The Republican Senate candidate in Alabama continues to be bogged down with allegations of harassment against teenage women. Earlier this week, Beverly Young Nelson showed reporters a yearbook that she said Moore signed in 1977 when he visited the restaurant where she worked. The message said “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say, “Merry Christmas” Love, Roy Moore DA, 12-22-77, Olde Hickory House,”.
Beverly Young Nelson said Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore wrote a message in her yearbook in December 1977 that said, "To a sweeter more beautiful girl, I could not say, 'Merry Christmas.'"
— CNN (@CNN) November 13, 2017
Moore’s lawyer has denied these allegations and has demanded that Nelson hand over the yearbook so that a “handwriting expert” can analyze the message and verify it. Many of Roy Moore’s supporters in Alabama have downplayed or outright dismissed the allegations mentioned in the WaPo report, and Moore has denied the allegations on Twitter. However, the three biggest newspapers in Alabama have urged voters to reject Roy Moore.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) November 19, 2017
The Alabama Media Group has endorsed Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent, and called Moore “grossly unfit” for office. Headlines in other Alabama papers also reflected the contentious campaign.
Our earlier poll in Alabama, conducted immediately after the WaPo allegations showed a significant number (10%) of Republican voters withdrawing their support for their candidate. Our new poll shows Roy Moore Campaign has continued on this downward trajectory, with more supporters abandoning him after the new allegations.
CB Polling conducted an online Google Consumer Survey of Alabama residents from November 16th-19th. Among those surveyed, 648 declared their intention to vote , 49.72% of respondents indicated they would vote for Doug Jones (D), while 50.28% indicated that would vote for Roy Moore (R). The margin of error is 3.8%.
Despite recent events, we believe that Moore is still the favorite to win, albeit narrowly. Even before the WaPo allegations, Moore had considerable baggage that other Republicans in the state didn’t. He twice served as Chief Justice of Alabama Supreme Court and was twice removed from the bench, first for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments statue he had commissioned and the second time for refusing to recognize gay marriages.
On the Other hand, Jones is very liberal by Alabama standards, especially on social issues like abortion. The Democratic Party has been very unpopular in deep red Alabama. Plenty of Republicans who dislike Moore might vote for him anyway if only to stop Democrats from having another vote in Senate. It is also possible that many Republicans might decide to stay at home, which could give Doug Jones the edge if Democrats can turnout their base in larger numbers than recent elections.
Polls conducted soon after allegations break can be volatile, as it takes at least few weeks to process and sort through the reaction to controversy. The Alabama Senate election will be held on Tuesday, December 12 and as in all special elections, turnout will decide the outcome.
Link to the accompanying press release here