Support from women hands Democrats victory in Alabama: Exit polls
Negative perceptions among voters over the sexual misconduct allegations against Republican Roy Moore handed the Democrats a rare victory in deep-red Alabama, with broad gender and racial gaps and vast shifts among typically pro-GOP groups in the state, including independents, moderates and non-evangelical whites.
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.
Among key groups, Democrat Doug Jones led Moore by 17 percentage points among women in exit poll results, 58-41 percent, a sharp shift from 12- and 21-point Republican margins among women in the 2012 presidential and 2008 Senate elections in the state, the last two races in which exit polls were conducted.
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.
Jones won 31 percent of whites, double Barack Obama's share in 2012 and nearly triple the Democratic share in the 2008 Senate race. College-educated white women and non-evangelical whites swung very sharply toward the Democrat. Blacks, a nearly unanimous group for Jones, accounted for 28 percent of voters, in line with their past turnout despite a more restrictive voter ID law enacted in 2014.
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.
The result came in a state that's about as solidly Republican as they come.