Republican and two-time Alabama chief justice Roy S. Moore regained his lead over Democrat and former U.S. attorney G. Douglas Jones with 49 percent to Jones’ 45 percent in the last days of the special Senate election campaign to be decided Dec. 12, according to the Big League-Gravis poll conducted Dec. 5 through Dec. 8 with 1,254 likely voters.
“We saw the undecideds move from 8 percent to 6 percent and it is reasonable to assume that shy Moore supporters have become more comfortable expressing their support,” Kaplan said.
In the previous poll, Jones led Moore 48 percent to 44 percent, he said.
These are the previous three Big League-Gravis polls of the Alabama special Senate election campaign:
“Another factor working for Moore is the passion among Republican voters,” he said. “In the raw data from each of the previous three polls, we have seen an increase in Republican participation, which was not reflected in the polls because we wanted to keep the same turnout model.”
Kaplan said there has been no serious exit polling done in Alabama for more than five years, so their model was crafted to mirror the state’s registration, along with other factors, however, in light of the consistent movement in the raw data, the voting model was shifted from plus-15 Republican to plus-23 Republican.
The previous three polls were 48 percent GOP and 33 percent Democratic, he said. “Registration in the state runs 52-to-35, GOP-to-Democrat, but for this poll, we changed our model to 53 percent Republican and 30 percent Democrat to account for the turnout passion we picked up in the raw data with Republicans.”
“If we used the old model Jones would be up two on Moore, which still shows Moore’s coming back, but it would also mean that we would be ignoring a verified trend,” he said.
“Broken down by party affiliation, Moore still has a problem with Republicans, but culturally, there is a tendency for them to come home as the election gets closer,” he said.
“Jones has the support of 93 percent of Democrats compared to Moore’s 77 percent support with Republicans–with Independents, Jones has an overwhelming lead, 52 percent to 11 percent for Judge Moore,” he said.
Broken down by ethnicity, 86 percent of African-American voters support Jones, along with 32 percent of white voters, he said. Moore has the support of 60 percent of white voters and 8 percent of African-American voters.
Less than 5 percent of Alabamians identify as Catholic, but among Catholics participating in the poll, 47 percent support Moore and 45 percent support Jones. Among Evangelicals, Moore has a huge lead over Jones, 78 percent to Jones’ 17 percent.
In the 2014 election, Sen. Jefferson B. “Jeff” Sessions (R.-Ala.) won reelection with more than 97 percent of the vote–he ran unopposed. This special election is for the rest of the term because of the vacancy created when Sessions resigned from Senate to become attorney general.
In the 2016 presidential race, Republican New York City developer Donald J. Trump won Alabama with 73 percent of the vote to 24 percent of the vote garnered by Democrat former first lady Hillary R. Clinton.
Despite a bitter GOP primary that culminated in a Sept. 26 runoff between Moore and Sen. Luther J. Strange III , the assumption was that Moore would coast to an easy victory over Jones, who was the state’s U.S. attorney under President William J. Clinton, especially after Jones refused to deviate from the national Democratic Party’s positions on restricting gun rights and against restoring legal protection for unborn children.
The one concession Jones made to Alabama’s unique culture was his TV ad, where he celebrated the bravery of Confederate soldiers at the same time national Democrats were calling for the removal of memorials to the South’s war dead.
The race was upturned, however, when The Washington Post ran a Nov. 9 story that quoted four women, who said Moore had put them in awkward sexual situations when they were teens and he was in his early 30s. One of the girls claims to have been 14, below the state’s age of consent of 16.
Moore has denied their accounts.
In the just-completed poll, 47 percent of respondents said they believe Post‘s story and 38 percent said they did not.
Forty-nine percent of women said they believe the newspaper’s account, compared to 46 percent of men.
In the candidate preference, there is still a gender divide among respondents who were not undecided, but not as pronounced with Jones the choice of 48 percent of women and 42 percent of men and Moore the choice of 45 percent of women and 54 percent of men.
The survey was conducted using interactive voice responses and online panel cell phone users and the results were weighted to match a proprietary voter model.
Check out the full poll results here:
Check out the poll crosstabs here: