Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How the Tide Turned Against Roy Moore in Alabama

Big cities, college towns and black communities sent a wave of energized voters to cast ballots for Doug Jones, the Democratic Senate candidate, in Alabama on Tuesday. At the same time, many white suburbanites deserted President Trump’s choice, Roy S. Moore, and much of the president’s white rural bloc stayed home.
Here are statewide results for the race, compared with the 2016 presidential election.
50
70%
Vote share
Democrat
Republican
Presidential Election 2016
BirminghamMontgomeryMobileHuntsvilleTuscaloosa
U.S. Senate Special Election 2017
BirminghamMontgomeryMobileHuntsvilleTuscaloosa
Turnout change from
2014 governor race
+14%
Change in G.O.P. margin
from Trump 2016
-14 pct. pts.
Write-in votes1.7%
There was a discernible write-in vote, but most of the protest against the Republican candidate seemed to be registered in votes for his opponent.

Suburban White Voters

An ominous harbinger for Republicans in future elections came from areas with mostly white voters who have relatively high incomes and higher levels of education. Solidly Trump in 2016, those areas showed far less enthusiasm for the president’s United States Senate candidate one year later and seemed motivated to register their doubts: Turnout was up, and write-ins were high.
These are counties that are at least 75 percent white, and where at least 20 percent of residents have a college degree.
Presidential Election 2016
PrattvilleDaphneEnterpriseFlorenceAthensDecaturAlabaster
U.S. Senate Special Election 2017
PrattvilleDaphneEnterpriseFlorenceAthensDecaturAlabaster
Turnout change from
2014 governor race
+18%
Change in G.O.P. margin
from Trump 2016
–14 pct. pts.
Write-in votes2.3%

Big Cities

The most committed voters were in the state’s larger cities. Residents in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville and Montgomery, which have high populations of black residents and young professionals, turned out in unusually high numbers, and Mr. Jones won more than 60 percent of the vote. Democrats and allied groups ran a widespread, but quiet, turnout campaign, which may have juiced the urban voting.
Here are results from the state’s four biggest counties.
Presidential Election 2016
BirminghamHuntsvilleMobileMontgomery
U.S. Senate Special Election 2017
BirminghamHuntsvilleMobileMontgomery
Turnout change from
2014 governor race
+31%
Change in G.O.P. margin
from Trump 2016
–13 pct. pts.
Write-in votes1.8%

Trump’s Biggest Supporters

The belt of predominantly white counties that were Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic backers appeared to be the most demoralized: Turnout was down 45 percent from a year ago.
Here are results from counties that voted for Mr. Trump by 80 percent or more.
Presidential Election 2016
CullmanFort PayneAlbertvillePell CityJasper
U.S. Senate Special Election 2017
CullmanFort PayneAlbertvillePell CityJasper
Turnout change from
2014 governor race
–5%
Change in G.O.P. margin
from Trump 2016
–9 pct. pts.
Write-in votes1.6%

College Towns

Turnout in college towns was especially high in the Senate race, as was the antipathy toward Mr. Moore. Mr. Trump won Lee County, home to Auburn University, with 58 percent of the vote; Mr. Moore won just 41 percent.
College students “dislike Trump intensely, disagree dramatically with the G.O.P. on most or all social issues, and regard Republicans as being from a moon of Jupiter,” said Larry J. Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Over time, this will be deadly to the G.O.P.”
These counties are the state’s youngest, and home to major colleges.
Presidential Election 2016
AuburnTroyTuscaloosa
U.S. Senate Special Election 2017
AuburnTroyTuscaloosa
Turnout change from
2014 governor race
+24%
Change in G.O.P. margin
from Trump 2016
–16 pct. pts.
Write-in votes1.8%

Black Voters

In overwhelmingly black rural counties, Republican votes went from few to fewer. Turnout was higher than in the 2014 governor’s election, but did not grow as much as in other areas. These counties are at least 60 percent black.
Presidential Election 2016
Selma
U.S. Senate Special Election 2017
Selma
Turnout change from
2014 governor race
+10%
Change in G.O.P. margin
from Trump 2016
–5 pct. pts.
Write-in votes0.0%
Note: Turnout change is the number of voters in 2017 compared with another off-year election, the 2014 governor’s race.