Doug Jones increases in polls, popularityBy Adam Dodson | 11/16/2017 11:07pm
Alabama's Democratic senate candidate Doug Jones continues to rise in recent polls as Republican candidate Roy Moore has been forced to address multiple sexual conduct allegations involving young girls. These reports have grown over the past couple weeks, and have had a potentially significant effect over the attitudes of the voters. Alabama has not elected a Democratic senator in decades, but with the special election less than a month out, the race for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former senate seat is hotter than most residents envisioned.
A recent poll conducted by JMC Analytics actually has Jones with a slight lead with 46 percent of the vote compared to Moore’s 42 percent. The National Republican Senatorial Committee also released a poll this week, putting Jones at a much higher, 12 point margin. The Republican National Committee has cut off all support for Moore.
It is also predicted that the recent scandals surrounding Moore have increased voter turnout for December 12 by 6 points, with now 73 percent of people asked saying they plan to vote.
Moore has a very loyal voter base, who have stuck with him through two different stints in the state court system. The recent scandals regarding him, however, appear to be changing supporter’s minds. It seems that though most Alabamians vote red, they might be willing to make an exception for the Jones-Moore election. Jones has attempted to make the most of the situation, running campaign ads of long-time Republicans saying they “just can’t do it” when considering voting for Moore.
“The closeness of this race demonstrates the inspiration Doug Jones brings to a state in need of a positive representative and it demonstrates the moral depravity of Roy Moore,” said Mike Smith, executive director of UA College Democrats.
A win from Jones could significantly impact college students. Jones has emphasized a wish to change how Alabama conducts student loans.
Students voting will also be choosing between two former members of the Capstone, as both are alumni of The University of Alabama. Both attended for their undergraduate studies, but Jones studied law at Samford University, while Moore attended UA Law School.
Moore and Jones both found success in the legal field before entering the political realm. Moore as a federal judge, and Jones as an attorney who successfully prosecuted the KKK members responsible for the infamous Birmingham church bombings. Moore’s platform is in line with “pro-Trump” ideals, while Jones has promised to change Alabama’s approach to healthcare and abortion.
There are those who believe that Moore should not be allowed to run for office again and also those who believe that the allegations against Moore from decades ago should not matter with his effectiveness in political office today. Moore won the Republican nomination for the special election after fighting off Luther Strange, who was caught up in his own political scandal with former Governor Robert Bentley. Although many at the beginning of the race believed Strange would win, especially after President Trump’s endorsement in Huntsville, Moore was able to pull off the victory. While Moore will still win the more conservative counties in Alabama, the polls show that it is no guarantee he will recover from his opponent’s momentum like he did against Strange. Cities that are more divided may choose to lean more towards Jones.
“I think there are a lot of people in Alabama who have a problem with Roy Moore,” Tuscaloosa resident Austin Harris said. “People in Alabama are embarrassed that the politicians always seem to be in the news for the wrong reason.”
Moore’s fall in the minds of voters symbolizes a constituency that wishes to move on from continuous crippling scandals. Gerald Fraas, external affairs director of Young Americans for Freedom, said individuals’ personal desires and political beliefs get trumped by significant sexual allegations.
“The success of Roy Moore in the Alabama primary is a direct result of Alabama’s blatant embrace of Trump’s populism," Fraas said. "His rapid collapse in the polls is almost a direct result of populist voters realizing that rejecting the establishment is not worth putting an accused child molester into office."
Despite the number of allegations, Moore maintains that he is innocent of the accusations. In accordance with the RNC cutting off support for Moore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come out in public disapproval of him, recently proposing that Attorney General Sessions should be allowed as a write-in replacement.