The upcoming special election in Alabama yields intriguing insights. A meticulous new CBS News poll of voters in the state reveals that 71 percent of Alabama Republicans say the allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore are false. Of this group, 92 percent believe "Democrats are behind the charges" which surfaced in mid-November claiming Mr. Moore allegedly pursued underage girls during the 1970s. And 88 percent of GOP voters say that "newspapers and the media" are behind the allegations.
"The Senate contest looks highly dependent on turnout. Moore has a lead over Democrat Doug Jones, 49 to 43 percent, among the likely voters who are most apt to vote on December 12th," the poll analysis reports.
And a quick aside: Politico analyst Bill Scher suggests that Bill, Hillary or Chelsea Clinton should run for Sen. Tom Cotton's seat should the Arkansas Republican leave his post to become CIA director in 2018. But that's a whole different story.
Meanwhile, the CBS poll also reveals that one-third of Alabama Republicans say they're not concerned about the allegations against Mr. Moore, while 53 percent say the claims of misconduct "are a concern but that other things matter more." Like ideology: half say they support Mr. Moore because they want a lawmaker "who will cast conservative votes" once in office.
"Forty-nine percent of Moore voters say their vote in the Alabama Senate race is in support of President Trump, and 23 percent say the president's comments about the race, specifically, have made them more likely to back Moore. Among all registered voters, the President has a 57 percent approval rating in the state. Among Moore's voters, it is an astounding 96 percent approval," the poll reports.
ALL THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE
Time magazine's official "Person of the Year" won't be announced until Wednesday. But the news organization has been polling its readers on who should win the title for weeks. The voting ends Monday.
"Time's editors ultimately have jurisdiction over who is deemed Person of the Year - but the reader plays an important role. Time's annual Person of the Year poll provides the editors a window into who you think most shaped 2017," the magazine advises prospective voters.
The list of contenders is extensive. Here are the folks in the current top-20, exactly as they appear in the reader poll results - which is without their official titles:
Mohammed bin Salman is in first place, followed by "Me Too" victims of sexual misconduct, the illegal immigrant "Dreamers," Colin Kaepernick, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, James B. Comey, Justin Trudeau, Carmen Yulin Cruz, Pope Francis, Jimmy Kimmel, Emmanuel Macron, John McCain, Rose McGowan, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Taylor Swift, President Trump and Maxine Waters.
MADE IN AMERICA
For conscientious gift-givers at this time of year: The Alliance for American Manufacturing offers the "2017 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide" which includes ideas from every state in the union and the District of Columbia.
We're talking soaps, pet toys, baby items, baskets, candy, linens, candles, dishware and beard balm, among the many items. Find the free guide at Americanmanufacturing.org.
ON THE SCENT
The ongoing special investigation of possible Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials generates plenty of commentary - like this observation from Mike Huckabee following the removal of FBI counterintelligence division agent Peter Strzok from the proceedings.
"This whole investigation quite frankly stinks worse than cabbage cooking in a small, unventilated kitchen - with sardines on the side," Mr. Huckabee told Fox News on Sunday. "There needs to be an investigation of the investigation."
AL GORE AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS
Al Gore is still alarmed and obsessed by climate issues, global warming, fossil fuels and all the other nightmares of the eco-minded. On Monday, the former vice president is at the helm of "24 Hours of Reality," a big noisy outreach which will be broadcast online for 24 hours and combines musical performances and climate tirades from activists, assorted officials, "thought leaders" and famous folk.
"The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time - we can, we must, and we will solve it," Mr. Gore tweeted Sunday.
Among his guests: California Gov. Jerry Brown, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, mogul Richard Branson, and entertainers Annie Lennox, Belinda Carlisle, Iggy Pop, Tea Leoni, Jason Mraz, and Helen Hunt. Curious? Find the broadcast at 24Hoursofreality.org beginning at 6 p.m. EST.
BIG MAC ATTACK
"McDonald's opened its first branch in the historic heart of communist Hanoi, a conservative city renowned for its traditional - and cheap - Vietnamese staples beloved by food-obsessed locals. Hungry customers lined up for Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets at the Vietnamese capital's first location overlooking the tree-lined Hoan Kiem lake, in a city that draws millions of tourists annually to see French-era colonial buildings and sample street-food favorites like pho noodle soup and banh mi sandwiches," reports Agence France Presse.
"The restaurant is the first outside of the southern commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City, where 16 branches have opened since McDonald's first came to Vietnam in 2014 to much fanfare, especially among the rapidly-growing middle class and American-obsessed youth. The global fast food chain received a similarly warm welcome in Hanoi as hungry diners crammed into the two-story eatery for a first taste of the Golden Arches," the news service said.
POLL DU JOUR
• 24 percent overall say people are "more likely" to say Merry Christmas this year than in previous years; 47 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.
• 47 percent of Americans say people are equally likely to say "Merry Christmas" this year as before; 35 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.
• 14 percent overall say people are "less likely" to say Merry Christmas this year; 12 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.
• 15 percent overall are unsure of what people choose to say; 6 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A YouGov Omnibus Poll of 7,063 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 29.
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