Support from women hands Democrats victory in Alabama: Exit polls

Doug Jones led Roy Moore by 17 percentage points among women.

On the central issue of the election, 51 percent of voters said the allegations against Moore were definitely or probably true, vs. 44 percent who saw them as definitely or probably false. Those who believed Moore’s accusers backed Jones by 90-8 percent.

Jones’ support from women was concentrated, in particular, among women with children under 18 at home, who backed him by 66-32 percent. The Moore controversy involved his alleged advances toward young and underage women.

One big shift came among political independents. Twenty-one percent of voters, they favored Jones by 9 points, after voting Republican by an overwhelming 52-point margin in 2012 and by 45 points in 2008.

Trump, who controversially endorsed Moore, managed only a 48-47 percent approval-disapproval rating among Alabama voters. Those who “strongly” disapprove of the president’s work in office, moreover, outnumbered strong approvers by 7 points, 40 to 33 percent.

Among other factors, Jones scored on enthusiasm. Seventy-five percent of his voters said they strongly favored their candidate, compared with 55 percent of Moore’s voters. Indeed, 56 percent of voters saw Moore unfavorably overall. Jones did better, but not well; 48 percent saw him unfavorably.

Helpfully to Moore -- albeit insufficient -- voters under age 30 saw their share of the electorate fall to 13 percent, down from 18 percent in 2012 and 22 percent in 2008. They backed Jones by 60-38 percent.

Jones' win relied on support from: women, independents, liberal, moderates, blacks, non-evangelical whites, white college graduates, younger voters and residents of Birmingham and the surrounding south central region. Most notably, Jones won women by 17 points, while losing men by 13 points; non-evangelical whites flipped from a +62-point Republican vote in 2008 to +29 points for Jones today, while evangelical whites still voted for Moore by 62 points; independent women went from a +46-point Republican vote in 2012 and +42 points in 2008 to a +22-point vote for Jones; liberals nearly doubled their turnout from 2012, to 23 percent; moderates shifted from +9 points Republican in 2008 to +49 points for Jones; and 96 percent of blacks backed Jones.

Well fewer than half of voters, 41 percent, said the allegations against Moore were at least one of several important factors in their vote. Of the rest, 19 percent called the controversy a minor factor and 35 percent said it was not a factor at all. That adds to 60 percent calling the controversy a factor, if even a minor one -- and they voted for Jones by 68-31 percent, enough to lift him to his improbable victory.