tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 12, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
an interim senator and call for a special election and roy moore could run once again. jake? >> all right. tom foreman, thank you so much. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter @jaketapper. you can tweet the show @theleadcnn. that's it for "the lead." cnn's special coverage of the alabama senate race starts right now and i will see you later in the broadcast. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. this is a special edition of "the situation room." i'm wolf blitzer with live coverage of the u.s. senate special election in alabama. and we're counting down until the first results. in a very high-profile race that's been dominated by sexual abuse allegations and has stoked division within the republican party. the outcome will be a game-changer no matter who wins. democrat doug jones or republican roy moore. moore, who rode to the polls on horseback today is hoping to
keep a crucial senate seat in republican hands, but his candidacy has been clouded by multiple allegations of past sexual abuse and assault involving teenage girls, including one woman who says he molested her when she was only 14. the president has raised the stakes and added to the controversy by embracing moore and his denials of wrongdoing, endorsing him in these the final days of the campaign. if moore wins, he could face a bitter backlash in the u.s. senate where some republicans say they believe moore's accusers and have called for an ethics investigation. if doug jones wins, he'll be the first democrat elected to the u.s. senate from alabama in a quarter century. that's an uphill climb in a ruby red state, even with a scandal surrounding his opponent. the decision alabama voters will make tonight will have national consequences, setting the stage for next year's crucial midterm election. we have our correspondents standing by at the headquarters for both the republican and democratic candidates. let's go live to cnn's kaitlan
collins. she's over at roy moore headquarters in montgomery. kaitlan, what are you hearing from the moore campaign? >> reporter: well, wolf, so far a lot of confidence. the moore campaign is privately telling associates that their internal numbers are showing a high turnout among rural white voters. now that's a key demographic that roy moore will need to secure if he's going to win this race against doug jones. and the internal numbers for the moore campaign are also showing a much higher turnout in general than what the secretary of state's office predicted, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% to 25%. these numbers also show according to someone briefed on them that turnout is also high in cities like birmingham, an area predicted to go for democrat doug jones in this race, but we're told for right now that the moore campaign is confident that these numbers will come out in the wash and that high turnout in cities like that will be countered by high turnout aamong rural white
voters. right now, wolf, a lot of confidence among the moore campaign here in montgomery. >> kaitlan, stand by. we'll get back to you. i want to go over to alex marquardt. he's over at doug jones' campaign. he's watching this as well. what are you hearing from the doug jones campaign, alex? >> reporter: wolf, a lot of confidence over here, too. they like where they are and what they're seeing. they're seeing high turnout across the board in do you wanties they have been targeting and not been targeting. i'm told by a senior member of the campaign that in some of the prich precincts as early as 10:00 this morning they saw turnout as high as 50%. now the thinking goes that a high turnout does favor doug jones, there are more votes for him for the taking that roy moore has a bit of a ceiling, but this -- the -- we're also hearing from the jones campaign they are seeing high turnout not just among millennials who will be a key group, but also among african-americans, who will be absolutely crucial if jones is to stand a chance of winning
this race. now they are also saying it is hard to believe that given what they are seeing right now in terms of the turnout that they will not hit 100% of their targets. >> alex marquardt. thank you. let's go over to john king. we're going to le learning a lot more about alabama. what would it take, for example, for these candidates to win. >> a little after 8:00, we'll start to fill in the map. one key point to make right off the top, number one, what's the percentage of write-ins? do a lot of republicans write in somebody else? does the bar for winning go below 50%? that would help doug jones, too. this is a ruby red republican state. this is a very steep hill for doug jones. the allegations against roy moore have put him in contention. this is just the presidential election last year, donald trump, 63% of the vote. let's go back to 2012, mitt romney, 61% of the vote. even though african-american turnout up for the african-american president seeking re-election. this is a republican red -- ruby
red state. but let's take a look. what would doug jones has to do to win? let's remind people of this. this is the last time roy moore ran for state supreme court chief justice. 2012. he only got -- in a presidential year, mitt romney gets 61, roim roip only gets 52. he has a history of underperforming. there are those who don't like these conservative views on some of those issues. there is an opportunity for doug jones. number one, in montgomery, has to run it up. you see this is the democrat who ran against roy moore. then 71%. doug jones needs to do that. it's not so much the percentage, wolf, the turnout. what are the numbers, the democratic base, particularly african-americanings, do they come out in big numbers? doug jones needs that up here and here in jefferson county, birmingham. a very large piece of the state. young people, college educated, particularly african-americans have to turn out for doug jones for him to have a prayer. look at the race with bob vance.
