Trump, Obama reach out to Alabama voters in Senate race

By Doug G. Ware  |  Dec. 11, 2017 at 12:23 PM
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Dec. 11 (UPI) -- With the end of the race to fill the Alabama Senate seat once occupied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 48 hours away, experts say it's still virtually impossible to project a winner.

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones will wrap their whirlwind campaigns Monday night for an election that is significant on two fronts -- for both parties' hopes to grab valuable power in the upper chamber of Congress, and for the sexual misconduct allegations against Moore.

Pollsters say Moore maintains a slight lead in the race, but data so far indicate that the vote tally will be extremely close.

"There is no like election like this one," Democratic pollster Zac McCrary said.

Tuesday's special election will fill the seat vacated by Sessions when he was appointed earlier this year to be President Donald Trump's Justice Department chief.

Trump has recorded automated calls stumping for Moore, while former President Barack Obama has made similar calls for Jones.

"This one's serious. You can't sit it out," Obama said in the audio recording.

Alabama is a Republican stronghold. But Jones' chances were lifted by accusations from several women accusing Moore of sexual misconduct, including unwanted sexual advances or assault, when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s in the 1970s.

Trump has endorsed Moore, a move that prompted the Republican National Committee to reinstate financial support for Moore after initially withdrawing it.

Moore has denied the allegations of misconduct.

One poll by Gravis Marketing showed that 43 percent of Alabama residents believe the accusations of misconduct against Moore -- and that nearly 50 percent said they plan to vote for him. Forty-five percent said they will vote for Jones.

Of the undecided voters, 27 percent said they are leaning toward Jones, 24 percent for Moore and about half are unsure.

Voter turnout, experts say, is going to be critical to the win.

"Data collected over the past week ... show everything between an 8 percentage-point margin favoring Jones and a 9 percentage-point margin favoring Moore," Survey Monkey's Mark Blumenthal said. "[The] findings make a projection of the outcome virtually impossible."

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