Three wildly divergent polls were released yesterday. Why are they wildly divergent? One of them, the new Monmouth poll, provides us the answer. A poll is based on a turnout model. A pollster has to make an assumption as to what the electorate will look like. What voters will turnout? This Monmouth poll provide three models based on different assumptions.
- A standard midterm turnout model gives Roy Moore (R) a slight advantage, 48% to 44%.
- A higher, although less likely, near-presidential election turnout would give Doug Jones (D) a slim lead, 48% to 45%.
- An adjusted midterm estimate based on patterns seen in last month’s Virginia gubernatorial race – i.e. relatively higher turnout in Democratic strongholds – puts Tuesday’s election up for grabs, 46% to 46%.
Said pollster Patrick Murray: “In a typical year, we would probably default to the historical model, which shows Moore ahead. It could still end up that way, but both 2016 and 2017 suggest that typical models may not apply. If we see a surge in Democratic turnout, especially in the Birmingham region, Jones has a chance.”
A new Fox News poll in Alabama finds Doug Jones (D) with a 10-point lead over Roy Moore (R) in the U.S. Senate special election, 50% to 40%.
Big caveat: “This race’s uniqueness is significant. It is impossible to know who will show up to vote in a special election to fill a seat in the middle of a term in an off-year. And it’s December, a time when people expect to be going to the shopping mall, not the voting booth.”
Also interesting: “A subtle but potentially noteworthy finding is Alabama voters who were interviewed on cellphones are +30 for Jones, while the race is roughly even among all others. The fact that traditional, high-quality probability samples, like the Fox News Poll, include both landline and cellphone numbers may be why these polls show Jones doing relatively well compared to automated or blended polls.”
A new Change Research poll in Alabama finds Roy Moore (R) leading Doug Jones (D) by six points in tomorrow’s U.S. Senate special election, 51% to 45%.
Translation the polls are borderline worthless and it is what it is. This is perhaps the most extraordinary race I remember and a special election at that, perhaps the Dems will beat their off year election curse of low turnout. Perhaps not. Like a great many Americans I’d love to see Moore defeated, but temper that with the knowledge of what Alabama is and what it remains.
I am going to hijack this post to praise Doug Jones for the campaign he ran. There is no way he should have been competitive, much less in striking distance of this thing. He ran a campaign that focused on the issues — health care, jobs, education and did not run away from his pro-choice stance or his stance for a livable wage. He ran as a fairly mainstream Dem in a place that people will tell us wants a more conservative policy message. Win or lose, Doug Jones modeled how you do it — stick to a message of doing the work to help people in key areas, don’t run away from your positions and work like hell. Jones had to overcome the fact that many typical D institutions are very weak in Alabama, and with luck those institutions will take this campaign as a way to re-energize themselves. Jones ran an honorable, genuinely Democratic campaign, with no scandal. In a place where the so-called smart people tell us we have to be more like Republicans.
Kudos to you, Mr. Jones. I hope you win and if not, I hope you stick around and revive the Alabama Democratic Party.
Most people who worry about Democratic losses in the Midwest aren’t calling for us to be more like Republicans. The actual criticism is that mainstream Democrats are too much like Republicans already, and need to be less so. When Democrats take funding from the same sources as Republicans, most of those Democrats become reluctant to take actions that might upset those sources (see almost any Delaware Democrat for an example). Running on a message of jobs is not acting like Republicans; they run on tax cuts. The closest they come to talking about actual jobs is blaming Mexicans for the scarcity of them.
That is not the stance of the DCCC, for instance, who have already been preparing the ground for anti-choice candidates. Mainly the critique about “smart people” is the Dem infrastructure who want it to be OK to adopt a Republican-lite stance in some places just to win.
that tactic kind of reminds me of 2006. a number of repub-lites dems won, but it effectively ended Bush’s presidency.
I could take another Coons if it meant a dem pickup in Tennessee and/or Arizona. What’s important now is flipping one chamber and making the GOP obstruction of Obama’s agenda look like child’s play.
Also, I agree with your assessment of his campaign. Sadly, the voter suppression tactics of the Alabama GOP makes a win less likely, and even if he wins, another Republican is sure to capture the seat in 2020.