Riley gaining in polls

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 17, 2002

BNI Newswire

BIRMINGHAM – Republican gubernatorial candidates Bob Riley and Steve Windom argued last week which of them was ahead in the polls.

According to the Riley campaign on Thursday, a poll of 500 likely Republican primary voters showed the congressman leading 34 percent to 32 percent over Windom, marking what Riley officials called "a dramatic change of events" in the campaign. Tim James had 8 percent while 26 percent remained undecided.

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The poll was conducted earlier last week by the polling firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.

"We have sensed a tremendous amount of momentum in the past few months and this only confirms what I have been seeing all across Alabama," Riley said. "The June 4 primary will be a clear referendum for change in Alabama.

"People are fed up with the same old Montgomery crowd that has been running this state into the ground for the past four years. To those of you who have waited patiently for change, I want to let you know that change is on the way, " Riley said.

The campaign said the poll numbers that Riley has gained over 7 points, well above the statistical margin of error, on Windom since early January "despite a media blitz by the lieutenant governor," Riley’s campaign stated. "The tracking numbers also show that Windom’s numbers have fallen dramatically over the past few months while Riley has continued to gain support."

Riley said he expects the release of these numbers to prompt Windom to run a media blitz to stop momentum for Riley.

"My advisors and supporters tell me that when my opponent see these figures, he will hit the alarm button, purchase some more television ads to combat our gains," Riley said.

What Windom did on Friday was issue his own poll numbers which his campaign said showed he "solidly remains the double-digit front-runner for the Republican nomination."

Windom said recent independent polls from the Mobile Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times show Windom with a double-digit lead over Congressman Riley and James. Windom said poll numbers also show him running ahead of Gov. Don Siegelman, who is running against Charles Bishop for the Democratic nomination.

Windom said Riley was trying "to prop up his sagging campaign by trying to pass off as legitimate, the results of a poll his campaign paid for, claiming it had moved into the lead in the race."

"Aside from education, voters on the campaign trail are telling me that corruption in Montgomery is the single largest issue on their minds.

For three years I have been fighting corruption, on the people’s behalf, regardless of the personal cost.

Bob Riley’s only experience in fighting corruption in Montgomery amounts to 30 seconds in a TV ad," Windom said.