down here in mobile, actually went democratic. that's why the president was down here in pensacola, florida, speaking to the mobile media market trying to get republicans to stick with roy moore in this race. let's watch. if this is blue tonight, late into the night, doug jones has a chance. also up here, madison county, up here in huntsville area. look at this, bob vance won it in the chief justice race in 2012 at a time mitt romney was winning it quite handily in the presidential race. roy moore has been vulnerable, but let's look back. that's how doug jones would have to do it. african-american turnout way up. suburban republicans outside here, shelby county, outside of birmingham, suburban republicans saying i can't vote for roy moore and coming over to the democratic side. for roy moore, i want to go back to this race down here. look here in the southeast corner of the state. houston county. you see 64%. right here, this is where you have the christian conservative rural base of the republican party in alabama. down here in the southeast corner, up across the northern stretch of the state. again, are the margins like this
for roy moore? if so, he's off to a decent start, but not the margins tonight because we're going to look who is actually coming out to vote. the raw math. is turnout up? is he winning these counties big because people are coming to vote for him or is the turnout down? if the turnout in these lower counties is lower, doug jones has a chance. especially in birmingham, montgomery, selma and so on. >> it's going to be fascinating to see how this unfolds in the coming hours. we're going to be talking a lot in the course of these coming hours. john, thanks a lot. the first exit polls are coming in, giving us an idea of what's on voters' minds. let go to our political director david chalian. what are you seeing david? >> these are our first clues of what people were thinking about, those allegation lgs against roy moore that rocked this race in the final month of the race. we asked people if they thought those allegations were true or false. take a look at what alabama voters said today. a pretty split electorate. 49% saying the allegations are
true, 45% saying false. look how it splits when you measure the intensity of how people feel about that. 26% say definitely the allegations are true. compare that to those that say definitely false at the bottom there, 16%. so the passion argument is on the side of people who think the allegations against roy moore are true, but you see a divided electorate over whether or not those allegations are true or false. how about how important of a factor was it in deciding on your vote? 55% of alabama voters today say it was not an important factor in their vote decision. 40%, four in ten voters today, say it is an important factor in the vote decision. take a look at this, wolf, we asked people what best describes why they're voting for who they're voting for today. nearly two-thirds of alabama voters, 65%, are voting because they strongly favor their guy guy in this race. 21% are doing it with support for their guy with some reservations. only 12% are sort of holding
their nose and voting because they dislike the other guy. so when you see two-thirds of the voters today are saying i'm strongly with my guy, this is what we were saying at the end of the race, each candidate was looking to turn out their fervent supporters, the base voters, and it looks like that is what this electorate is charged with right now. a polarized electorate out there in support of their candidate. >> just beginning to go through those ex-ill poll numbers. more of them coming up. david chalian, stick around. anderson, this is going to be a very, very fascinating night. >> one of the most extraordinary nights in recent american politics. lep let's talk about it with the panel. it's interesting looking at the exit polls because even people that felt the abuse allegations were big in how they were going to vote, it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to vote against roy moore. some people may actually be coming out because they believe so strongly that these are not real allegations and that this is something done by the "washington post" or mitch mcconnell or, you know, the whole range of people that roy moore has accused. >> yeah, we've got to be careful.
