An ominous thought dawns. What if that outlandish, self-serving NRSC poll yesterday showing Doug Jones up 12 points was … more or less accurate?
This is literally the only news outlet in America that could have produced a terrible poll for Moore that would leave him unable to spin it as “fake news.” And darned if they didn’t do it.
But wait. Don’t panic just yet.
That 13 percent crossover vote for Jones among Republicans is a dagger if it pans out. Most of the party is sticking with Moore but there may be enough who are disgusted by the allegations against him to wreck his chances. Overall, when asked if Moore is a man of “strong moral character,” Alabamans split 41/46 with Republicans tepid at 65/19. Alabama women view Moore strongly unfavorably on balance, at 37/56. When likely voters are asked how probable it is that they’d vote for Luther Strange if he ran a write-in campaign alongside Moore, a whopping 40 percent of Republicans express some interest:
Moore’s wrecked, right? Well, hold on. His favorable rating in this poll among likely voters is a feeble 43/50. *Barack Obama’s* favorable rating is … 52/45. Trump’s is just 49/48. Show of hands: Who thinks Obama is more popular in Alabama than Roy Moore or Donald Trump? Another odd result has Luther Strange polling worse against Doug Jones than Moore does, trailing Jones 48/38 among likely voters compared to Moore’s 50/42 mark. I can believe that some stalwart Moore supporters would boycott an election if Strange were inserted as a last-minute replacement nominee, but if Moore’s alleged misbehavior with teenaged girls is scaring Republican voters away, Strange shouldn’t be doing worse than he is statewide. In any case, the question is academic; Strange isn’t going to be subbed in for Moore and he won’t mount a write-in campaign that will do nothing except ensure Jones’s victory by splitting the Republican vote.
So what’s going on here? How did Fox get numbers that show Barack Obama outpolling Trump in Alabama? Daily Kos, which should be cheering this result on, is suspicious of it as well. It could be that Fox’s pollsters are overestimating how blue the Alabama electorate will be on Election Day. Granted, Democrats there will be out in force to rebuke Moore and try to steal a seat, but Fox’s sample has it 48R/42D, just a six-point spread in a very red state. It’s quite possible that their likely-voter model is simply too blue. But don’t discount the results entirely: Their *registered voter* model is a more plausible 48R/39D, yet Jones leads Moore by an even wider margin there — 49/40. Either way, any poll that has the Democrat at or close to 50 percent is frightening for Republicans. Further revelations over the next few weeks are likely to make the race harder rather than easier for Moore, too. What’s going to happen between now and Election Day to shrink Jones’s advantage instead of extending it?
Below you’ll find Becky Gray, one of the accusers who spoke to the Washington Post for its story last night, telling ABC News that she got Moore banned from the Gadsden mall. A former manager of the mall says he has no memory of Moore being banned but he and Gray didn’t overlap entirely in their time there. He became manager in 1981 but she began working there in the mid-70s. It’s possible, I guess, that Moore was banned before the manager arrived, although in that case you’d assume that he would have been informed of it upon becoming manager. I don’t find the ban plausible, though. How likely is it that the mall’s owners would want to piss off the local assistant district attorney by telling him he’s not allowed on the premises? It’s possible that Moore was banned from the *store* where Gray worked. Either way, if you’re looking for further evidence that he was a creeper who made young girls uncomfortable (Gray herself was in her early 20s at the time), here you go. She calls him a “pervert” straight out.
Exit question: Is Trump still planning to campaign for Moore in Alabama, as he said he’d do before the runoff with Luther Strange? That looked unnecessary at the time. If this Fox News poll is anywhere near accurate, it’s very necessary now. If Trump stays home and Moore loses narrowly, his base won’t appreciate that.