Dueling polls: Moore up by nine -- and down by ten -- on eve of Alabamageddon

Roy Moore will win in a landslide! Unless … Doug Jones wins in a landslide! The final slate of polls for the special election show nothing much more than the difficulty in polling a special election in the middle of a scandal. Fox News shows the Democrat with a ten-point lead in the race as voters prepare for tomorrow’s election:

Democrat Doug Jones holds a 10-point lead over Republican Roy Moore among likely voters in deep red Alabama.

Greater party loyalty plus higher interest in the election among Democrats combined with more enthusiasm among Jones supporters gives him the advantage in the race to fill the U.S. senate seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

That’s according to a Fox News Poll of Alabama voters conducted Thursday through Sunday using traditional polling techniques, including a list-based probability sample with both landlines and cellphones.

Jones receives 50 percent to Moore’s 40 percent, with 1-in-10 undecided (8 percent) or supporting another candidate (2 percent) — which could make a difference Tuesday. That’s even truer with such an unconventional election with unconventional candidates.

This Fox poll follows a Washington Post survey from last week that put Jones up three points over Moore. Fox’s pollsters were a combination of Republican and Democratic firms, with the combination arguably providing more credibility to the results. However, those two media polls bookend RealClearPolitics’ aggregation over the last two weeks with the only two leads Jones has in that polling.

Other polling today shows Jones with a lead of as much as nine points, although that Emerson poll also has the smallest sample size of the group:

In the final Emerson College poll before the election, GOP candidate Roy Moore now leads the Democratic candidate Doug Jones 53% to 44%, a six point bump from last week’s Emerson poll. The poll suggests Moore has weathered the storm of alleged sexual misconduct; The survey has a sample size of 600 very likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points.

Since the Emerson Poll of Nov. 12, a few days after allegations of sexual misconduct, Moore’sleaddropped from 10 points, to 6 points Nov. 26, and to3 points last week on Dec. 3. A major event thatmight have contributed to Moore’s improved poll numbers is his endorsement by President Trump this past weekend. The President is more popular than either candidate with a 55%/40% favorable/unfavorable rating; Moore is at 45%/45% and Jones at 43%/45%.

The methodology may be an issue here too. Emerson uses “online panels and automated polls” to put together its sample, and only calls landlines for the latter. Fox’s poll includes cell phones and may be more representative of the overall electorate.   A WBRC/RNN poll from a week ago found Moore up by seven, but all 3200 respondents were called within a two-hour window on a single night, as well as having an R+26 advantage in the sample.

Local news has focused on the latestt Gravis poll as well as another from Republican shop Trafalgar showing Moore still in control:

Republican Roy Moore has widened his lead over Democrat Doug Jones, according to the most recent polls in the Alabama Senate race.

Two polls – the first by the Trafalgar Group and the second by Gravis – show Moore leading by as much as 5 points. The polls come just ahead of Tuesday’s election and weeks after allegations surfaced that Moore had sexual contact with several teenage girls in the 1970s. The allegations led to calls for Moore to exit the race though he denies the charges.

The Trafalgar Group poll shows 48 percent of respondents said they plan to vote for Moore with 3 percent saying they are “leaning” towards the GOP nominee. Forty-one percent said they plan to vote for Jones with 5 percent “leaning” that way. Slightly more than 3.3 percent said the plan to vote for someone else.

Trafalgar doesn’t disclose its methodology. Gravis uses the same methodology as Emerson, but on a sample twice Emerson’s size; they get a 49/45 result in favor of Moore, but makes no mention of whether cell phones were included in the IVR calls. However, it’s also worth noting that Gravis had Jones in the lead a week ago by five points using that same methodology.

The widespread results show the volatility in polling special elections, especially one as controversial as the Moore/Jones race. The Fox poll might have an advantage with its inclusion of cell phones and the use of live interviews, although with scandal being so prominent in this race, perhaps the live interviews might run across some reluctance to identify on the phone as a Moore supporter. The real question, though, is organization and turnout. The RNC’s jump back into the race might give Moore an edge in deep-red Alabama, whether he deserves it or not. For now, though, the polling is so murky that it’s impossible to see which man will get the landslide.