New polling commissioned by a Republican political action committee indicates that GOP candidate Roy Moore has opened up a double-digit lead over Democratic candidate Doug Jones in an upcoming Alabama special election. Moore and Jones are vying for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former Senate seat.
On Oct. 31, an Axis Research poll found that 56 percent of Alabama voters supported Moore while 39 percent planned to cast a ballot for Jones, The Hill reports.
The survey was commissioned by the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC founded in 2016 by the former chief of staff of the Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, according to BallotPedia.
The poll data signals a larger lead for Moore than previous surveys. RealClearPolitics, after aggregating seven Alabama state surveys released between Sept. 9 and Oct. 19, found that Moore had 48 percent support in the Senate race while Jones had 42 percent support.
On Oct. 17, a poll conducted by Fox News found that Jones and Moore were at a deadlock, with both candidates drawing an equal 42 percent support from registered voters in Alabama.
Moore is the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was removed from the court twice for refusing to uphold federal court rulings and has garnered national attention for his controversial rhetoric towards same-sex marriage and Muslims.
On Oct. 31, Moore met with Senate Republicans for a luncheon in Washington, D.C. During the GOP primary for the Alabama special election, Moore had pitched himself as an opponent of McConnell and the so-called Republican establishment, according to The Associated Press.
Moore stated after the luncheon that he had a private meeting with McConnell and asserted that their conversation "went well."
During his visit to the Capitol, Moore reversed his public stance that Muslims should not be allowed to hold office in the U.S.
"There should be no religious test, no," Moore told HuffPost. "That's against the Constitution."
Jones is a former attorney and most prominently known for successfully prosecuting two members of the Ku Klux Klan who had bombed Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. While the Democratic candidate is considered an underdog in the staunchly conservative state, he has expressed confidence that Alabama voters will reject Moore.
"Roy Moore's taken social stands that are completely out of step with Alabama," Jones told The Washington Post. "And the Republican Party has just completely destroyed the public's confidence in its leadership."
Sources: AP via The Virginian-Pilot, BallotPedia, Fox News, The Hill, HuffPost, RealClearPolitics, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Carmichaellibrary/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: AL.com/YouTube, WIAT/YouTube