According to an Emerson College poll released late Sunday, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is maintaining a double-digit lead over Democratic opponent Doug Jones.
Moore is shown with the lead despite a report from The Washington Post last week that accused Moore of engaging in inappropriate conduct with four teenage girls decades ago.
The poll, conducted November 9-11, has Moore leading Jones by a 55 percent-to-45 percent margin, down from the 22-point lead Moore had in a poll Emerson conducted from September.
The poll also showed that only 28 percent of respondents were impacted by the Post’s report.
Emerson College professor Spencer Kimball, who supervised the poll, explained on the Emerson College poll podcast that accompanied the release of the poll that there was a partisan divide when came to the impact of the Post report.
“We got into the field on Thursday night,” he said. “These allegations came out Thursday morning or so, and gave them in the field until last night. So, we saw that about 28 percent of voters said this is going to make a difference for us. But of course, there is a partisan divide where it is really closer to about 20 percent of Moore voters are saying that this an issue for them. And the question will be will those people not go out to vote? As comparatively the Jones voters, 40 percent, 45 percent say this isn’t going to fly with us. Does that mean that they increase their base turnout? Because remember this is a special election and turnout is everything in these contests.”
Going forward, Kimball said it remained to be seen what the allegation from the Post would continue to impact the efforts of Moore or Jones in the campaign. He also noted that once undecideds were factored in, Moore hits 50 percent, which he said put Moore in a “good position” for the December 12 special election.
“Well, we still have Moore leading by about 10 points,” Kimball said. “There was a tightening of the race and think that tightening comes from some of these allegations and a natural tightening of the race that we were expecting to see since the primary. The question will be will these allegations increase the intensity of one side or the other, or will this be kind of a flash in the pan kind of issue. And we’ll see it in the next couple of weeks if Moore is able to maintain this 10-point lead.”
“This 10-point lead is important in that he is now at that 50 percent threshold,” he added. “When we add in the undecideds, he actually gets to 55 percent. And those in the political game understand that once you’re clear of the 50 percent threshold, you’re usually in a good position for re-elect. So, Moore is probably OK at this point. But we’ll go back in a couple of weeks just to see if there is any other movement.”