“It’s way bigger than Roy Moore…It is the direction of our country.”
On Tuesday, Alabama voters head to the polls to elect their new United States senator, and depending on which outlet you read, the race is “too close to call,” Judge Roy Moore (R) is leading by between 3 and 7 points, and Doug Jones (D) is “a normal polling error away from a win.”
Things seem to be going Roy Moore’s way. President Trump endorsed him. The Republican National Committee is back to supporting him. And Moore, who has been accused of sexual contact with women when they were underaged, has led by an average of 3 percentage points in polls1 taken within 21 days of the Dec. 12 special Senate election in Alabama. The betting markets give Moore about an 80 percent chance of victory. . . .
. . . . A look at all U.S. Senate election polls since 19982 shows that their average error — how far off the polls were from the actual election result — is more than a percentage point higher than the average error in presidential polling. Also, Alabama polls have been volatile, this is an off-cycle special election with difficult-to-predict turnout, and there haven’t been many top-quality pollsters surveying the Alabama race. So even though Moore is a favorite, Democrat Doug Jones is just a normal polling error away from winning. (Or, by the same token, Moore could win comfortably.)
The polls in Alabama have swung back and forth between Moore and Jones over the past month. The Washington Post first reported on allegations against Moore on Nov. 9, and after that, surveys indicated that the race was moving in Jones’s direction. He held an average advantage of 5 percentage points in polls that were taken six or seven days following the story. Since then, polls have Moore ahead by 3 points, on average. . . .
Expanding on the idea that polls haven’t been particularly helpful or correct for the past ten or more years, FiveThirtyEight posits that one reason the polls may be wrong this time is that Moore voters are “ashamed to admit” they support Moore.
Alabama’s election could present even more challenges to pollsters. Some Republicans may be ashamed to admit to pollsters that they are voting for someone facing sexual misconduct allegations. Others may be reluctant to vote at all because of the scandal. As I have previously pointed out, slight differences in who pollsters expect to turn out can make major differences in how big Jones’s or Moore’s polling lead is. Both the Post and YouGov have shown that likely voters are more favorable to Moore than the larger universe of registered voters. So, Moore may have a turnout advantage, though it’s difficult to know.
As we can surmise from the RNC’s renewed support for Moore, not only is he rising in the polls, but his supporters are not abandoning him.
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) December 9, 2017
Watch Luntz’s “discussion” with (more like condescending chiding of) Alabama voters:
Moore, Alabama’s Senate Republican nominee, has been bleeding support from some conservatives in the weeks since the allegations of past sexual misconduct have surfaced.
But the candidate’s famously loyal supporters – who have long supported the Christian conservative in statewide races for chief justice, governor and senator for two decades – aren’t leaving him.
“I think whoever put this thing together is trying to take him out, and we just don’t believe it down here,” said Williams, who lives in Pike Road.
. . . . In interviews, Moore’s supporters say they’re sticking with him because of what the election means for passing President’s Trump legislative agenda.
“I am a policy voter,” said 68-year-old Ann Eubanks of Birmingham, who leads a tea party group. “And I refuse to send a far-left liberal Democrat to Congress. There’s too much at stake in this country at this point with the balance of the Senate at critical mass.”
Eubanks cited future nominations to the Supreme Court, repealing ObamaCare, building the wall and immigration proposals as issues the president will need every vote he can muster in the Senate.
“It’s way bigger than Roy Moore,” Eubanks said. “It is the direction of our country.”
A group of anti-Trump republicans apparently feel that the Senate would be better served by a Democrat and have reportedly sunk half a million dollars in anti-Moore ads in Alabama.
Stand Up Republic, a 501(c)4 group co-founded by former independent anti-Trump presidential candidate Evan McMullin, is spending $500,000 on digital and TV ads that ask Alabama conservatives to reject Republican nominee Roy Moore’s Senate bid.
In two 30-second spots, the group presents Moore as an unacceptable choice for conservatives — but does not suggest a particular alternative. In one ad, a Republican voter named Robert du Buys works in his yard, recounts his lifetime of party-line voting, and says Moore “makes Republicans and us Christians look bad.”
Yes, that’s the same McMullin who asserts that everyone who is pro-Trump or not vehemently anti-Trump is a racist.
One of the things that Democrats and Republicans agree on is that for Jones to win Tuesday, he needs black voters to turn out . . . and vote for him.
African-Americans make up about 27 percent of the state’s population, and Jones will need them to turn out in droves on Tuesday, since he’s expected to win just a third of whites, at best. Only 15 percent of white Alabamians voted for Barack Obama in 2012, according to exit polls, which were not conducted in the state last year.
No one thinks many African-Americans will support Moore, but there are real doubts about whether they’ll vote at all.
“That’s the $64,000 question,” said Danny Ransom, the vice chair of the Civil Rights Activist Committee, sitting in the group’s storefront office. “There doesn’t appear to be a lot of enthusiasm.”
A flight of high-profile black Democrats will fan out across African-American parts of the state Sunday in a last-minute push to raise awareness of the election, a Jones campaign official confirmed to NBC News.
The surrogates include Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who led the “Bloody Sunday” march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma 52 years ago. The airlift is being organized by Rep. Terri Sewell, the only Democrat in Alabama’s congressional delegation, who is also black.
In an bizarre move apparently geared toward turning out black voters, the Jones campaign sent out fliers that are being described as “racist,” “race-baiting,” and “racially-charged.” The fliers were sent only to Alabama’s black voters.
Campaign flyer in Selma, Alabama today sent by Doug Jones for Senate Committee pic.twitter.com/hUP94E3EM1
— bronwyn sage (@johnsonkymm) December 6, 2017
A racially charged campaign flyer sent to black residents in Alabama’s Senate race is provoking a social media backlash for Democratic nominee Doug Jones, who is scrambling to mobilize black voters against Republican Roy Moore ahead of Tuesday’s election.
. . . . Michael Harriot, a writer for TheRoot.com, an African-American culture website, wrote that “it has upset black voters across Alabama.”
“Someone, probably a white man, thought that the image would resonate with black people and motivate them to get out the vote,” he said.
One Twitter user who apparently received the mailer wrote: “I just got this in the mail. This is *NOT* how do outreach to Black voters! I don’t know who thought this was going to help, but this campaign has engaged Black voters despicably.”
. . . . Huntsville television station WHNT reported that the Jones campaign confirmed they sent the flyers.
Conservative commentator Anthony Brian Logan shares his reaction on his YouTube channel. Included in the following video is a local news segment (WKRG out of Mobile); in the segment, one interviewee said that he’d intended to vote for Jones prior to receiving this flier . . . now he’s planning to stay home.
In a statement that may come back to haunt him, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says that it’s up to Alabama voters to decide.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s going to leave it up to the voters of Alabama next week to decide whether Alabama GOP candidate Roy Moore should serve in the Senate.
McConnell was initially among several national Republicans to urge Moore to drop out of the race after multiple women accused Moore of inappropriate sexual conduct decades ago, when they were as young as 14.
McConnell is now taking a slightly different position.
The Kentucky Republican tells The Associated Press that the “people of Alabama” should decide.
The people of Alabama should decide, and they will do so on Tuesday. McConnell will have to live with that decision should Moore win. Any attempt to remove Moore would undermine the will of the people of Alabama, the very people McConnell’s rightly acknowledged should make the decision about whom they want in the Senate.DONATE
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