Moore, who was forced from office after disobeying a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state's judicial building, led Riley 43 percent to 35 percent among likely GOP primary voters. The University of South Alabama poll also showed 72 percent of those surveyed viewed Moore favorably, something University of Alabama political scientist William Stewart called "intimidating."
With Greenville, Ala., businessman Tim James also in the mix, Moore's lead over Riley increased to 10 points. James, the son of former Gov. Fob James, polled at 4 percent in a three-way contest with Riley and Moore.
USA political scientist Keith Nicholls, who directed the poll, said of the 2006 Republican nomination for governor, "It's Moore's for the taking."
The survey, conducted Monday through Thursday, includes responses from 400 Alabama adults who identified themselves as likely Republican primary voters. The results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.