Women in Alabama voted largely for Democrat candidate Doug Jones in yesterday’s heated senate election, according to CNN exit polls. The defeat of the Donald Trump-favored Republican Roy Moore also marked the first time in 25 years that Alabama elected a Democrat senator.
The CNN exit poll shows that overall 57% of women voted to elect Jones, best known for prosecuting two members of the Ku Klux Klan responsible for bombing Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, which killed four black girls in 1963. But a breakdown of the data by gender and race shows that women didn’t vote uniformly. (Moore, on the other hand, picked up 56% of male voters).
Whilst 98% of black women voted for Jones, just 34% of white women did the same. In short, nearly two-thirds of white women voted instead for Moore, the Republican candidate whose campaign was riddled with allegations of child molestation. He has also been a strident voice against LGBT rights and called Islam a “false religion.” The exit polls also show that 93% of black men backed Jones, compared with 26% of white men.
The exit poll had also explored the role that education had played among white voters. Just over 50% of white women with college degrees had backed Moore, compared with 62% of white men with college degrees. Over 70% of white women without college experience voted for Moore, compared with 79% of men without college experience.
The gender and race breakdown of Alabama’s senate election was reminiscent of last year’s presidential election, where black women overwhelmingly voted for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. The majority of non-college educated black women (95%) voted for Clinton, compared with 34% of white women. The numbers were just as stark among college educated women, with 91% of college educated black women voting for Clinton, compared with 51% of white women with college experience.
With votes showing a jump in voter turnout in the counties with the highest black populations, there are now calls for Democrats to listen more closely to their base: black women.