The Monmouth University Poll examined voter preferences in two Super Tuesday states and found Donald Trump with sizable leads in both Alabama and Oklahoma.
Trump is currently the only candidate meeting the delegate threshold in Alabama.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a very comfortable lead in Alabama, but Bernie Sanders (pictured) has a slight edge in Oklahoma.
— Republican primary —
Donald Trump holds double digit leads in both of these Super Tuesday states. In Alabama, he has the support of 42% of likely GOP primary voters, compared to just 19% for Marco Rubio, 16% for Ted Cruz, 11% for Ben Carson, and 5% for John Kasich. Trump has a somewhat smaller advantage in Oklahoma with support from 35% of likely voters, compared to 23% for Cruz, 22% for Rubio, 8% for Kasich, and 7% for Carson.
According to the delegate allocation rules in both states, any candidate who surpasses 50% of the total vote is awarded all the statewide at-large delegates. Otherwise, the delegates are awarded proportionally to any candidate who meets a minimum threshold of support – which is 20% in Alabama and 15% in Oklahoma. Three delegates per congressional district are allocated in a slightly different manner. The poll results suggest that Trump is on course to take about 40% of the delegates to be allocated in Oklahoma, with Cruz and Rubio splitting the remainder. In Alabama, Trump is on pace to pick up anywhere from 60% to 85% of the delegate haul, depending on whether any of the other candidates meet the allocation threshold.
“There is an outside chance that only Trump ends up meeting the delegate threshold in Alabama. But even if Rubio and Cruz qualify, it’s looks like Trump could easily rack up the vast majority of delegates awarded by these two states,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
One sign of Trump’s impressive showing is that he holds a large lead among evangelical voters in Alabama – 43% compared to 18% for Rubio and 15% for Cruz. He is basically tied with Cruz among this group in Oklahoma – 29% compared to 28% for Cruz and 21% for Rubio. Evangelical voters make up 77% of likely voters in Alabama and 65% in Oklahoma.
Just over 4-in-10 likely Republican primary voters in Alabama (43%) and Oklahoma (44%) say they are completely decided on their candidate choice. This includes 1% who have already voted by absentee ballot in Alabama and 7% who have taken advantage of early voting in Oklahoma. The vast majority of Trump voters say they have locked in their candidate choice – 60% in Alabama and 60% in Oklahoma.
If it came down to a hypothetical three person race, Trump would still hold substantial leads in both states. In a contest against his two leading competitors, Trump would garner 46% of the Alabama vote to 27% for Rubio and 20% for Cruz. In Oklahoma, he would have 36% of the vote to 28% for Rubio and 27% for Cruz.
The Trump campaign dominated the headlines this weekend with the endorsement of a former rival, New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie. While this move set the media abuzz, it really didn’t have much impact on voters. About three-in-four (74% in both Alabama and Oklahoma) say Christie’s endorsement has no impact on their vote choice. The remainder are split between saying it makes them more likely to support Trump – 14% in Alabama and 15% in Oklahoma – or saying it makes them less likely to support Trump – 9% in Alabama and 10% in Oklahoma.
— Democratic primary —
In the Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton currently holds a commanding 71% to 23% lead over Bernie Sanders in Alabama. In Oklahoma, though, Sanders has a small 48% to 43% edge over Clinton. This is much different from the outcomes in these two states eight years ago. In 2008, Clinton lost Alabama to Barack Obama by 14 points, but she won Oklahoma by a healthy 24 points.
A key difference between these two states is the proportion of minority voters in each. In Oklahoma, 75% of likely Democratic voters in the Monmouth poll are non-Hispanic whites. In Alabama, that number is only 42%, while a majority (53%) are black.
Sanders leads Clinton among white voters in Oklahoma by 48% to 41%, but trails in Alabama with just 37% to 59% for Clinton. Clinton’s substantial lead among white voters in Alabama is augmented by her 80% to 12% showing among black voters there.
“The best chance for Sanders seems to be in places with largely white Democratic electorates. Unfortunately for him, the most delegate-rich Super Tuesday states have significant numbers of minority voters,” said Murray.
Half of likely Democratic primary voters say that they are completely decided on their candidate choice – 51% in Alabama and 52% in Oklahoma. Clinton voters are more likely than Sanders supporters in both states to report their vote is locked in.
The poll also found that voters in both states expect that Clinton will eventually emerge from this primary season as the 2016 Democratic nominee – 75% in Alabama and 66% in Oklahoma.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from February 25 to 28, 2016 with likely voters in the Republican presidential primaries in Alabama (n=450) and Oklahoma (n=403) and likely voters in the Democratic presidential primaries in Alabama (n=300) and Oklahoma (n=300). The Republican likely primary voter sample has a margin of error of+4.6 percent in Alabama and of +4.9 percent in Oklahoma. The Democratic likely primary voter sample has a margin of error of +5.7 percent in Alabama and of +5.7 percent in Oklahoma. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.