Is Roy Moore winning? Do not ask the interviewers –

Is Roy Moore winning? Do not ask the interviewers


Roy Moore seems to have backed off against Democrat Doug Jones in the latest election polls of the Alabama Senate, according to the frequently quoted RealClearPolitics average – a change in fortune since mid-November, when accusations of badual misconduct surfaced against Moore.

Reality? Nobody really has any idea how things are with the voters of Alabama in the December 12 special elections.

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Despite all the national attention and the millions of dollars spent to win the seat, there are relatively few public polls in the contest. Only three public polls have been conducted on average since the summer vacations. Thanksgiving, and you've probably never heard of two of the three pollsters.

And that is precisely the problem. The most important and closely watched election in the nation takes place in the equivalent of a black voting box. There are no established voting institutions in the state or dominant regional media to fill that gap. As it is not typically a politically competitive state, outside pollsters also do not have much experience in Alabama. Outside of Fox News and a new Washington Post poll published on Saturday, the national media or leading pollsters have not yet moved forward to examine the race.

In addition to that, the Alabama Senate race is special, outside the year elections are held just before Christmas – overlapping more elements of uncertainty and mystery.

"This is a state where no one has a real track record," said Patrick Murray, director of the Polling Institute at Monmouth University, "because who bothers." to poll the Alabama state races? "

You leave the field occupied by a number of little known polling companies, most of which use experimental or less accepted methodologies In general, those polls show some movement towards Moore in recent weeks, after the first news of women who said that Moore badaulted or pursued them when they were teenagers and the Republican was over 30.

The most recent survey, conducted by the Washington Post and George Mason University, showed Jones leading Moore, 50 percent to 47 percent, within the margin of error, according to the survey, only 3 percent of The voters support a candidate in writing or it is not decided.

Interestingly, due to the Courier's role in the race, the newspaper's editorial board issued an unusual and out-of-market approval of Jones in advance. in the campaign and later published the first accusations against Moore: the interviewers did not identify the sponsors of the survey until the end of the interview. Moore and his allies have attacked the Post for interfering in the campaign, with Moore's strategist Brett Doster calling the newspaper "a worthless shit that has gone off the railroad path Roy Moore."

But despite the Post poll, Moore remains narrow in the average, posting small clues in the other three surveys that currently comprise it. That includes a survey from JMC Analytics and Polling, a Louisiana-based consulting firm, which shows Moore as a leader, 49% to 44% among potential voters.

The JMC survey was conducted only by contacting voters on landlines, a controversial methodology at a time when almost half of Alabama's adults live in homes without a fixed line. Those who live in households with cell phones have a lower bias; an impressive 52 percent of the voters in the JMC survey are 65 or older. Less than half of the voters were older people in the Republican primary this summer, which would generally be older than the general electorate.

John Couvillon, the JMC pollster, said he was much more concerned about achieving proper racial balance in his survey: three-quarters of the respondents were white, while blacks accounted for 23 percent of the poll. .

"You are talking about a special election, during the free year, which is celebrated during the holiday season, you will have a disproportionately larger electorate," said Couvillon. "We can object to the percentage of voters who are older, but when we speak of a Deep South state, the most prominent factor is the black-white collapse."

The third post-Thanksgiving poll is from the Emerson College Polling Society, run by students. That survey included a segment surveyed online to account for voters without landlines and was weighted by age. The survey, which excludes undecided voters or those who could write to another candidate, shows Moore leading by 6 percentage points. That is closer than Emerson's previous poll, conducted shortly after the first accusations against Moore.

There were two other surveys not included in the RealClearPolitics average. One is a one-day online survey conducted by Change Research, which was founded this summer, showing Moore ahead by 5 points, statistically unchanged since the firm's latest survey, which led Moore to 4 points.

Meanwhile, a non-profit conservative, America First Policies, launched a poll last week that shows Moore and Jones on the same line, with the Republican ahead by a point. After the scandal broke for the first time, Jones was ahead by 8 points, the group said, although it did not publish the poll at that time. America First Policies is closely aligned with President Donald Trump and was founded by former advisors to the Trump presidential campaign.

There are five surveys last week, of which only three meet the requirements to be included in the RealClearPolitics average. Compare that with the last special Senate race held outside the usual election cycle that will be decided by just a one-digit margin: the 2010 Mbadachusetts special election. In that race, there were 11 surveys in the last week, although two were conducted by Research 2000, the company on which questions about the legitimacy of their data arose.

Limited surveys of lesser-known outlets highlight the difficulties in surveying the race. There is no playbook to vote for voters in a special election, in which historical patterns of participation are not always predictive, much less in these unique circumstances. That leaves pollsters – particularly those who seek to include those voters who will come out and exclude those who do not – most of the time guessing what they might look like.

"It's a special election, [and] there's a particularly unusual situation with one of the candidates that should be the favorite," said Murray.

Murray also noted that in Alabama, Republican voters uncomfortable with Moore can select a direct Republican ticket instead of ticking the box next to Moore's name, although the Senate race is the only contest on the ballot. That could generate more votes for him than respondents who are willing to admit they intend to vote him later this month.

For now, limited polls suggest that Moore may have regained some momentum after Jones emerged immediately after the scandal broke.

"After having canvbaded the general election twice and runoff [primary] twice, I can now appreciate the ups and downs that have taken place in this race," said Couvillon. "It can be argued that Republican voters who supported Trump now return home with Roy Moore."

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