- Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images
- Polling trends are remarkably similar between Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
- Moore has essentially taken a page out of Trump’s playbook in his response to sexual misconduct allegations that he preyed on young girls when he was in his 30s.
- Those polling trends represent larger parallels between Moore and Trump.
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s polling rebound has begun to follow a similar pattern to then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the month that followed bombshell sexual misconduct-related revelations against them.
Moore, the Alabama candidate who last month was hit with allegations that he preyed on teenagers when he was in his 30s, saw his RealClearPolitics polling average dip immediately. His his substantial lead over Democratic opponent Doug Jones evaporated in the week that followed the initial revelations.
But now, less than a month after the first allegations were made public, Moore has regained a lead over Jones and has watched his polling average return to a familiar level.
The trend mirrors one that Trump experienced following the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape last fall.
In his head-to-head RCP polling average against 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump watched his numbers take a slight dip. Clinton increased her lead from 4.7 points to 7.1 points within a 10-day stretch followin the release of the tape in early October.
But, like Moore, Trump then began to rebound. Quickly.
By November 1, less than a month after the tape’s release, Trump had shrunk Clinton’s lead to just 2.2 points in the head-to-head matchup. That lead soon plummeted to just 1.3 points. Meanwhile, Trump’s polling average was more than 2 points higher than it was prior to the “Access Hollywood” tape’s release.
There are differences in each case. For instance, Trump was the beneficiary of former FBI Director James Comey’s 11th-hour letter announcing that the bureau had found new emails related to the Clinton investigation. Additionally, Moore is running a single-state race, one that happens to take place in arguably the most Republican state in the country.
Still, one thing appears to be true in both instances: A large-enough portion of voters had short memories when it involved a candidate who would vote how they liked and agreed with them on the issues, despite the allegations against them.
The polling trends are representative of how closely both situations mirror each other
Both men vehemently denied the allegations and went on scorched-earth campaigns against their accusers and the news organizations that published the revelations in the weeks that followed, with Moore following Trump’s post-“Access Hollywood” playbook in a nearly identical way. Both threatened to sue accusers and news outlets that reported on the revelations. Both refused all calls from their own party to drop out of the race.
Their supporters have drawn the comparison between both scenarios too.
“By the way, the [Jeff] Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped a dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore,” Steve Bannon, the Breitbart News executive and former White House chief strategist, said last month. “Is that a coincidence?”
The refusal to drop out, and the subsequent polling rebounds, eventually led to each candidate having GOP leaders back off their calls for the two men to drop out of their respective races. Trump faced an avalanche of calls to get out following the “Access Hollywood” tape, only to have them subside and, in many cases, be reversed.
- Thomson Reuters
In Moore’s case, he received a substantial walk-back from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday.
“I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” McConnell said on ABC’s “This Week.”
He added: “The election’s been going on a long time, there’s been a lot of discussion about it. They’re going to make the decision a week from Tuesday.”
McConnell last month said he thought Moore should step aside, and that he believes Moore’s accusers, warning that the Alabama candidate would “immediately” face a Senate Ethics Committee investigation after being sworn in. That process could lead to Moore’s expulsion from the Senate.
“The Ethics Committee will have to have consider the matters that have been litigated in the campaign, should that particular candidate win,” McConnell said Sunday.
“He totally denies it,” Trump said of the sexual-misconduct allegations against Moore.
On Monday, Trump made his endorsement much more explicit.
“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more.”
“Putting Pelosi/Schumer Liberal Puppet Jones into office in Alabama would hurt our great Republican Agenda of low on taxes, tough on crime, strong on military and borders…& so much more,” Trump said in a subsequent tweet.
That argument appears to be aimed at those voters who may have initially abandoned Moore, only to return when the controversy left the front pages to back a candidate who agrees with their views, even amid such an episode. Those are the same voters who helped put Trump over the top last fall.