Speed Reads

alabama special election

The Roy Moore allegations have turned Alabama's Senate race into a tossup

Four polls public polls have been released of the Senate race in Alabama since The Washington Post reported allegations by four women on Thursday that Republican nominee Roy Moore initiated inappropriate relationships when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers as young as 14. They point to a tight race, ranging from a 4-point Moore lead (44 percent to 40 percent for Democrat Doug Jones, Change Research) to a 4-point Jones lead (48 percent to 44 percent, JMC Analytics and Polling). In the RealClearPolitics average of polls conducted Thursday and afterward — which includes an unpublished Emerson poll with Moore up 10 points — Moore leads Jones by 2 points.

"Each of the new polls has potential shortcomings," Politico reports, and "instant polls are often misleading barometers of how sudden, negative news coverage can impact a campaign." Before Thursday's bombshell, the five previous public polls found Moore ahead of Jones by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent, FiveThiryEight notes, which isn't great for a GOP candidate in a state President Trump won by 28 points. Sex-related scandals have sunk some candidates but not others, and Politico suggests that until more reliable polls come in, if they do, watch "the decisions made by both parties over the coming week."