Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Judge Moore in the Race in Alabama

Alabama Judge Roy Moore is in the first post Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, sex scandal election.

One week out (Dec. 12) and the special senate election in Alabama is a toss-up. The RealClearPolitics average has Roy Moore (R) ahead by 2 points, but two recent polls give Doug Jones (D) the lead.

Moore recovered from a November opinion deficit that developed after the November 9 Washington Post story that began a series of articles relating to various sexual encounters with young women (one was 14 at the time) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Democrat Doug Jones was ahead by 4 to 8 points in several post scandal polls. But Moore went back into the lead by November 20.

Moore won a four-person primary with 39 percent on August 15 and a run-off on September 26 over the incumbent Luther Strange by 10 points (55% to 45%). Republicans typically win the state. President Trump won by 28 points in 2016 and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose appointment set off the special election, won re-election in 2008 by 26 points and by even more in 2014 against a write-in.

Moore should win the race, and the closeness reflects fall-out from the sex scandal. Even the Washington Post poll showed Alabama voters who favored Jones said they would prefer a Republican representing the state over a Democrat by 50 percent to 44 percent. The issue that is keeping Jones in the race has voters closely divided. Thirty-five percent think Moore made the sexual advances, 37 percent are unsure and 28 percent believe he didn’t. Moore is fighting for his political survival by arguing the race is against the Washington Democratic establishment, claiming the charges are false and focusing on core conservative issues of abortion and gay rights.

If Republicans lose the Alabama Senate race, it will add more evidence 2018 could be a repeat of 2010 when Barack Obama and Democrats lost both Virginia and New Jersey governorships and then a special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s senate seat during the 2009 run-off. In January 2011, Nancy Pelosi handed the gavel over to John Boehner after losing 63 seats.

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