The Alabama electorate will make a critical choice next Tuesday. That will be their vote for their Senator.
Alabamans may choose to go with the devil they know: Roy Moore. Or they may create history by electing a Democrat, Doug Jones.
Unfortunately for Jones, many Alabamans don’t believe in the Moore allegations. Further, their “Christian” nature may dispose them to forgive Moore.
The polls on Alabamans’ choices are all over the place. Still, they offer some clues.
I think the Alabama elections will come down to demography. Also, the location of likely voters and turn-out will be key factors.
When it comes to a Southern state like Alabama, race is important. The racial breakdown of who among the Alabama electorate will vote, and for whom, will be the key factors.
Alabama Electorate: Race
White comprise nearly 70 percent of Alabama’s voting-age population. On the other hand, blacks come close to 26 percent of the population.
Doug Jones has enlisted some heavy-weights to mobilize African Americans in his favor. He has a few advantages when it comes to his appeal to this constituency.
As everywhere, most blacks tend to vote Democratic. But it may be Alabama-specific matters that could motivate African Americans to vote for Jones.
First, Doug Jones was the prosecutor of the bombers of the Birmingham church which killed little black girls. He is thus a nice contrast to a lawyer who was trying to have sex with teen white girls.
Second, just in the last day, an earlier Moore statement got some attention. In September, he said the last time the US was great was at a time – “we had slavery.”
Despite black revulsion about Moore, they alone will not be enough to bring Jones a win. Jones will need to get enough white men and more importantly, white women, to his side.
Alabama Electorate: White Women
We may expect women to be more sensitive about the sexual allegations against Roy Moore. Every woman who has felt unwelcome attention from older males may find Moore unsavory.
As in the US, women outnumber men in Alabama. If my calculations are correct, there about a hundred thousand more voting-age Alabaman white women than white men.
On the other hand, a recent poll showed Moore got the backing of 57 percent of white women. Motivated more by right-wing Christian views, they find it ideologically tricky to support Jones.
For Jones to win, he will have to assemble a winning coalition among minority and majority populations. He will also have to make sure that heavily-populated Democratic areas will turn out to vote.
Alabama Electorate: Location and Turn-Out
For Republicans, Alabama’s rural and suburban areas are among the most fertile source of votes. Conversely, African Americans in cities and a Black Belt in the middle of Alabama provide the Democratic part of the Alabama electorate.
One of the barriers to turn-out for blacks are the many ways in which Alabama makes it difficult for them to vote. Voter-ID laws and lack of early voting and same-day registration are some of these measures.
Next Wednesday, expect us political nerds to be crestfallen, overjoyed – or in suspense.