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Exit polling shows Alabamians divided politically on race

Trump was the overwhelming preference of white people in Alabama. Black people preferred Joe Biden as president by even a larger percentage.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Alabama Republicans won a resounding victory in the 2020 general election. Tommy Tuberville unseated Democratic incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh was re-elected to another four years as Public Service Commission president, Republicans held on to six congressional districts, and Donald Trump won the state resoundingly.

Alabama Democrats and Republicans obviously look at the world differently, and according to exit polling, they even look different. Trump was the overwhelming preference of white people in Alabama. Black people preferred Joe Biden as president by even a larger percentage.

Trump won the state of Alabama 62.3 percent to Biden’s 36.3 percent. Libertarian Jo Jorgenson won 0.2 percent of the vote.

Trump and Tuberville carried 54 Alabama counties while Biden and Jones carried just 13 counties. The Democratic counties were: Jefferson, Montgomery, Bullock, Greene, Macon, Dallas, Marion, Perry, Sumter, Wilcox, Lowndes, Russell, and Marengo.

The strongest county for Tuberville was Winston County, where he won 88.3 percent of the vote. The strongest county for Jones was Greene County, where Jones won 85 percent. Donald Trump won 90.5 percent of the vote in Winston and Biden won 81.5 percent of the vote in Greene.

In the exit polling, Trump received 72 percent support among white people and 10 percent among Black people. Biden got 27 percent support from white people and 90 percent support from Black people.

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The gender differences were relatively small in the exit poll with 59 percent of Alabama males in the sample preferring Trump, while 38 percent voted for Biden. At least 56 percent of the females in the sample voted for Trump, while 43 percent voted for Biden.

White men in the sample voted for Trump 71 percent to 26 percent for Biden. White women voted 77 percent for Trump and 22 percent for Biden. Black men preferred Biden 84 percent and Trump just 15 percent. And 94 percent of Black women in the exit polling voted for Biden. Just six percent voted for Trump.

Young people also preferred Biden. Among those voters 18 to 29, 56 percent voted for Biden while just 39 percent voted for Trump. Trump won among voters age 30 to 44 with 53 percent voting for Trump and 43 percent going to Biden. Voters age 45 to 62 preferred Trump 58 to 40 percent. And 75 percent of voters age 63 and over voted for Trump. Only 26 percent voted for Biden.

Trump did best with Alabama voters who never attended college, winning 71 percent. Joe Biden won 21 percent. Those who answered that they attended college but received no degree preferred Trump 56 percent to Biden 43 percent. Those who earned an associate’s degree (AA or AS) voted for Trump 65 percent to 33 percent for Biden. Those who have just a bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) voted for Trump 51 percent to Biden 44 percent. Those that had an advanced degree after a bachelor’s degree — such as JD, MA, MBA, MD or PhD — voted for Biden 56 percent to Trump 42 percent.

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Race however was a much more important factor than education alone.

White college graduates voted for Trump 59 percent to 37 percent for Biden, and 83 percent of white non-college graduates sampled voted for Trump. Biden got just 15 percent from this demographic. Some 86 percent of non-white college graduates voted for Biden. Just 12 percent voted for Trump. Some 82 percent of non-white, non-college graduates voted for Biden, and 18 percent voted for Trump.

Many Democratic politicians attempt to appeal to lower income voters. Both Jones and 2018 gubernatorial Democratic nominee Walt Maddox promised Medicaid expansion if elected with little voter response. According to this polling, Alabamians do not change their voting based on income or social class.

Some 60 percent of those with household incomes under $50,000 voted for Trump. Just 39 percent voted for Joe Biden. Middle class Alabamians — those with household incomes of $50,000 to $99,999 — voted for Trump 59 percent versus Biden with 39 percent. Among high income Alabamians — those making $100,000 or more — voted for Trump 62 percent and 36 percent for Biden.

The participants in the sample were asked, on most political matters, do you consider yourself liberal, moderate or conservative? Some 48 percent answered that they were conservatives. Trump won 90 percent of these to Biden 10 percent. Some 37 percent answered that they were moderates. Biden won 59 percent among the self-professed moderates, while Trump got 39 percent. Only 15 percent consider themselves to be liberals, and 92 percent of those who consider themselves to be liberal voted for Biden. Six percent of the Alabama “liberals” voted for Trump.

Roughly 50 percent of the Alabamians in the sample identified as Republicans, and 28 percent answered that they are Democrats. Just 22 percent identified as independents or something else. Trump won 97 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of the independents and 5 percent of Democrats. At least 95 percent of the Democrats voted for Biden as well as 51 of the independents and 3 percent of the Republicans.

