Yet Another Alabama Poll: Doug Jones Ahead of Roy Moore by 5 Points (November 21, 2017)

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A Gravis Marketing poll conducted November 14-15 among registered voters shows Democratic Party nominee Doug Jones holding a 5-point advantage over Republican Party nominee Roy Moore in the December 12 Alabama special election for U.S. senator. In the poll, 47% of the voters say they will support Doug Jones, with 42% supporting Roy Moore and 11% undecided. This distribution is identical to the average of the 5 most recent polls for the Alabama Senate race (conducted between November 12 and November 16), indicating some stability in the race, at least for the moment (bearing in mind that even the most recent polling results are now 5 days old).

Here are some additional data points from the most recent Gravis Marketing poll:

  • Favorability Ratings. Roy Moore’s “favorability” ratings have diverged from Donald Trump’s favorability ratings in Alabama. In both cases, sentiment is highly polarized, however, with ratings bunching at the extremes. To account for this intensity, we can compare their favorability ratings by assigning 2 points for each “very favorable” or “very unfavorable” polling percentage point and 1 point for each “somewhat favorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” polling percentage point, and then subtract the unfavorability total from the favorability total. Using this method, Trump’s approval number is +5, while Moore’s is -23.  Doug Jones elicits less heat on both sides of the political spectrum, and returns an approval number of +1.
  • Partisan Divergence. The polling numbers Moore and Jones also diverge from partisan loyalties, a disparity one might speculate is not only a reflection of dismay about the prospect of a Senator Roy Moore, but also a reflection of shifting political dynamics in the state that may be more enduring. As one would predict, 48% of those polled identify as Republicans, 33% as Democrats, and 19% as Independent, the key data point here probably being that self-identified Republicans outnumber self-identified Democrats by a ratio of 60/40. The poll also included a question about how respondents are likely to vote in the 2018 House elections with 46% voting Republican, 40% voting Democrat, and 14% uncertain, a ratio favoring Republicans by 54/46.. By contrast, the ratio of Moore voters to Jones voters in this poll drops to 47/53, a shift away from partisan identification of 13 percentage points, and away from House election party preferences of 7 percentage points.
  • Impact of Sexual Allegations. The Gravis poll also asked questions about the sexual allegations against Roy Moore. Among those polled, 35% say they believe the accusations, 35% say they do not believe the accusations, and 30% area uncertain. When asked who was more likely telling the truth, 39% say the four women who first came forward, 35% say Roy Moore, and 26% remain uncertain. When asked if the Washington Post did the right thing by publishing the accusations, 43% said yes, 42% said no, and 15% were uncertain (it would be interesting to see how these numbers shift following the recent Post investigation of sexual harrassment charges against Charlie Rose). When asked if they trust Roy Moore, 40% of the respondents said yes, 44% said no, with 16% uncertain. The accusations lead 21% to say they are more likely to vote for Moore, with 27% saying they are less likely to vote for him, and 52% saying the allegations do not affect their decision to vote for him.
  • Other Random Demographic Facts. The poll seems to have overweighted the white/caucasian cohort, educational attainment, those who do not claim a religious affiliation, and  older residents of the state. Cross-cutting sampling impacts of these variances might be a wash. White, older overweighting might favor Roy Moore in the polling, while educational attainment and the absence of a religious affiliation might favor Doug Jones.