion of the incumbent, while 10% view him Very Unfavorably. Only eight percent (8%) have no opinion of Shelby.

Barnes is viewed Very Favorable by 11% and Very Unfavorably by 10%.  However, 36% don’t know him well enough to offer any kind of opinion of him.

At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

Forty-six percent (46%) of Alabama voters rate their personal finances as good or excellent, while 15% describe them as poor.  Still, only 20% say their finances are improving.  Forty-seven percent (47%) say their finances are getting worse.

John McCain carried Alabama over Barack Obama by a 61% to 39% spread in November 2008.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters in the state now approve of Obama’s performance as president, while 61% disapprove. These findings are lower than Obama’s job approval ratings nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

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