This makes two polls of the state in five days that have Moore ahead of Democrat Doug Jones by less than 10 points. Decision Desk HQ’s survey published last Friday had the race Moore 50, Jones 44. Today’s new one from JMC Analytics has it Moore 48, Jones 40, well in line with the earlier poll. It’s Moore’s race to lose and losing would be hard in Alabama, but for the moment this is no walkover for the GOP. And that makes a tough call for Democrats even tougher: Do they spend money earmarked for other races on this longshot or do they stay out of Alabama and then wonder What Might Have Been if Jones loses narrowly?
JMC Analytics did a nifty job in calling the Moore/Strange Republican runoff, by the way. A week before the election they had Moore winning by eight. Actual result: Moore by 9.2 points.
I think the Moore/Jones result here is less interesting than the generic Republican/generic Democrat one:
A measly four-point Republican lead on the generic ballot — in Alabama? Good lord. You can blame part of that on Trump, who’s at 51/41 approval in a state he won last year by nearly 28 points. For all the hype about Moore being a comparatively weak candidate (and he sort of is, with only 50 percent of voters here saying he’s fit to be a senator), he’s outperforming a generic Republican in the Trump era. Which makes some sense: Given the share of voters in Alabama who are evangelical Christians, an evangelical as famous as Moore for his devotion may attract some voters who’d stay home for a less socially conservative nominee.
The most striking thing about last week’s DDHQ poll of the state was the share of black voters supporting Moore. Nearly 25 percent favored him over the Democrat Jones even though Jones is famous mainly for prosecuting the Klan members behind the infamous Birmingham church bombing in 1963. JMC’s racial data seems a bit more realistic:
A 72/7 split among black voters for Jones is more in line with expectations although a surprising 19 percent are undecided, which may confirm DDHQ’s finding that Moore is unusually strong for a Republican among blacks. If Jones ends up attracting most of that 19 percent and can improve a few points with white voters, Moore’s got a race on his hands. Still, don’t forget that Moore just survived an avalanche of attack ads on Alabama television paid for by Mitch McConnell’s cronies while Jones hasn’t sustained a hard shot yet. This may be Moore’s nadir in the polls.
One word of caution about JMC’s data, though. What’s up with this age sample?
That seems … completely implausible. There was no exit poll of Alabama last November to compare this to but the national exit poll was waaaaaay more balanced among different ages than this is. In the presidential election, 19 percent of voters were aged 18-29, 25 percent were 30-44, 40 percent were 45-64, and just 16 percent were 65 and over. In this poll a majority are senior citizens and just three percent are 34 or under. By comparison, here’s what DDHQ’s sample looked like:
Still seems to skew a bit heavy towards older voters but it’s closer to the national benchmark than JMC’s survey is. How JMC arrived at a sample like that, I don’t know.