A Republican-conducted poll shows Roy Moore losing to the Democrat in deep-red Alabama by 12 points.
The bombshell story that Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore pursued five teenage girls, sexually assaulted two, and preyed on countless others at the local mall and YMCA has sent shockwaves through the political world.
But numerous voices have wondered whether even this would be enough to affect a Senate race for the seat previously held by Jeff Sessions in a state as hard-right and conservatively inculcated as Alabama.
A new poll conducted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggests that it very much is.
The NRSC poll shows Moore down 12 points against Democratic candidate Doug Jones — a former U.S. attorney and civil rights hero who prosecuted Klansmen for the murder of four African-American girls in the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing.
This poll is not alone. Other polls have showed Jones either even with or leading Moore — but this is the first poll showing him ahead by double digits.
Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has now — with no small hint of amazement — changed this race’s rating to “Leans D”:
We can't believe we're doing this, but at least for now AL-SEN–that's ALABAMA–Leans D (Doug Jones). The GOP may find a way out of this mess, but the party–thanks to Roy Moore–is on the verge of blowing what was once a sure thing. More tomorrow in the Crystal Ball.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) November 15, 2017
The GOP is in a state of massive confusion and internal squabbling over what to do with Moore. Republican leadership has called on Moore to resign from the race, with various GOP lawmakers calling for a write-in campaign or his expulsion from the Senate if he wins.
But Breitbart chair and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, as well as a number of Republican officials in Alabama, are still sticking with him. Even Fox News host Sean Hannity, who hosted Moore on his radio show only last week and did his best to help provide cover for Moore, has called on him to drop out if he cannot refute the claims against him.
Moore has done the impossible. He is such a loathsome, reprehensible human being that he has made a statewide election in Alabama competitive for Democrats. This affair is yet more proof of how, in the Trump era, everything people know about politics has been upended — and maybe this time, it will be for the better.