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A new Alabama Senate poll shows Roy Moore 8 points behind Doug Jones

The special election is December 12.

Embattled GOP Senate Candidate In Alabama Judge Roy Moore Continues Campaigning Throughout The State Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

A Democrat snagging a US Senate seat in deep-red Alabama is inching closer to reality — at least according to a new poll.

A Fox News poll conducted November 13 to 15 showed Democrat Doug Jones with an 8-point lead over the beleaguered Republican candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. A total of 50 percent of likely voters surveyed said they’d vote for Jones, compared to 42 percent of people who said they’d still cast their votes for Moore. Nine percent of those polled suggested they’d either be voting for none of the above or remained undecided.

Jones’s lead is outside the margin of error of 3.5 percent, revealing a substantial bump a week after sex allegations against Moore — beginning with a Washington Post report that included the account of a woman who said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14 — dominated the news. One of first polls after the Post story broke showed Moore and Jones even; now the Democrat has pulled ahead a little less than a month away from the December 12 special election.

Moore has denied the allegations against him, and has given zero signs, at least right now, that he’s going anywhere. But some Republicans have deserted him. According to the poll, 13 percent of likely GOP voters said they’d vote for Jones; only 3 percent of Democratic voters favored Moore.

The Fox News poll also throws some cold water on the idea of a write-in campaign, one of the ideas Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly mulling. The GOP floated two possible options: Luther Strange, who was appointed Alabama senator after Jeff Sessions resigned in January to become attorney general but lost the GOP primary to Moore, and Sessions himself. Sessions reportedly has no interest in his old job. Strange has also resisted the idea of waging a write-in campaign, calling it “highly unlikely.”

In a matchup between Jones and Strange, the Democrat leads by 10 points among likely Alabama voters — 48 percent to 38 percent. When asked if the election were held today with Moore as the Republican candidate, Jones as the Democrat, and Strange as the write-in, 72 percent of voters say it’s likely they wouldn’t write in Strange’s name.

All of this is a bad sign for Republicans hoping to hold on to the Senate seat without electing Moore. McConnell has called on Moore to “step aside” and, besides a possible write-in campaign, is reportedly considering a move to expel him should he be elected.