The participants were asked which of five issues mattered most in deciding how they voted for president: racial inequality, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, crime and safety, and healthcare policy.

The most popular response was the economy: 91 percent of those voted for Trump and 9 percent for Biden. Of the 19 percent who answered racial inequality, 91 percent voted for Biden. Six percent voted for Trump. Crime and safety was the third most popular answer drawing a 15 percent response. The coronavirus pandemic was the main concern for just 8 percent. The lowest response was for healthcare policy with 7 percent.

The sample was asked which of four candidate qualities mattered most in deciding how they voted for president: can unite the country, is a strong leader, cares about people like me or has good judgement.

Some 39 percent chose “is a strong leader,” and 86 percent of those respondents voted for Trump and 13 percent voted for Biden. Twenty-three percent answered “cares about people like me,” and 63 percent of those voted for Trump and 36 percent voted for Biden. Twenty percent answered “can unite the country,” and 78 percent of those voted for Biden and 20 percent voted for Trump. Only 15 answered “has good judgement.”

The voters were asked who would better handle the coronavirus pandemic, and 42 percent answered Biden, and 94 percent of those respondents were Biden voters. Two percent voted for Trump. Some 54 percent of respondents answered Trump, and none of those respondents voted for Biden.

The Alabamians in the exit polls were asked whether it was more important to contain the coronavirus now, even if it hurts the economy, or to rebuild the economy now even if it hurts efforts to contain the coronavirus. Forty percent of the respondents answered containing the coronavirus now even if it hurts the economy, and 81 percent of those respondents voted for Biden and 17 percent were Trump voters. Some 55 percent answered rebuilding the economy now, even if it hurts efforts to contain the coronavirus, and 86 percent of these voted for Trump and just 13 percent voted for Biden.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Health

Alabama hospitals nearing COVID-19 summer surge levels

Wednesday was the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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UAB Chief of Hospital Medicine Dr. Kierstin Kennedy.

Alabama hospitals reported caring for 1,483 people infected with COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest number of patients since Aug. 11, when the state was enduring its summer surge. Wednesday was also the 18th straight day with more than 1,000 people in hospitals in Alabama with COVID-19. 

The seven-day average of hospitalizations was 1,370 on Wednesday, the 36th straight day of that average rising. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 2,453 new cases Wednesday. The 14-day average of new cases was — for the eighth day in a row — at a record high of 2,192. 

Across the country, more than 80,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday, a record high and the 15th straight day of record hospitalizations nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project, a coronavirus tracking website.

The CDC this week recommended people not travel for Thanksgiving to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

“The only way for us to successfully get through this pandemic is if we work together,” said Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB’s chief of hospital medicine, in a message Tuesday. “There’s no one subset of the community that’s going to be able to carry the weight of this pandemic and so we all have to take part in wearing our masks, keeping our distance, making sure that we’re washing our hands.” 

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Kennedy said the best way she can describe the current situation is “Russian Roulette.” 

“Not only in the form of, maybe you get it and you don’t get sick or maybe you get it and you end up in the ICU,” Kennedy said, “but if you do end up sick, are you going to get to the hospital at a time when we’ve got capacity, and we’ve got enough people to take care of you? And that is a scary thought.” 

The Alabama Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported an increase of 60 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. Deaths take time to confirm and the date a death is reported does not necessarily reflect the date on which the individual died. At least 23 of those deaths occurred in November, and 30 occurred in other months. Seven were undated. Data for the last two to three weeks are incomplete.

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As of Wednesday, at least 3,532 Alabamians have died of COVID-19, according to the Department of Public Health. During November, at least 195 people have died in Alabama from COVID-19. But ADPH is sure to add more to the month’s tally in the weeks to come as data becomes more complete.

ADPH on Wednesday announced a change that nearly doubled the department’s estimate of people who have recovered from COVID-19, bringing that figure up to 161,946. That change also alters APR’s estimates of how many cases are considered active.

ADPH’s Infectious Disease and Outbreak team “updated some parameters” in the department’s Alabama NEDSS Base Surveillance System, which resulted in the increase, the department said.

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Corruption

Judge reduces former Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence

The trial court judge ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months.

Eddie Burkhalter

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Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was booked into jail to begin serving his four-year sentence for ethics violations in September. (VIA LEE COUNTY DETENTION CENTER)

Lee County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker on Wednesday reduced former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s prison sentence from four years to just more than two. 

Walker in his order filed Wednesday noted that Hubbard was sentenced to fours years on Aug. 9, 2016, after being convicted of 12 felony ethics charges for misusing his office for personal gain, but that on Aug. 27, 2018, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals reversed convictions on five of those counts. The Alabama Supreme Court later struck down another count.