that data is still very, very early. i've got to tell you what, that seems pretty favable towards roy moore, just at this time. if you look at this really early date at this point. the fact that 12% casted their votes as a protest vote, you have to think that protest vote would be against roy moore. that doesn't seem to be very high given the intensity of the allegations against roy moore. >> rebecca? >> well, absolutely. i mean, one interesting thing to me, anderson, is that 50% roughly of people did not believe these allegations, either slightly or very strongly did not believe these allegations. it shows what roy moore was trying to do was, you know, mission accomplished. he was trying to plant a seed of doubt for his voters, turn out republicans, at least give them a reason to say, okay, i can doubt these allegations enough to get to the polls to support this candidate who i would have supported otherwise. these exit polls suggest that their campaign did accomplish that. they were able to plant that seed of doubt. you have to look at the president as well. he endorsed roy moore in spite
of these allegations, suggested made these women weren't being truthful. that plays into these results. >> j.d., one of the things that the roy moore campaign has been pushing these are allegations from outsiders coming in here and telling alabamans how to vote. that's something a lot of people in the state of alabama would not like. >> one of the interesting data points is more people believe the allegations, slightly more believe the allegations than miss believe the allegations. if roy moore has a chance, there is a large volume of people who believe the allegations which still voted for roy moore. which suggests to me they're single issue voters, they're protesting the way that the media ganged up against roy moore. but it is interesting that at least a few percent of the electorate effectively is believing all of these sexual assault allegations against roy moore but is still voting for him. that's necessarily going to be the case if roy moore ends up pulling out this race. >> the other thing when it comes to what the president was saying when he was going in there, he was talking about the larger republican agenda and moving his
agenda through the congress and how roy moore will be a better vessel to facilitate that than doug jones and i think roy moore will be benefitting from that message. because it does take away from his issues and his troubles and it broadens the -- we're talking about conservative justices, we're talking about abortion. and i think that those voters would be in favor of moore and aren't going to vote for a democrat, no matter who he is. >> paul, the stakes could not be higher for republicans tonight. >> can you believe it that we're talking about a dead heat race in alabama? it is crazy. it is just remarkable. actually, either way, the republicans are in a bind. they really lost when roy moore became their no, ma'am new. that's why a lot of republicans opposed him in the primary because they didn't want to be in this box. if roy moore wins, he's a walking negative ad for the democratic party. every day day they'll run tapes of c-span. every republican who shakes his hand on the senate floor, slaps
hiss back. bam, they're going to attack him. he's going to be a walking, talking negative ad. if he loses, good god, you have a democratic senator from alabama, you haven't had one in 25 years. >> nina, the fact that moore has basically been off the campaign trail for a week, it either shows confidence or a desire to keep him from being out there and make a mistake like his wife did last night, you know, she likes jews, she has a jewish zblaur they're being shred in how they operate here. and having the president prop him up in the way -- the republican party, not all, but the republican party itself has said, you know, an alleged pedophile is better than a democrat. period. so the sense of honor and dignity is out the door just for a poll so i agenda for the president. he has made that very clear. >> we've got to take a quick break. more from our panel coming up. despise the sexual abuse allegations against roy moore, deep divisions wepgt his own
party, president trump has thrown support behind the alabama republican. we'll check in at the white house about that. until she got quickbooks. now she sends invoices, sees when they've been viewed and-ta-dah-paid twice as fast for free. visit quickbooks-dot-com. duncan just protected his family with a $500,000 life insurance policy. how much do you think it cost him? $100 a month? $75? $50? actually, duncan got his $500,000 for under $28 a month. less than $1 a day! his secret? selectquote. in just minutes a selectquote agent will comparison shop nearly a dozen highly rated life insurance companies, and give you a choice of your five best rates. duncan's wife cassie got a $750,000 policy for under $21 per month. give your family the security it needs, at a price you can afford. since 1985, selectquote has saved over a million families
this is a live picture coming in from montgomery, alabama. you're looking at roy moore headquarters as voters cast ballots in the polarizing u.s. senate election. right now we're getting new information from early exit polls, shows us what's on the mind of the voters. let's go to back to our political director david chalian. what are you allergin? >> wolf, digging into these numbers we asked alabama voters today how they feel about the frump factor. take a look at this, the president's approval rating among the electorate, people going to the polls, evenly split. 48% approve, 48% disapprove.
