Alabama Democrats have a shot at beating Roy Moore

A new poll has bad news for the right-wing Republican Senate candidate

By Matthew Rozsa

Published October 18, 2017 11:14AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Mark Wilson)
(Getty/Mark Wilson)

Judge Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, is neck-and-neck with his Democratic opponent, former United States Attorney Doug Jones.

Moore and Jones are tied at 42 percent among registered voters, according to a poll by Fox News published on Tuesday. Among the 53 percent of registered voters who said they were either extremely interested or very interested in the Senate race, Jones has a slight lead over Moore — 46 percent to 45 percent, to be exact.

The poll, which was jointly conducted by the Democratic firm Anderson Robbins Research and the Republican firm Shaw & Company Research, sheds light on potentially serious complications for Moore's run. When asked why they supported Jones, 32 percent of the registered voters said it was because Moore was extreme or dangerous. By contrast, only 2 percent of the respondents who supported Moore cited hostility toward Jones as their reason for doing so.

This reputation for extremism has hurt Moore in past elections, despite the fact that Alabama has a reputation for being a staunchly right-wing state. When Moore ran for state Supreme Court chief justice in 2012, he won by only 2 points, despite Mitt Romney winning the state's electoral votes in that year's presidential contest by 22 points.

Despite his political weaknesses, Moore was endorsed on Tuesday by two prominent Senate Republicans, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. Moore is running to replace Sen. Luther Strange in a seat that was previously held by Jeff Sessions, who vacated the position in order to become attorney general for President Donald Trump.

And, on Wednesday, the RNC announced that they, too, were behind Moore.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Alabama, we need your help. Go to <a href=""></a>, register to vote, and let&#39;s elect <a href="">@MooreSenate</a> to <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ALSen</a></p>&mdash; Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) <a href="">October 18, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Alabama Senate Race Doug Jones Roy Moore