Roy Moore Was Hurt By Abuse Allegations, But He’s Still Ahead By 4 Points
Following sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore, the Republican maintains a 44–40 lead over Democrat Doug Jones, based on a new poll of 1,855 Alabama voters conducted by Change Research.
But the Alabama Senate race is fluid with a month to go before election day, as a significant number of undecided voters and a large percentage of Republicans struggle with their decision about whether to support Moore or his opponent, write in a candidate, or skip voting entirely.
The poll, which was conducted in the 48 hours following the Washington Post’s reporting, found that Moore’s most die-hard supporters are mostly sticking with him: of those who say they voted for the Judge in September’s primary, 90% plan to vote for him again next month — only slightly lower than the percentage of Democrats planning to vote for Jones. And in fact, 85% of those who supported Moore in the primary believe that the allegations are false — compared with 3% of Democrats and 39% of those who pulled the lever for other candidates in the Republican primary.
But Moore has a big problem among Republicans who did not support him in the primary. Many of them already opposed Moore before the allegations — and many more are fleeing the Republican candidate since they surfaced. 11% of self-identified Luther Strange primary voters were definitely going to vote for Moore before the allegations surfaced, but are now undecided.* Another 5% have flipped from definite Moore voters to definite Moore opponents. And 5% have gone from undecided to firm opponents.
*Our research shows that poll respondents tend to overstate their support for primary winners; our numbers on primary votes are based only on respondents’ answers about the candidate they supported.
That means 21% of Strange supporters have stepped away from Moore in the last 48 hours. Among those who supported Brooks or a different candidate in the Republican primary, 12% are less likely to vote for Moore.
And these numbers are not Moore’s only problem with Republicans: 25% of Strange voters, and 34% of those who supported a different Republican, were never going to vote for Moore, even absent the allegations. Adding up the existing never-Moores and those who’ve been swayed by the allegations, we see that 23% of Strange voters plan to support the Democrat in December, and another 15% plan to cast a write-in vote. Among supporters of Brooks or other primary candidates, fewer than half plan to vote for Moore; 30% support Jones and 19% will write someone in.
Non-Moore Republicans have a greater revulsion to Moore than to Jones: 32% of Strange voters and 38% of other Republicans view Moore very unfavorably, while only 28% and 35% view Jones very unfavorably.
Moore has maintained his lead in the face of widespread desertion from his own party simply because his party is so dominant in the state — Donald Trump won Alabama by 28% in 2016. But he has very little ground left to lose, and with so many wavering Republicans, the election hangs on which way those voters swing over the coming weeks — and how many decide to simply stay home on election day.
As of right now, many seem likely to stay home. 96% of Democrats, and 96% of those who voted for Moore in the primary, definitely plan to vote. But only 89% of Strange voters, and 88% of those who supported a different Republican, say they’ll do the same. A drop in the latter numbers could spell defeat for Moore.
Should Moore remain on the ballot? It depends how you ask the question.
Half of respondents were asked “In the wake of the allegations, which do you think should happen?” 37% said Moore should withdraw from the race, 48% said he should stay in, and 15% were unsure.
The other half saw a different question: “If the allegations are true, which do you think should happen?” the results were starkly different: 64% of these voters thought he should drop out, only 17% thought he should stay in, and 18% were unsure.
This difference largely reflects Moore supporters’ belief that the allegations are false. But it suggests that they might feel differently about Moore’s candidacy if they come to believe that the allegations are true.
Elsewhere, Alabamians are split on their feelings about Donald Trump and his agenda. While 57% of voters give the President a positive rating, 31% rate him a 1 out 10. Of those who have an opinion about the Republican tax plan, more than half believe it will help the rich more than the middle class. Just over half believe that a border wall should be built.
Polling was conducted November 9–11, using Change Research’s patent pending Bias Correct technology. The sample consisted of 1,855 registered Alabama voters (self-reported). Post stratification was done on age, gender, ethnicity, education, and self-reported 2016 Presidential vote, with additional weighting based on predicted likelihood of voting in this election.