U.S. Rep. Artur Davis released new polling numbers today that showed him with a strong lead on his potential rivals for the Democratic Party's nomination for governor in 2010.
Davis, of Birmingham, is bidding to become the first black candidate elected governor of Alabama. His polling showed him leading the only other announced Democrat for the position - Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks - by 56 percent to 26 percent.
Davis said the polls also showed him leading Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, who has expressed an interest in the race but made no formal announcement, by 54 to 25 percent.
The statewide poll, commissioned by Davis and conducted by Montgomery-based Anzalone-Liszt Research, included 600 Democratic primary voters who were contacted from May 5-9.
In a separate poll of 600 general election voters, Davis said he held a five point lead over Republican Bradley Byrne, the head of the state's two-year college system. Byrne, who is expected to announce his candidacy for governor next week, trailed Davis 38 to 43 percent.
The results did not indicate how Davis would perform against either Greenville businessman Tim James or state Rep. Robert Bentley of Tuscaloosa, the two Republicans who have formally announced their intent to run for the office.
Other potential candidates not included in the poll results were state Treasurer Kay Ivey, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Bill Johnson, head of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, all Republicans.