New poll has Jones neck and neck with Moore in AL Senate race

Alabama is one of the most Republican states in the union.  Donald Trump coasted to victory in the state with 63% of the vote.

But the Senate race in Alabama may be an indication of how much trouble the GOP is in with voters – even with voters of their own party.  A new Fox News Poll shows Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones neck and neck with less than two months before the December 12 special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who resigned to become attorney general.

Republican Roy Moore, the anti-Republican establishment candidate, is tied at 42 percent apiece with Democrat Doug Jones in the U.S. Senate race in deep-red Alabama.

A Fox News Poll also finds that among just the 53 percent of Alabama registered voters who are extremely or very interested in the race, Jones has a one-point edge over Moore (46-45 percent).

The special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is December 12.

The competitiveness of the race is striking.  Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 points in 2016, yet the Steve Bannon-backed Moore defeated the president's favored candidate, incumbent Luther Strange, in the GOP primary.  

"This race exemplifies the difficulty the Republican Party has now," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. 

"There is an element of the party that has had it with the establishment, had it with politics as usual, had it with political correctness. The fissure within the party means divisive primaries, controversial candidates, and hard choices for GOP voters once the general election rolls around." 

Jones is helped by greater party loyalty, and hesitancy among Moore's own backers.  

The poll, released Tuesday, shows 42 percent of Moore's supporters have some reservations about their candidate.  For Jones, that number is 28 percent.  

Plus, 21 percent of those in the Jones camp say they're voting against Moore as opposed to for Jones.  That's three times the number of Moore supporters who say their vote is based on dislike of Jones (7 percent).  

Nearly half of those backing Jones (47 percent) and Moore (48 percent) say they "strongly" support their candidate.

The special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is December 12.

There are several factors at work here, not least of which is that this is a special election in an off-year.  Turnout will be way down for both candidates compared to a presidential election year.

More than that, almost 30% of Republicans see Moore as "out of step" with Alabama.  Party loyalty (41% of supporters) may override some of that number, but it's significant that only 77% of Republicans are supporting Moore compared to 81% of Democrats supporting Jones.

The fact that the race is close at this point is not surprising.  I would still expect Moore to pull away over the next two months and win comfortably.  But at the very least, these numbers should shake Alabama Republicans out of any sense of complacency and give the Moore campaign some urgency to improve its position.

Alabama is one of the most Republican states in the union.  Donald Trump coasted to victory in the state with 63% of the vote.

But the Senate race in Alabama may be an indication of how much trouble the GOP is in with voters – even with voters of their own party.  A new Fox News Poll shows Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones neck and neck with less than two months before the December 12 special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who resigned to become attorney general.

Republican Roy Moore, the anti-Republican establishment candidate, is tied at 42 percent apiece with Democrat Doug Jones in the U.S. Senate race in deep-red Alabama.

A Fox News Poll also finds that among just the 53 percent of Alabama registered voters who are extremely or very interested in the race, Jones has a one-point edge over Moore (46-45 percent).

The special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is December 12.

The competitiveness of the race is striking.  Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 points in 2016, yet the Steve Bannon-backed Moore defeated the president's favored candidate, incumbent Luther Strange, in the GOP primary.  

"This race exemplifies the difficulty the Republican Party has now," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. 

"There is an element of the party that has had it with the establishment, had it with politics as usual, had it with political correctness. The fissure within the party means divisive primaries, controversial candidates, and hard choices for GOP voters once the general election rolls around." 

Jones is helped by greater party loyalty, and hesitancy among Moore's own backers.  

The poll, released Tuesday, shows 42 percent of Moore's supporters have some reservations about their candidate.  For Jones, that number is 28 percent.  

Plus, 21 percent of those in the Jones camp say they're voting against Moore as opposed to for Jones.  That's three times the number of Moore supporters who say their vote is based on dislike of Jones (7 percent).  

Nearly half of those backing Jones (47 percent) and Moore (48 percent) say they "strongly" support their candidate.

The special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is December 12.

There are several factors at work here, not least of which is that this is a special election in an off-year.  Turnout will be way down for both candidates compared to a presidential election year.

More than that, almost 30% of Republicans see Moore as "out of step" with Alabama.  Party loyalty (41% of supporters) may override some of that number, but it's significant that only 77% of Republicans are supporting Moore compared to 81% of Democrats supporting Jones.

The fact that the race is close at this point is not surprising.  I would still expect Moore to pull away over the next two months and win comfortably.  But at the very least, these numbers should shake Alabama Republicans out of any sense of complacency and give the Moore campaign some urgency to improve its position.

RECENT VIDEOS