Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill is reporting low voter turnout across the state. Merrill has estimated a 10 to 15 percent turnout based on current numbers. The polls close at 7 pm. Many, including Merrill, had projected around a 20 to 25 percent turnout in spite of low absentee ballots leading up to election day.
What does that mean for the Alabama Senate race? A low turnout should be favorable to Roy Moore and Mo Brooks. Moore has a solid base of pre-existing passionate social conservative supporters that are expected to turn out for him. Brooks is popular with the grassroots activists, conservatives and state and local politically engaged people that show up to vote in every election. Both Moore and Brooks supporters will tend to be more well informed and able to cut through the negative advertisements from Luther Strange.
Strange has peppered the state on TV, radio, web and mailers, courtesy of Mitch McConnell’s $8 million intervention. He has ran a campaign of negative advertising, interviews with only friendly media, avoiding challenging questions and trying to out Trump everyone else. Trump and Pence both have thrown McConnell a bone by endorsing his puppet, Strange. I don’t mind negative ads as long as they are truthful. Strange’s ads have been everything between dishonest and absurd. Strange voters will tend to be low information and less engaged, as they will be backing him based on his advertisements as opposed to the facts.
Polling has generally had Moore in the low 30s, Strange in the low to high 20s and Brooks in the high teens to low 20s. This is a three man race with any combination of the three being possible. All are trying to secure one of the top two spots and make it to the September 26 runoff (assuming no one gets 50% in the primary). In all likelihood, Moore will finish in first place with Strange and Brooks fighting for second.