you would expect his approval rating to be higher in alabama than it is nationally, but look at that, an even split electorate in the state of alabama of donald trump's handling of his job. surprising numbers. and then take a look at we asked people, is donald trump a reason in your vote today? did he factor into it? nearly half you see at the bottom there, 48% say president trump not a factor in their votes, but among those who said the president was a factor in their votes, it's one of the reasons they went into the booth and cast their ballot, it favors in support of president trump. 29% said they went to go cast their ballot in support of the president. 20% of alabama voters today said they consider trump a factor and it was to cast a vote in opposition to him. >> david, thank you. we're also getting new insight into president trump's take on the vote tonight. let's go live to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, what are you learning? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. two sources close to the white house told me they believe president trump will be, quote, wounded if roy moore loses tonight. yes, one of these sources said
0-2 in ruby red alabama, in the word of that source, referring to the president's initial backing of the incumbent senator luther strange before throwing his support behind the man who beat strange. it's a critical time for the president to get behind moore as the 2018 midterms are drawing closer. according to the same source i spoke with earlier today, the president is heavily invested in moore as he sees the allegations against the alabama republican as being similar to the accusations directed against him during the 2016 campaign. this source described the white house as, quote, all-in on moore, despite reservations about the president backing an accused child molester. not to mention the press secretary sarah sanders saying that the white house is troubled by these allegations. there is a sense among sources close to this white house that the president is taking a very big gamble as the midterms are looming next year. they are worried he's going with the wrong horse. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. anderson, over to you. >> thanks very much. jack kingston, you actually campaigned for luther strange.
how big a problem for republicans is it if moore does, in fact, win? >> he is a wild card because he does really when he says i don't like the establishment, he means everybody. he's a -- who is probably in washington, d.c. >> he may not vote along with president trump on everything. >> i actually asked an elected official today in alabama how hard would he be -- how much opposition will he give mcconnell? he said as long as mcconnell's in office, probably the whole time. and so i think he is definitely a wild card. that's part of his lure and why his fan base is so loyal. that's why i think the rural voters in particular will show out rain, snow or whatever. >> ana navarro, the sheer list of people that the roy moore campaign or roy moore himself have blamed or cited as part of a conspiracy, mitch mcconnell, mainstream republicans, the dnc, nancy pelosi, chuck schumer, in their words radical homosexuals, transgender groups and criminals and the "washington post." >> george soros.
>> mainstream media. >> lynch mob media, actually. but it is an extraordinary coalition from, you know, republicans to democrats to liberals to all sorts of groups. >> look, it's obviously a strategy. it's us against them type of thing, right? look, i'm the victim, we're the little people here in alabama and these elitists on the coast, they want to tell us what to do, they want to tell us how to vote, they want to rule our lives. the irony of this is the guy going down there and telling them what to do is steve bannon who is just as elitist and schlepping around in a private plane and more elitist than most of the people you named. he is manipulating and making it an us against them thing. he's doing that in the republican party. sometimes i think this guy is a double agent sent out there to destroy the party. this race has laid bare for all of america to see the great rifts and divisions within this party. we're seeing it within alabama. we're seeing it here in washington where the rnc and the white house are on one side.
the national republican senatorial committee is on another. where we see it where, you know, the senator from alabama, richard shelby, who is a conservative, this man is no elitist liberal moderate republican is saying i can't vote for roy moore. so it's -- i think it's been a very painful process for the republican party. >> also interesting steve bannon taking a shot, you know, none too veiled at ivanka trump last night. >> right. it seems like he can do that. maybe because he's friends with the president. i feel like if anyone else took a shot at her, there would be twitter hell to pay at least. maybe there is a private call but it is unusual for a slight like that to go unanswered. >> steve bannon for those who didn't know was paraphrasing something ivanka trump said about roy moore, there was a special place in hell -- >> which apparently the president wasn't happy with, his daughter got out front when he hadn't had time to respond to this. there is a little internal trump family drama there. >> when nordstrom stopped
selling her shoes, there was hell to pay from trump. now you've got steve bannon saying there is a special place in hell and nothing happened. >> obviously among eej evangelicals -- >> one of the things i've seen in talking to different evangelical groups is young evangelicals tepid to believe the allegations against roy moore. and in some cases see the church supporting roy moore, see local pastors as a bit of a betrayal. as ana said, this is an us against them sort of thing. they see this as a culture war, older evangelicals. younger evangelicals are definitely a little bit more split and concerned about the fact that supporting roy moore does discredit the church a little bit, does discredit the folks in w.h.o. are maybe attracted to it but are now turned off. that fact is something that will
continue to play out. you'll see a generational divide between evangelicals young and old as the party continues to deal with what may very well be a senator roy moore. >> coming from the evangelical area, i can tell you there is another pushback, god using imperfect vessels, david in the bible or sal, god always using imperfect vessels and i think under the doctrine of forgiveness, a lot of people are saying, you know what, this happened a long time ago. >> he hasn't asked to forgiveness. he's not king david, he's judge roy moore accused of child molestation and who has not repented, brother. >> amen. >> you've got to come to the lord and repent. >> in the very important issue of abortion, he's pro-life. and that makes a big, big difference to these voters. >> all right. we're going to take another break. a quarter of a century since alabama elected a democrat to the u.s. candidate. a scandal, what will it actually take for democrat doug jones to break that streak tonight?
