In the weeks since eight women have come forward with stories of Roy Moore’s habitual predation involving very young girls, the prospective senator has been creeping back into favor with all sorts of equivocating groups: the RNC, conservative evangelical pastors, presidents who have bragged about assaulting women on tape.
And according to one of the first major polls to come out of Alabama since the allegations were made public, Moore is also quite popular with the crucial white-lady bloc.
This week, a Washington Post-Schar School poll of “likely voters” in Alabama found that Moore and Democrat Doug Jones were separated by a mere three points, with Jones slightly taking the lead. The tightness of the race in such a Republican-dominated state has been ascribed to the Moore allegations, with a quarter of voters claiming the candidates’ “moral conduct” is the most important factor when it comes to casting their vote. Women are more likely to find the Moore allegations “credible”; fewer than 1 in 6 Republican-leaning voters say they believe the multiple reports of misconduct.
When the data is divided alone the lines of race and gender, the poll suggests that 57 percent of white women would vote for Roy Moore, compared with 39 percent of women overall. Some of them staged a rally recently under the name Women for Roy Moore, holding signs outside the statehouse that reading “Moore Has Stood 4 God” and comparing him to the Founding Fathers.
“I do not recognize the Roy Moore that these ladies are describing,” a Tea Party-affiliated activist told the New York Post. “He’s been tried and convicted by the mainstream media.”
Perhaps these women—who, as in the 2016 presidential election, will be crucial to a Republican win—have been swayed by Moore’s campaign to discredit the women who laboriously and at great personal risk provided extensive documentation of their teenaged relationships with the prospective senator, at the time in his thirties. Perhaps they don’t know that false accusations are rare. It could also be that they are so disquieted by consensual relationships between same-sex adults that pedophilia on the job seems like a better habit. Or maybe Roy Moore really is like Jesus.
It is also possible that white female voters, more than half of whom turned up in the polls to elect Donald Trump, have some fundamental blindness to the ways in which preserving the power of people who use their seats to routinely harass, intimidate, and abuse women is a bad idea, one that allows vile and violent men to wield immense influence over our daily lives and ensures that no matter how many women come forward, they will never be believed. Maybe electing candidates who embody Moore’s brand of toxic, xenophobic Christianity is more about supremacy that the increasingly quaint notion of what makes a politician “unfit for office.” Really, who can say?