Alabama Republican Roy Moore leads Democrat Doug Jones by 8 percentage points ahead of December’s Senate special election, according to a new poll released Thursday.
Moore falls just short of the majority of the vote with 49 percent of respondents supporting him, compared to Jones’s 41 percent of respondents, according to the poll released by Alabama’s Cygnal polling firm.
The single-digit margin comes as Democrats continue to consider whether to significantly invest in the race. While some Democrats are calling for a full-court press, thanks to Moore’s history of controversial remarks on issues like gay marriage, others are skeptical that any amount of money can turn the tide in such a reliably Republican state.
Adding to Democratic wariness, the margin between Moore and Jones doesn’t appear to be tightening since last month’s GOP primary runoff. Cygnal’s pre-primary polling also found an 8-point race, and public polling since Moore won the primary has pegged the margin between 6 and 8 points.
Moore’s overall favorability of 53 percent is higher than Jones’s 43 percent, but Moore’s numbers are far more polarized across party lines than his opponent’s. And Jones is far more of an unknown — 18 percent have never heard of him, compared to just 3 percent who say they haven’t heard of Moore.
As is the case with most off-year special elections, especially those not held on Election Day, turnout among each candidate’s base will be key. The Cygnal poll found that Moore holds a 14-point lead among high-propensity voters, indicative of his strong support among his evangelical base that’s typically been more motivated to turn out.
Cygnal conducted its poll between Oct. 2 and Oct. 5, speaking with 497 general election voters. The poll has a 4.4 percentage point margin of error.