Hubbard’s attorneys on Sept. 18 filed a motion to revise his sentence, to which the state objected, according to court records, arguing that “Hubbard’s refusal to admit any guilt or express any remorse makes him wholly unfit to receive any leniency.”   

Walker in his order cited state code and wrote that the power of the courts to grant probation “is a matter of grace and lies entirely within the sound discretion of the trial court.” 

“Furthermore, the Court must consider the nature of the Defendant’s crimes. Acts of public corruption harm not just those directly involved, but harm society as a whole,” Walker wrote.

Walker ruled that because six of Hubbard’s original felony counts were later reversed, his entrance should be changed to reflect that, and ordered his 48-month sentence reduced to 28 months. 

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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday said Walker’s decision to reduce Hubbard’s sentence was the wrong message to send.

“Mr. Hubbard was convicted of the intentional violation of Alabama’s ethics laws, the same laws he championed in the legislature only later to brazenly disregard for his personal enrichment,” Marshall said in a statement. “Even as he sits in state prison as a six-time felon, Mike Hubbard continues to deny any guilt or offer any remorse for his actions in violation of the law.  Reducing his original four-year sentence sends precisely the wrong message to would-be violators of Alabama’s ethics laws.”

Hubbard was booked into the Lee County Jail on Sept. 11, more than four years after his conviction. On Nov. 5 he was taken into custody by the Department of Corrections.

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News

Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19, has “mild symptoms”

It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.

Eddie Burkhalter

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University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Iron Bowl and has mild symptoms, according to a statement from the university on Wednesday. 

“This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allan, associate athletic director, in the statement. “He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.” 

Saban had previously tested positive before Alabama’s game against Georgia but was asymptomatic and subsequently tested negative three times, a sign that the positive test could have been a false positive. He returned to coach that game. 

It’s unlikely Saban will be able to coach in person during Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn, given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for quarantining after testing positive and with symptoms. Neither Saban nor the university had spoken about that possibility as of Wednesday morning.

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National

Civil rights leader Bruce Boynton dies at 83

The Dallas County Courthouse Annex will be renamed in honor of Boynton and fellow Civil Rights Movement leader J.L. Chestnut.

Brandon Moseley

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Selma attorney and Civil Rights Movement leader Bruce Carver Boynton

Selma attorney and Civil Rights Movement leader Bruce Carver Boynton died from cancer in a Montgomery hospital on Monday. He was 83. The Dallas County Courthouse Annex will be renamed in honor of Boynton and fellow Civil Rights Movement leader J.L. Chestnut.

“We’ve lost a giant of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama. “Son of Amelia Boynton Robinson, Bruce Boynton was a Selma native whose refusal to leave a “whites-only” section of a bus station restaurant led to the landmark SCOTUS decision in Boynton v. Virginia overturning racial segregation in public transportation, sparking the Freedom Rides and end of Jim Crow. Let us be inspired by his commitment to keep striving and working toward a more perfect union.”

Boynton attended Howard University Law School in Washington D.C. He was arrested in Richmond, Virginia, in his senior year of law school for refusing to leave a “whites-only” section of a bus station restaurant. That arrest and conviction would be appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where Boynton and civil rights advocates prevailed in the landmark case 1060 Boynton vs. Virginia.

Boynton’s case was handled by famed civil rights era attorney Thurgood Marshal, who would go on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The 1960 7-to-2 decision ruled that federal prohibitions barring segregation on interstate buses also applied to bus stations and other interstate travel facilities.

The decision inspired the “Freedom Rides” movement. Some Freedom Riders were attacked when they came to Alabama.

While Boynton received a high score on the Alabama Bar exam, the Alabama Bar prevented him from working in the state for years due to that 1958 trespassing conviction. Undeterred, Boynton worked in Tennessee during the years, bringing school desegregation lawsuits.

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Sherrilyn Ifill with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said on social media: “NAACP LDF represented Bruce Boynton, who was an unplanned Freedom Rider (he simply wanted to buy a sandwich in a Va bus station stop & when denied was willing to sue & his case went to the SCOTUS) and later Bruce’s mother Amelia Boynton (in Selma after Bloody Sunday).”

His mother, Amelia Boynton, was an early organizer of the voting rights movement. During the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965, she was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She later co-founded the National Voting Rights Museum and annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma. His father S.W. Boynton was also active in the Civil Rights Movement.

Bruce Boynton worked for several years at a Washington D.C. law firm but spent most of his long, illustrious legal career in Selma, Alabama, with a focus on civil rights cases. He was the first Black special prosecutor in Alabama history and at one point he represented Stokely Carmichael.

This year has seen the passing of a number of prominent Civil Rights Movement leaders, including Troy native Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

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