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we've got live pictures of montgomery, alabama. we're back with our breaking news, the coverage of the u.s. senate election in alabama. we're counting down to the first results. joining us now, the mayor of birmingham, alabama. he's a first term democrat. he won a run-off election just two months ago. earlier serve as hillary
clinton's state campaign director. mayor, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me on, wolf. >> all right. you just became the mayor of birmingham. the vote there will be critical to the outcome of tonight. what did you see at the polls today? >> we're encouraged by the turnout so far. i'll tell you with 2 1/2 hours left there is still time for voters in the birmingham area to vote, and honestly i believe the turnout here will be higher among our youth vote as well as our african-american community. >> as you know, the doug jones campaign brought in several national very prominent african-american politicians to campaign this weekend for him, including a robocall from former president obama himself. do you believe that was effective in mobilizing african-american voters or was it, as some in your party fear, too little, too late? >> no, i think this entire election because it's a special election, everything we're doing is centered around turnout and i
think everything doug jones has done up until today with 2 1/2 hours remaining on the polls to close, there is still time to make sure we maximize our turnout. i think tonight should be a good night for us. >> nba legend charles barkley, he compared for doug jones last night. he said alabamans have got to stop looking like idiots. he's a native son of alabama, as you know. do you agree with him that alabamans will look like idiots if roy moore is elected tonight? >> i think sir charles is in a unique space to speak his mind very differently from the majority of us. as an elected official who represents people, what i can tell you, alabamans have something to say. we are decent people. i do believe roy moore represents a threat to integrity and decency, not just for alabama but for our country. that's why i'm supporting and voting for doug jones as well as many other people from birmingham i know and other
alabamans across the state. i think we'll do the right thing tonight. >> some democrats here on cnn have been saying tonight is actually a win-win for their party, either doug jones wins or they get to make roy moore the bogeyman for republican politics. is that how you see it? >> no, how i see it is if decency and integrity are under attack as it relates to those elected official who's represent us, doug jones presents an amazing opportunity to bring leadership to our u.s. capital. i think we have to be in a space to not just be anti-another candidate, but pro our candidate. i'm proud to be pro doug jones. not only what he represents for alabamans and how we move our country forward for fighting for what's right in our country, doug yoens is the right guy to do it. >> congratulations on your win as mayor. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> anderson, back to you.
