Jones Holds 3-Point Lead In Alabama Following 7-Point Shift Since Sunday

Over the last week, as allegations of sexual misconduct by Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore have continued to surface, the race has flipped, with Moore’s 4-point lead shifting to a 46–43 edge for Democrat Doug Jones. Change Research, which polled 1,855 Alabama voters in the 48 hours following the first allegations, polled an additional 2,090 Alabamians November 15–16.

Other key findings:

  • 47% of all voters now believe the accusations and 30% do not. Last week, 31% believed them and 42% did not.
  • 70% of those who voted for Moore in the primary think the allegations are false, down from 85% last week.
  • Of those who think the allegations are false, 3% said they might believe them if more accusers come out; 1% would believe them if the President says that he does. 96% say the accusations are garbage, and nothing would make them believe they are true.
  • A majority of all voters (50.4%) say they would be embarrassed if Moore were their Senator. 21% would be proud, and 28% would be neither embarrassed nor proud.
  • 67% oppose moving the election date. This includes 72% of Democrats, but also 83% of Moore voters.

The movement since last week is most pronounced among more moderate Republicans who supported Senator Strange in the primary. Those voters favored Moore 60–25 last week, with 15% planning to write a candidate in. Now, they only support Moore by 49–26, with 26% planning a write-in vote.

Jones has also pulled some wavering Democrats back home: while 9% of those who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 were undecided last week, that number is down to 1% now, with 97% firmly in Jones’s camp.

Moore has lost 3% of those who supported him in the primary; 87% of them still plan to vote for him in December.

Complicating matters for Moore is the fact that large numbers of ordinarily reliable Republicans are coming to believe the allegations are true. Last week, just 18% of those who voted for Senator Strange in the primary believed the allegations, while 39% did not believe them and 43% were unsure. Now, 36% of Strange primary voters believe the allegations, 25% don’t, and 39% are unsure.

Among Moore’s staunch supporters, 70% disbelieve the allegations, down from 85% last week. Most of those Moore voters who’ve changed their minds are now merely unsure, but if they decide to stay home on election day, Moore’s troubles will only grow.

As the race has been thrown into chaos, there has been no small amount of speculation about Republicans’ options for salvaging what would, in normal circumstances, be an easily held seat. We asked voters about some of the potential work-arounds, and their responses suggest that Republicans have no good options.

Some, including Alabama’s senior Senator, Richard Shelby, have suggested that Moore should drop out of the race. While 65% of Democrats think he should drop out, only 39% of those who supported Strange in the primary agree. And among those who voted for Moore in September, 49% actually say that Shelby’s comments make them more likely to support their man in December.

Any attempt by the Senate to expel Moore, or by Governor Kay Ivey to delay December’s election so that a different candidate could be selected, would provoke similar rage from Moore’s base. 88% of his supporters believe he should not be expelled if elected; 37% of those who supported Strange in the primary feel the same way. And, presumably for different reasons, majorities of both Democrats and Moore voters, as well as a plurality of Strange voters, oppose moving election day.

Polling was conducted November 15–16, using Change Research’s patent pending Bias Correct technology. The sample consisted of 2,090 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.

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