An overwhelming majority of voters who cast a ballot for Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special election in Alabama had one thing in common: They were white.
Nine in 10 of voters checking off Moore’s name in the contentious Senate race were Caucasian, according to early exit polling released by CNN. The network notes that white men made up a “slim majority” of the total population of voters who supported the embattled Republican in the race, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least nine women.
Those figures, however, are likely to change as the election unfolds. Polls closed at 7pm Central Time, and polling places have yet to release voting data.
If unofficial, the early numbers are eerily similar to the 2016 election, in which Republican Donald Trump defied the odds to overcome Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College. Nearly two-thirds of white men (62 percent) favored Trump in the race, while just 62 percent of this group cast a ballot his challenger.
Even white women could not be persuaded to vote for the former Secretary of State: Just 43 percent of Caucasian females went for Clinton, while 52 percent voted for Trump.
White people made up 71 percent of the overall vote.
Should Doug Jones win in the hotly contested runoff to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacated Senate seat, it will be on the backs of black voters and people of color. CNN polling conducted outside the ballot box shows that approximately 3 in 10 people who cast a ballot in the election were African-American. Numbers were not provided for other racial minority groups in Alabama.
That turnout is much higher than in last November’s election: Estimates show that 12 percent of overall voters in the 2016 election were black, a noticeable drop from previous elections.
The discrepancy is partially attributable to Alabama’s disproportionately high black population: More than a quarter of the state’s residents (26 percent) are African-American, despite the fact that black folks make up around 13 percent of the overall U.S. population.
If people of color were energized to vote against Moore in Alabama on Tuesday, that fact is likely influenced by comments during the campaign in which he claimed that America was at its greatest during the antebellum South. He told supporters in September that “even though we had slavery,” families “were united” and “cared for one another.”
Moore also claimed in 2011 that nullifying subsequent amendments to the U.S. Constitution after the Bill of Rights would “eliminate many problems” for the government. It would also abolish the 13th Amendment, thus legalizing slavery.
But Jones supporters have a steep hill to climb if they hope to defeat Moore in the race.
The Republican, who is one of America’s most vociferously anti-LGBTQ public figures, led consistently in polling conducted in the wee hours of the Senate race. Although polling varied wildly, the final poll averages from RealClearPolitics indicated that he led by 2.2 points across surveys.
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