By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The special general election is now 60 days away, and Republican former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore appears to have a solid eight point lead over Democrat Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones. Moore is leading in the poll by eight percentage points.
This poll was performed jointly by Montgomery-based Cygnal and L2, a national nonpartisan voter data and analytics provider.
“This race between Moore and Jones looks a lot like the Moore-Strange competition of the past few months. At this point, the data shows the result will be the same for Judge Moore come December,” Cygnal President Brent Buchanan said.
Much like Strange, Jones is strongest in the greater Birmingham area than he is in the rest of Alabama.
“The US Senate race is going to be won or lost in the Birmingham media market area. Roy Moore dominates in the other 60 percent of the state, so the Birmingham region becomes make or break for Doug Jones,” vice president of research and analytics at L2, Matt Hubbard, said.
Jones has a narrow 46 to 45 percent lead over Moore in the Birmingham media market, which is 41 percent of the vote. In Huntsville, Moore leads 52 to 39 percent. In Montgomery, Moore leads 50 to 39 percent. In Mobile, Moore leads 57 percent to just 36 percent for Jones.
The poll also found that voters likely to turn out for the December 12 special election are highly motivated to vote. More than 90 percent of the respondents said they were “definitely likely” to show up on election day. This is five to seven percent higher than the surveys in the primary and runoff. In a special election, getting your voters to turn out is the decisive factor. According to the Cygnal/L2 poll, Moore leads Jones by 14 points among voters with the highest propensity to turn out, based on their past voting behavior. A Jones victory depends on luring moderate Republicans to vote for Jones. At this point, 14 percent of Republicans say they are voting for Jones; that is almost balanced out, however, by the eight percent of Democrats who say they are voting for Moore.
In another ominous sign for Jones, 87.4 percent of whites answered that they were definitely voting, while only 79.4 percent of blacks in the poll are definitely voting. Blacks are a minority in Alabama, but they are the core Democratic Party voters. To have any hope of being viable in this race, Jones needs a strong turnout by black voters. One politico told The Alabama Political Reporter that it will be difficult to motivate black voters to turn out in a race where one old, white male lawyer is pitted against another old, white male lawyer.
Responders to this poll have a very favorable view of Roy Moore, who remains very personally popular across Alabama. Moore, who has had to endure a relentless barrage of negative campaign ads by the forces supporting his Republican rival, Luther Strange, still has a 52.9 overall favorability rating; while Jones only has a 42.7 percent overall favorability. That is almost a 10 point advantage for Judge Moore. 35 percent have a very favorable view of Moore, while 31 percent have a very favorable view of Jones. 65 percent view Gov. Kay Ivey favorably, while 57.8 percent view President Donald J. Trump (R).
Jones leads Moore by five percent among voters 18 to 49 years old – 27 percent of the projected turnout – while Moore has a commanding lead of 12 percent with voters over the age of 50. Males support Moore 53 percent to 38 percent for Jones. Female voters barely break for Jones 46 percent to 45 percent for Moore. Roy Moore has a commanding lead over Jones among married voters by 25 points, 57 percent to 32 percent, suggesting that Moore’s dogged defense of traditional marriage over the last several years may be helping him in the race.
“Judge Roy Moore’s ‘manifest destiny’ to fill Alabama’s vacant US Senate seat hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in the general election environment. Fueled by strong combination of support from fans of his alma mater and the low name ID of his opponent, Moore is out to an early 8pt lead. Despite Moore’s seeming grip on the Senate seat, Jones’ 41 percent support in a ‘crimson’ red state shows signs of life for the Democrat’s campaign – or at least reflects the polarizing nature of his opponent. As with every survey, final results will determined by turnout. The results of this survey indicate that a lower turnout bodes well for Moore. While we expect this race to heat up significantly moving into November, any scenario short of a Kick-6 turnaround will have Moore on the victor’s stage in December,” the authors of the poll wrote.
This telephone survey was conducted Oct. 2 – 5, 2017, with participation by 497 general special election voters. It has a margin of error of ±4.4 percent. Interviews were conducted using IVR technology to landlines and live operators to cell phones.
This poll reflects the finding of another poll done separately by JMS Analytics, which also showed Moore with an eight point lead over Jones.
Voters will decide this in the special election on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.