According to a Change Research poll published Monday, embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is back in the lead in Alabama, experiencing a dramatic 8-point swing from just ten days ago. When pollsters dug a little deeper on what was fueling the reversal, they found more Republicans determined to vote for the special election and less willing to believe the "garbage" allegations against the candidate.
In a survey of 1,868 registered Alabama voters conducted November 26–27, which weights the results according to likelihood to vote, Change Research found that Moore has not only wiped out his former deficit to Democrat Doug Jones, but now leads by 5 points, 49–44. That constitutes an 8-point swing from ten days ago, when Jones led by 3% a little over a week after The Washington Post published allegations from four women alleging that Moore pursued them sexually or romantically when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.
"Moore’s lead is now just as large as it was just after the story broke," the pollsters note.
The positive movement for Moore is in part driven by a 6% increase in the number of Trump voters who now say they will "definitely" vote in the special election (88%, up from 82%). The group the pollsters describe as Moore's "base" are also a bit more committed to voting for him now, up 2% (to 93-4 from 91-5), while 3% fewer say they plan to write-in a candidate (7%, down from 10%).
The other notable change from ten days ago is the percentage of voters who simply do not believe reports about Moore's alleged behavior in the late '70s and early '80s, including 63% of Trump voters (up from 51%). Almost all of those who disbelieve the allegations (97%) say the accusations are "garbage, and nothing would make them believe they are true."
Compared to ten days ago, fewer Republicans believe the allegations against Moore. While all voters believed the allegations by a 46–30 margin ten days ago, they now believe them by only 42–38. Among Trump voters, the split was 16–51 (believe-don’t believe) in the middle of the month, and it’s 9–63 now. However, Hillary Clinton voters’ belief of the allegations has remained constant: 91% believe them and 1% disbelieve them. ...
As was true in our previous polling, those who think the allegations are false say that very little could make them change their minds. 2% said they might believe them if more accusers come out; 1% would believe them if the President says that he does. 97% say the accusations are garbage, and nothing would make them believe they are true.
After The Washington Post published the first bombshell report on Moore's alleged actions, a few more allegations have come to light. Among the most serious of the claims is that by Leigh Corfman, who says that when she was 14 years old, and Moore was 32 and district attorney of the town, he pursued her and initiated sexual contact. Another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, says Moore tried to force himself on her when she was 16 years old.
The White House has recently announced that President Trump will not be campaigning for Moore. After sending some mixed signals about his support or lack thereof for the candidate, Trump's current tactic appears to be to step back from the race and let Alabama voters decide who they believe deserves their vote.