Tuesday, November 28, 2017


According to a poll from Change Research, Doug Jones used to have a lead over Roy Moore, but it's gone:
Alabama Republican Roy Moore has reopened a 49–44 lead over Democrat Doug Jones in the race for U.S. Senate. In Change Research’s third poll since the sexual misconduct allegations against Moore first surfaced on November 9, we found that he has completely erased the 3-point lead Jones had opened up in mid-November. Moore’s lead is now just as large as it was just after the story broke.

... 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.

... Donald Trump also expressed his support for Moore this week, and it may have provided the Republican with a small bump. The vast majority of voters said it had no impact on their plans. However, about 3.5% of Trump’s voters, or just under 2% of the entire electorate, said that Trump’s support pushed them closer to supporting Moore.
I don't think it's Trump per se. I think it's GOP politicians and the conservative noise machine getting into lockstep (as usual) on a few potent messages: The liberal media lies! The timing of the allegations is just too convenient! We can't possibly elect an abortion-loving socialist!

The pull of conservative white tribalism is so strong that it's nearly impossible to overcome. Sometimes Democrats can outvote it (as in Virginia this year), and sometimes the GOP temporarily fails to inspire it (think of 1992, 2006, 2008, and the top of the ticket in 1996 and 2012), but if a Republican runs as an unabashed champion of the tribe, he or she is going to inspire the tribe no matter what scandals may emerge -- in fact, news reports of scandals will ensure the tribe's loyalty to the candidate, except perhaps just after the scandal breaks.

Maybe Hillary Clinton could have trounced Trump if the Access Hollywood tape had landed less than a week before Election Day; the same goes for the sex charges against Moore. In both cases, the time gap gave the candidates the opportunity to play the victim-of-the-all-powerful-liberals card.

Moore's going to win this, and it won't be close. Charlie Pierce is right:

If a new scandal erupts late next week, maybe Moore will lose. Otherwise, he's Alabama's next senator.

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