Why Doug Jones won Alabama
(CNN) — Exit polls help explain how Alabama elected a Democrat to the US Senate for the first time in 25 years.
Doug Jones’ victory over Roy Moore on Tuesday came in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Republican Donald Trump last year.
The charts below show results from exit polls of more than 2,300 voters in Tuesday’s election — and they help show the makeup and thoughts of the people who decided to send Jones to Washington.
Nearly all self-identifying Democrats — 98% — voted for their party’s guy, Jones, and just more than half of independents picked him. But Jones also received a slice of support from Republicans — 8% of them crossed party lines to vote for him.
In a race where more Republicans appeared to vote than Democrats (43% to 37%), Jones benefited from his edge with independents and the support he chipped from Moore’s party.
Younger voters (ages 18 to 44) generally went for Jones — 61% to 38%. Older ones favored Moore (54% to 44%).
Although the older crowd voted in greater numbers (65% were 45 and older), Jones’ margin of support with younger voters was larger than what Moore pulled from older ones.
A majority of polled voters — two in three — were white. And about 68% of those white voters went for Moore.
But Jones made up for that deficit by dominating the black vote. Of the 29% respondents who were black, nearly all (96%) said they went with Jones.
Gender and race
Women made up a slight majority of voters (51%), and most of them voted for Jones (57%). Most men (56%) went for Moore.
So we’ve established that Jones enjoyed an advantage among black voters generally, and women voters generally. Where Jones really separated himself was among black women.
While a majority of women overall voted for Jones, nearly two-thirds of white women voted for Moore. By contrast, nearly every black woman voter (98%) who was queried in exit polls said she voted for Jones.
A vast majority of black men (93%) also went for Jones.
Most voters had at least some college education, if not a degree. Among those who have at least graduated from college, Jones fared better.
Moore has been accused of pursuing sexual relationships with teenage girls while in his 30s, including allegations that he molested a 14-year-old and assaulted a 16-year-old. He has denied wrongdoing.
Six in 10 voters said the allegations were a factor in their selection. Of those, 68% said they went with Jones.
Most voters (65%) didn’t have children under 18 in their homes, and among this group, Moore had a slight advantage (50% to 49%).
Among the 35% voters who did have children in their homes, most (56%) chose Jones.
Jones did especially well with mothers who had children living with them. Two in three of these went for the Democrat. By contrast, most fathers who had children living with them went for Moore (56%).
The Trump/McConnell factors
Voters’ opinions of Trump generally seemed to coincide with their vote in Tuesday’s Senate race.
Voters appeared split on their opinion of the President — 48% approved and 48% disapproved. Those who approved generally went with Republican candidate Moore and vice versa.
But Jones pulled more support from voters approving of Trump (9%) than Moore drew support from those who disapprove of the President (6%).
Support, or distaste, for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t seem to be as great a predictor. Two in three voters said they had an unfavorable opinion of the Kentucky Republican. Among those, Jones had only a slight edge (50% to 48%).
Among the slim percentage of voters who said they viewed McConnell favorably, Jones still pulled 46% of the vote.
The vast majority of those who described themselves as somewhat or very liberal went for the Democrat, while most conservatives chose Moore.
But Jones also scored among those describing themselves as moderates. More than three in 10 said they were moderate, and 74% of those voters said they chose Jones.
The percentage of voters who said only Jones shared their values was close to the percentage of those who said the same of Moore.
But Jones managed to get votes from a tiny amount (2%) of those who said only Moore shared their values. Moore pulled no support from those who said Jones was the only candidate sharing theirs.
(CNN) — In a shocking upset Tuesday night, Democrat Doug Jones was projected to become the US senator-elect for the state of Alabama, defeating embattled Republican Roy Moore.
The deep-red state elected Jones after his opponent, Moore, was accused by multiple women of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, and some of them accused Moore of sexual assault or abuse.
Moore, now 70, has denied the allegations, painting them as a smear campaign by the Democratic Party and the media.
Jones, a 63-year-old attorney from Birmingham, Alabama, had never run for office before. In 2016, Alabama voted for Donald Trump by a 28-point landslide. The state has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Richard Shelby was re-elected in 1992. However, Shelby became a Republican in 1994 and still serves in that seat.
In 1997, then-President Bill Clinton named Jones the US attorney for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham. Five years later, Jones served as the lead prosecutor in a case against two of the four Ku Klux Klan members responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963. This act of racial violence killed four African-American girls during church services. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had called it “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.” Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry were found guilty in 2001 and 2002, respectively, and each was sentenced to four life terms.
Jones was also involved in the prosecution of Eric Rudolph, whose 1998 attack on a Birmingham abortion clinic killed an off-duty police officer. Rudolph was sentenced in 2005, after Jones left office.
Referencing his time going after the KKK, Jones wrote a Huffington Post op-ed in September, saying he does not want to let history repeat itself.
“Sadly, the pattern of violence as a response to hope has reasserted itself,” he wrote. “We saw it in the Charleston church massacre in 2015. We saw it on display in Charlottesville this past August. We’ve seen it in the attacks on mosques and synagogues, and against the LGBT community. We see it in the hostility toward the Latino community. We cannot sweep this violence under the rug. We must address the forces that lead to it and prosecute those who perpetrate such acts.”
On the issues
Jones is a supporter of abortion rights, telling AL.com, “I fully support a woman’s freedom to choose what happens to her own body. That is an intensely, intensely personal decision that only she, in consultation with her god, her doctor, her partner or family, that’s her choice.”
Jones is also a supporter of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Writing on his campaign website, Jones says he is “disturbed” by the multiple attempts to repeal the law. “I would adamantly oppose any proposal that does not protect Alabamians from rising health care costs, higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses while ensuring those with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage or charged more,” he wrote.
On the Second Amendment, Jones told MSNBC in an interview that he is a “Second Amendment guy” but called for expanded background checks.
He is pro-LGBT and has criticized Trump for his decisions to withdraw the guidelines for schools for the treatment of transgender students and to ban transgender people from serving in the military. The latter decision has been blocked by the courts.
Jones supports reforming the tax code but does not back the current Senate GOP bill, which he called “overloaded” with tax breaks for the wealthy. As Jones will not be seated until January, it is most likely he will not vote on the bill that’s in conference in Congress.
On the issue of border security, Jones’ campaign told PolitiFact in November that he supports strengthening security on the border but has called the proposed wall “too expensive.” Jones supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which defers deportation for young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. Trump ended DACA, but Democrats and several Republicans are hoping to legislatively fix it.