#Alabama’s closely watched U.S. Senate race is a neck-and-neck contest as voter concerns about personal moral conduct weigh on the candidacy of Republican Roy Moore, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll.
With less than two weeks to go, support for Democrat Doug Jones stands at 50 percent vs. Moore’s 47 percent support among likely voters — a margin of a scant three points that sets up a nail-biter for the oddly timed Dec. 12 special election.
The survey shows that allegations of improper sexual behavior against Moore, a former Alabama chief justice, hang heavily over a race that would favor a Republican under ordinary circumstances in this deeply conservative state.
Fifty-three percent of voters say Jones, a former federal prosecutor, had higher standards of personal moral conduct than Moore. In contrast, about a third of likely voters say Moore, who has cast his campaign as a “spiritual battle” with heavy religious overtones, has higher moral standards.
Among the 1 in 4 voters who say the candidates’ moral conduct will be the most important factor in their vote, Jones leads, 67 percent to 30 percent.
And Jones, whose strategy relies in part on peeling way Republican support from Moore, has the backing of 1 in 6 GOP-leaning likely voters. About 1 in 14 Democratic-leaning voters back Moore.
The race, in which the winner will fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became attorney general, has taken on national importance because of its implications for the Republican majority in the Senate. If Jones wins, the GOP would control the chamber by only 51 seats to 49.