Poll: Democrat Jones Within Striking Range Of Moore In Alabama Senate Race

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Fairhope, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/AP
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Democrats may have a real shot to pull off a shocking upset in Alabama’s Senate race, according to the first public poll released in the general election.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) leads former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D) by 50 percent to 45 percent in a poll released Friday by campaign handicapper Decision Desk HQ, a fairly tight race.

Individual poll results should always be taken with a grain of salt, and this poll conducted by Opinion Savvy Research was only in the field for two days, shorter than the three-day stretch many reputable pollsters insist on. The only other recent public surveys of the race, from Emerson, found Moore up by a wide margin in one and Jones within four points in another, so more polling will be helpful to get a clearer picture of whether or not the race is truly competitive.

But if the results are even close to accurate, that should be a siren for Democrats that they should step up for Jones against the divisive Moore — a prospect they’re already seriously considering.

The survey seems close to what’s expected in an Alabama race — President Trump has a 55 percent approval rating in the poll, with 43 percent disapproving, almost identical to the numbers Gallup has found, and the sample was 24 percent African American, roughly in line with normal elections in the state. It’s also notable that Moore is so controversial that he’s running behind Trump in the deep-red state.

More pollsters are undoubtedly in the field to see whether Moore’s nomination might have put deep-red Alabama in play for December, and a clearer picture of the race will likely emerge in the next week or so of whether Democrats will seriously contest the race. But this survey should give them some cautious optimism that the reason Moore won just 51 percent of the statewide vote in 2012 is his own inherent weaknesses, and that they might be able to capitalize on internal GOP divisions and have a outside shot at an upset that would rock the political world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron Joseph is Talking Points Memo's senior political correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covers Capitol Hill, the White House and the permanent campaign. Previous publications include the New York Daily News, Mashable, The Hill and National Journal. He grew up near Chicago and is an irrationally passionate Cubs fan.
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