>> back now with the panel. did democrats, particularly national democrats, take this race seriously enough early enough? >> yes. and i think they took it seriously enough to say, let us not go near that state at all because if we go into that state, we're really going to screw things up. up to the point you saw doug jones, the democrat, basically feigning ignorance on whether barack obama had cut a robocall for him. later we find out that joe biden did. the robocalls are very important and very well could help doug jones win. you have barack obama trying to get out the african-american and the younger voters. joe biden came out of nowhere. the unions are very big in alabama. trial lawyers are very big in alabama. these are folks that have longstanding relationships with joe biden. so the biden phone call i think has been underestimated up until this point. we'll see if it actually works. >> biden is the one who has been encouraging him to run for senate. biden has been a secret cheerleader behind this whole candidacy. >> you made the point a couple of days ago that doug jones doesn't have much of a profile
over the last -- couple of years. >> he really doesn't. by the way, i just want to say roy moore is pro trial bar, ironically. complex guy. he does cut into that -- >> that's an understatement, jack. >> he cuts into that. but, you know, i think because the democrats did not run a top tier candidate and then jones made the mistake of not developing and not defining moore. i think he went under the assumption that moore is the ten commandments guy. he never exploited some of the more whacky statements moore has made and i think a seasoned candidate would have done that. >> the video we're showing, this is roy moore and his wife arriving to vote. roy moore on his horse sassy. which it wasn't until today i think anyone knew his horse's name was sassy. >> it's incredibly for him to show up on a horse because his views are back from an era where
there weren't motorized vehicles. >> to the extent this candidate has been off the campaign trail for the past week, is that a sign of confidence or just a sign of trying to keep him hidden so he doesn't make a mistake? >> both. >> out of sight, out of mind. >> part of it is his campaign can safely assume in alabama you're going to get by default a percentage of the republican vote and most of the vote in the state. so their bet here is that by staying out of the limelight, by not having to answer these questions, they can at least stay away from controversy. one other interesting bit of data from our exit polling here is was that roughly nine in ten of moore's supporters believed that the allegations against him were false. he didn't need to be out there for his people necessarily defendi defending himself. they planted those seeds of doubt. got out of the way. it was for jones to make up that ground. >> out of sight, hopefully the bad stuff is out of mind is the kind of strategy they're
running. congressman, to say the democrats didn't run a top tier candidate, is roy moore a top tier candidate for the republicans? we can't get into comparing top tier. >> luther strange, the -- >> doug jones is a top tier candidate very much. he was a target they wanted. he has been a u.s. attorney. the thing he was most famous for getting justice for the little girls burdener girls murdered. he prosecuted the ku klux klan and arrested -- convicted those men. >> when the sex misconduct came out, remember, it was late stage. he should have already developed his case against moore by then. it should have been the icing on the cake. in fact -- it's his whole race is the sexual --
>> that's not true. that's not not true. if you look at what doug jones has been running on, yes, he's been referring somewhat to the fact that judge moore is credibly accused of child molestation, but he has been true to his background of law enforcement and the guy who took on the ku klux klan in alabama. >> i think the perception that a lot of folks have that i share is that the democrats really did make a mistake by not making a more affirmative case for doug jones. the exit poll data says 60% of the people were really excited about their candidate. i have a hard time believing most of the people excited about their candidate are voting for doug jones, simply because at least from an outsider's perspective, the entire campaign was about roy moore and what he did wrong, about the sexual assault allegations. that may be able -- that may enable the democrats to eek out a victory here, but i'd be surprised if they don't look back and say -- >> in some way it's a miniature replay of the presidential election in 2016. >> and it goes back to what even mayor woodfin just said, you've got to be for something and not
just against. >> polls still open there in alabama. closing in about 2:2two hours a 21 minutes. new information coming in from the exit polls. we'll show you those ahead. purina cat chow. nutrition to build better lives. booking a flight doesn't have to be expensive. just go to priceline. it's the best place to book a flight a few days before my trip and still save up to 40%. just tap and go... for the best savings on flights, go to priceline.
in from our exit polls. david chalian, our political director, is back with us. what else are you learning, david? >> as we've been saying, it's not joust overall turnout that matters, it's the composite of the electorate that matters. we're learning more information about the breakdown of the electorate. take a look at this breakdown by race. 65% of today's voters are white, 30% are black, 2% latino. look at that african-american number. we've been talking about it a lot. that matches sort of the record high turnout we saw in barack obama's elections in 2008 and 2012. these numbers are preliminarily. they may change throughout the night. but these early exit poll numbers show there is a really big african-american turnout today in alabama and we'll see if that holds as real votes come in after polls close. we also took a look at party affiliation. take a look at this. 37% of today's voters are democrats, 43% are republicans. 20% are independents. that is a democratic electorate that looks kind of like we've
seen in 2008 in alabama. and then, of course, the born again evangelical factor, 43% of today's alabama voters are, indeed, born again or evangelical christians. 57% are not. that's a little less than what we saw last year in the presidential election in 2012 when it was 47% evangelical. and abortion has been a huge issue because the candidates differ dramatically on this. 40% of alabama voters today say it should be legal in some or all cases. 54%, a clear majority, say abortion should be illegal. the roy moore position in some or all cases. >> all right, david, stand by. we're going to get back to you with more exit poll numbers. john king is still with us. map this out for us. the state of alabama, african-americans, evangelical voters, all very, very critical. >> if the numbers david gave you hold up, african-american turnout spiking, evangelical turnout lower than the presidential election, doug jones will be in play. emphasis on if they hold up.
