Well, all ready for the big day tomorrow? Got plenty of Doritos, salsa and cold ones for your big election night party? Yeah, me too. I’ll be glued to MSNBC tomorrow night for every update. And while I’m hoping that tomorrow night will be every bit s satisfying as watching the returns from the Virginia elections, I’m also a realist. After all, this is Alabama fer God’s sake!
Politico reports that FOX new just released their last pre election poll on the Alabama race this morning. The poll was taken over several days last month. I tend to be naturally suspicious of FOX polls cuz of, like FOX and stuff. But considering the fact that recent FOX polls have shown Trump’s approval rating mired almost as far down in the mud as anybody elses, and has consistently shown the Alabama Senate race as being closer than some other polls, maybe they’re actually trying to be an honest broker here.
First, the good news. In the poll, they show Democrat Doug Jones Leading former Judge Tennygroper 50% to 40%. I find this poll significant for two reasons. First, just having Jones within single digit striking distance of Moore would be inspirational for Democrats in ruby red Alabama, much less holding any kind of a lead. A double digit lead? Fuggedaboudit! Second, in most media reporting, while Moore cratered in the first couple of weeks following the revelations of his “hands on” approach to the apparent scourge of teenage promiscuity in Alabama, his popularity seemed to rebound as time went on, and some polls even had him back in front by 6-10 points. But the FOX poll taken previous to this one only had Jones up by 8 points, 50% to 42%, at a time much closer to when the scandal broke. The fact that the FOX poll actually has Jones increasing his lead as time passed tends to buck the trend of reporting if it can be believed.
Now, for the warning. Alabama is a miserable place to try to poll. Alabama is so red that nobody bothers to poll it, and as a result, they don’t have a standard pool of “registered voters,” or “likely voters” to call to generate credible results. Hell, Alabama is so red that I doubt a candidate even has to have a pulse in order to get elected as long as he has an (R) behind his name. As long as they can prop his body up against a wall with a smile on his face for campaign posters, he’s in, everybody will think he just blinked when the picture was taken. The fact that any Democrat could be in the lead in a state like Alabama, regardless of the charges against a GOP opponent, just tends to boggle the mind sufficiently that it tends to pretty much be at risk of being automatically discarded as an outlier. Yet, the FOX polls have consistently shown Jones as being either close or ahead since the scandal broke over Moore’s pointy, empty head.
Now, for the observation. Actually, I have two of them. One, Politico pointed out that unlike several other polls, which only included landline contacts, FOX also factored in cell phone contacts in their poll. The fact that Alabama, just the same as anywhere else these days, has an increasing number of voters who list a cell phone as their only form of live contact, and they tend to be younger, more affluent, and therefore more likely to be motivated by social issues, and to feel sympathy for victims closer to their own age, and antipathy for an older abuser, I believe gives a more accurate representation of the actual voting population. This would give an real, logical reason for the FOX poll to consistently show Jones in front of Moore, and not simply faulty polling methods. And two, please give this a thought. On November 9, 2016, the world was aghast to awaken to find the Tangerine Tantrum being serenaded to “Hail to the Chief.” One of the strongest explanations was “public shame” polling. People were too embarrassed to admit that they were voting for Trump, and so either lied and professed to be voting for Clinton, or called themselves “undecided” and then punched the hole for His Lowness. But this gate swings both ways. Being redder than a boiled lobster is a way of life in Alabama. As public comments have shown, voting for a Democrat is a stoning offense down there. But ask yourself this. How many Alabama Republicans have an actual conscience, and a soul. They have Republican friends, employees, coworkers and customers, they can’t be caught espousing support for Jones, or they’ll be shunned. But how many of them may publicly show support for Moore, and then, when the time comes, either sit it out at home, or go in the booth and actually pull the lever for Jones, when they know that nobody can ever find out? It’s a question worth asking.
In 48 hours, this will all be over, we’ll know who was right, and who was wrong. But just keep one thing in mind. A few years ago, nobody in their right mind gave Scott Brown a snowballs chance in hell of taking over the Democratic icon Ted Kennedy’s seat in deep blue Massachusetts when he died. But while she was no child molestor, the Democrats ran a terrible candidate, thinking they couldn’t lose, and Brown copped a sneaker. You never know. So, just keep punchin’, and keep the faith.