While Senator Luther Strange has closed the gap in the final week, Judge Roy Moore still holds a solid lead in the latest and final Alabama Senate poll by Emerson College. President Donald Trump visited Huntsville on Friday to headline a rally for Senator Strange, who was forced into a runoff in the race to face Democrat Doug Jones in the general election.
The eventual winner will be heavily favored to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.
Judge Moore still leads Sen. Strange 50% to 40%, but that gap has narrowed from the 40% to 26% margin in the last Emerson College Poll. With a 61% favorability rating, which rises toa whopping 80% among likely GOP Alabama primary voters, President Trump’s support has no doubt helped the incumbent.
However, even among his supporters, Judge Moore holds a slight 49% to 47% lead. That’s without question a significant improvement for Sen. Strange since the last poll, in which Moore led among the Trump base by a larger 51% to 32%.
Nevertheless, as PPD’s editor and polling head Richard Baris laid out in a recent analysis of the race, the incumbent still has an uphill battle to win. In the first round, Judge Moore received 38.9% of the vote, or 162,570 total votes, while Sen. Strange earned 32.8%, or 136,910 total votes.
“As our county-by-county post-election analysis explained, it isn’t enough for Sen. Strange and President Trump to increase turnout in the second round of voting on Tuesday,” he explained. “They will have to change minds for the appointed incumbent to have a chance.”
President Trump has attempted to undo the punishing narrative that tied the incumbent to the very unpopular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The senator from Kentucky has had his allied-political action committees (PACs) dump tens of millions of dollars into the race and, thus far, it had no measurable impact.
It was only until the popular president got involved that polls have shown at least some tightening in the final weeks. Regardless, Baris says, the Big Data models bode badly for the president’s endorsed candidate.
Giving the frontrunner roughly half of the support that backed Rep. Mo Brooks and others, there are still an 24 additional counties in which Judge Moore could carry the majority in the two-way matchup, including several larger counties.
It’s no accident the president chose to visit Huntsville, which is located in Madison County. That’s Rep. Brook’s home base and it went his way with 50% of the vote juxtaposed to 27% for Sen. Strange and only 19% for Judge Moore.
A brand new 0ptimus survey conducted from Friday to Saturday also had the anti-establishment candidate at 55.4% and the Trump/McConnell-backed incumbent at 44.6%. A similiar 80% of those surveyed and 86% of GOP primary voters know President Trump endorsed Sen. Strange, but Judge Moore continues to maintain his lead.
The PPD Big Data Poll taken during the second week in September found Judge Moore leading Sen. Strange by 9 points, 52% to 43%. While more than 8 in 10 Republican primary voters in Alabama had a favorable opinion of President Trump, roughly 70% said his endorsement wouldn’t make a difference. The PPD Poll also found the challenger taking voters who previously back Rep. Mo Brooks by a 2 to 1 margin.
While it was even in the last Emerson Poll, supporters of Rep. Brooks, who won 20% of the vote in the first round in August, are now backing Judge Moore 67% to 21%.
“The Emerson Poll is now starting to look like the PPD Poll as it relates to Brooks voters,” Baris added in a response to the new poll. “As we’ve shown with the models, unless our polling data are wrong Sen. Strange is going to lose.”
A FOX10 News/Strategy Research Poll released just this weekend found a near-identical spread, with 54% saying they’ll vote for Judge Moore and 46% saying they’ll back Sen. Strange. While 20% of those polled said the president’s endorsement did make a difference, 80% said it did not.
On to the general election, Judge Moore is now crushing Jones 52% to 30%.