let's look at the state of alabama and focus first on the african-american population. the deeper the shading, the higher the population. significant african-american populations here in huntsville, text cloo 15, selma, montgomery -- we saw the increased democratic turnout in virginia and new jersey. can the democrats copy that, emulate that, get that increased democratic intensity, especially an members of congress african-americans in ruby red alabama? it is the only big stepping stone. doug jones absolutely has to have that as his first stepping stone. it's not enough, but if this electorate is 30% african-american, he's presumably getting more than 90% of those votes, he's on a path to be competitive. look at the pockets of it here. it is the absolute critical base vote for the democrats. flip the table a little bit and clean this up. here is roy moore's traditional base. let's come down here to evangelical voters. let me shrink this down so you can see it. again, the deeper the intensity, the higher the population.
this band here in the state, this corner in the southeastern part of the state, absolutely critical for roy moore. they must tourn out in high numbers and he must dominate the vote. to offset, you assume doug jones is going to win in the about ban areas, the rural area is critical. this is the last time the race for state supreme court justice, underperformed mitt romney, struggles in the suburbs, these evangelical voters across the welt in the north and down in the southeast coordinator coming out in big numbers. that was absolutely critical to roy moore. look how close bob vance came. see the blue areas? that's where doug jones has to perform tonight. he has to beat that number, at least match that number. will 48 be enough to win this race? will there be enough write-ins? that's another factor we'll watch. >> fascinating numbers coming in from those exit polls so what would potentially a doug jones victory mean? much more on that as we get ready for the results. n see his.
looking into that. what are you finding out? >> wolf, look at how razor-thin the advantage is for republicans in the senate. they hold 52 seats here, shown here in red. the democrats and their allies, 48 seats. this is why the president is so concerned about this election, because he knows that if roy moore can win, it makes a big difference to their ability to maybe get something done, and they've struggled with major legislation anyway, but if this seat jumps over here, and doug jones gets it instead, it becomes a democratic seat, that could imperil various plans from the white house for different types of border control, budgets, entitlements, and more. because by our assessment, at least a dozen times this year, the republicans needed every single vote they could muster or they would have failed. for example, controversial education secretary, betsy devos, would not have been confirmed if they would have had one fewer republican vote. several other nominees would not have been confirmed without vice president vice president mike pence coming in to cast the
deciding vote. beyond that, remember the dramatic moment when jm caohn mn cast a vote against obamacare repeal that changed everything. that vote would not have even happened, because procedurally, the measure would have died before it made it to that point. there was another measure that would not have happened to strip funds away from planned parenthood. and another measure that allowed them to politic making it easier for people to sue banks and credit card companies, republicans didn't want that, they would have failed, wolf, if they didn't have every republican vote. >> tom, when all of this started, did republicans have any idea they might lose the seat? >> no. i mean, this seemed like a sure thing. jeff sessions left to become the u.s. attorney general. when he left, the governor of alabama appointed a reliable republican, luther strange, to fill in, in the interim. and they all assumed the that he would then become the nominee for the special election and he would win. but he got busted out in the primary by roy moore.
then all of these allegations came along. and here's another reason that they didn't think they would lose. remember, alabama has not elected a democratic senator since back in the 1990s. that was richard shelby, who has since turned into a republican. so they really didn't see this coming, in any way. and an important note in all of this, wolf. again, if they do not hold on to that seat, if they lose one more, remember, that means one fewer seat that the democrats have to defend in next year's elections. >> tom foreman reporting for us. thanks, tom. as the president cast his lot with roy moore, he's also waging an ugly new battle against a democratic senator over the sexual misconduct allegations he's facing. that's coming up.
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find all the answers you're looking for. because getting what you need should be simple, fast, and easy. download the xfinity my account app or go online today. we're back with a special edition of "the situation room." live coverage of the u.s. senate special election in alabama. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. voters, they have another two hours to cast ballots in this high-stakes race that's being closely watched across the country. democrat doug jones is battling against republican, roy moore for a seat that normally would have been a sure bet for the gop. but as many americans know by now, moore has been accused by multiple women of sexual abuse when they were teena