Polling for the U.S. Senate race in Alabama has widely varied leading up to election day on Dec. 12. While pollsters give the edge to Republican candidate Roy Moore, controversies on his campaign trail and grassroots efforts have given Democratic candidate Doug Jones a shot at winning in the overwhelmingly conservative state.
On Dec. 11, a Fox News survey found that 50 percent of Alabama voters supported Jones while 40 percent planned to cast a ballot for Moore.
"Moore might prevail if only the people who typically vote in Alabama elections turn out Tuesday [Dec. 12], which is often what happens in special elections," said Fox News pollster Chris Anderson.
"But this appears to be a special, special election with blacks and young voters animated by a caustic Republican candidate and the chance of winning a statewide election with national implications, and at the same time some Republicans and many moderates are turned off by Moore, too," added Anderson.
The special election will decide who will fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former Senate seat. The majority of polls released since Nov. 30 have indicated that Moore will be Sessions' successor.
RealClearPolitics, after aggregating eight surveys released between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10, found that an average 48.4 percent of Alabama residents supported Moore while an average 45.9 percent supported Jones. This gave Moore an edge of more than 2 percentage points -- within most polling groups' margin of error. The polling website ruled the Alabama race as a toss up.
National pollsters have historically had more difficulty predicting statewide races. Local survey groups are also considered unreliable because they do not have the same resources or use the same methods as the most reliable pollsters. It is often impossible for polling groups to determine voter turnout during Senate races, according to NBC News.
"[N]obody has any clue what turnout is going to look like," tweeted out Target Smart CEO Tom Bonier.
Nine women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct. Leigh Corfman alleged that he molested her when she was 14 years old and he was in his thirties in 1979.
"I was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult's world and he was 32 years old," Corfman said during an interview on Nov. 20.
Moore has denied the allegations but has received minimal support among Senate Republicans. On Dec. 10, Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama spoke out against Moore during an interview.
"I'd rather see the Republican win, but I'd rather see a Republican write-in," Shelby told CNN. "I couldn't vote for Roy Moore. I didn't vote for Roy Moore."
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump endorsed Moore and recorded a robocall for his campaign. Alabama residents started receiving the call on Dec. 10.
"Roy Moore is the guy we need to pass our 'Make America Great Again' agenda," said Trump on the robocall, according to ABC News.
On Dec. 11, Alabama voters received a robocall from former President Barack Obama urging them to vote for Jones.
"Doug Jones is a fighter for equality, for progress," Obama said. "Doug will be our champion for justice. So get out and vote, Alabama."
On Dec. 5, Jones blasted his election opponent during a speech in Birmingham, asserting that Moore would be a national embarrassment if elected.
"Roy Moore has never, ever served our state with honor," Jones said, according to The Guardian. "He was already an embarrassment before nine courageous women chose to share their stories."
Jones added, "Men who hurt little girls should go to jail, not the U.S. Senate."
Sources: ABC News, CNN (2), Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News (2), RealClearPolitics / Featured Image: carmichaellibrary/Flickr / Embedded Images: TUBS/Wikimedia Commons, Doug Jones for Senate Committee/Wikimedia Commons