Exit polls should be taken with a truckload of salt, but they so far indicate that tonight’s special Senate election in Alabama could go in favor of Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
According to early exit polling from NBC News, Trump’s approval rating among those who turned out to vote on Tuesday is split evenly in the ultra-conservative state – 48 percent to 48 percent.
EARLY AL EXITS: 48% of voters approve of Pres. Trump; 48% of voters disapprove of Pres. Trump #MTPDaily
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 12, 2017
In a state where the president’s average approval rating hovers near the 60s and where he won 63 percent of the vote in 2016, this suggests that Tuesday’s electorate could be much more favorable to Jones than GOP nominee and accused child molester Roy Moore.
To further lift the hopes of Democrats in this longshot Senate contest, the same set of exit polls showed – quite stunningly – that 30 percent of the electorate in Alabama on Tuesday was African American.
This is higher than what Democratic pollster Zac McCrary said Jones would need to score a close victory over Moore.
“A lower African American turnout (say, comprising 24% of the electorate) makes things very tough for Jones — whereas a higher African American turnout (28% of the electorate) would make the math for a Jones victory much more manageable,” McCrary wrote.
According to CNN exit polling, Jones has a better overall favorable rating than Moore among those who turned out to vote on Tuesday.
Same CNN exit poll has voters giving Doug Jones a 49/49 favorable to unfavorable rating, same exit polling gives Roy Moore a 55-42 unfavorable to favorable rating
— Jonathan Hardison (@FOX6Hardison) December 12, 2017
At the end of the day, the real results that matter will come after polls close at 8 p.m. eastern in the state of Alabama. It’s still anybody’s game, as the live model from the New York Times suggests at this hour.
For now, though, Democrats have good reason to be cautiously optimistic that they have a shot at winning a Senate seat in one of the reddest states in the country.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.