Seeing an opportunity to mock evangelical Christians, CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Monday cited a poll from last week about support among Alabamans for Senate candidate Roy Moore, whereby Colbert claimed an "Alabama evangelical" is not what it seems and "it makes me want to puke."
The poll, taken on Nov. 9 and 11, asked several questions, including, "Given the allegations that have come out about Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct against four underage women, are you more or less likely to support him as a result of these allegations?" 29% of the respondents said they were "more likely" to support Moore and 38% said they were "less likely" to support him. Another 33% said the allegations made "no difference."
The poll also reported that 58% of respondents described themselves as "evangelical Christian" and 27% did not. Another 15% were undecided. From that data, Newsweek ran a headline, "Alabama Evangelicals More Likely to Support Roy Moore After Sexual Assault Allegations, Poll Shows."
The poll question, however, was misleading. As The Washington Post reported in its Nov. 9 story, only one woman alleged that Moore had made sexual advacnes towards her when she was 14; the other three women -- between ages 16 and 18 at the time -- said Moore pursued them but did not force them "into any sort of relationship or sexual contact."
The poll question about "sexual misconduct against four underage women" was factually misleading. That apparently didn't matter to Newsweek or to Stephen Colbert and CBS Late Night, and it led to the insult against evangelical Christians.
As Colbert played it: "By now, you’ve probably heard of Alabama senatorial candidate, former judge, and human Cracker Barrel hybrid Roy Moore. Last week, allegations surfaced that when Moore was an assistant district attorney in the 1970s he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old, which would be appropriate only if he were a 14-year-old assistant district attorney – kind of like a ‘Douchy Houser.’ Now, I’d watch that show, a horror show. Moore, to defend himself, he went on the Hannity radio [show] to strongly make things much worse."
Sean Hannity (audio): “Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?” Roy Moore: “Not generally, no.”
Colbert: “Not generally, no, but specifically, you betcha! But again, not generally. Most of the time. Most of the time I am not touching teenagers. For example, I’m not touching one right now – oh, I am? Thank God this is radio. Then Moore clarified [on the radio].”
Moore (audio): “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
Colbert: “Wait, what, how did you just make this creepier? Permission from her mother? She’s a 14-year-old girl. Not a field trip. You’d think all of this would immediately disqualify him as a candidate. But according to a recent poll [graphic on screen], Alabama evangelicals are more likely to support Roy Moore after sexual assault allegations.
"Oh, okay, I see. So, ‘Alabama evangelical’ is like ‘Long Island Iced Tea.’ It isn’t what it says it is and it makes me want to puke."
In its so-called news story, Newsweek also used phrases such as "allegations that he molested children," and "the Post report that he sexually molested four teenage girls." Only one woman alleged that Moore molestd her, not "four teenage girls."
Moore has not been charged with any crime and none of the allegations against him have been proven in a court of law.
However, the allegations and new details are having a tremendous impact in the public square and raising questions about Judge Moore's credibility. As of Nov. 15, Moore was still planning to continue with his senatorial campaign.
More than 20 U.S. Republican senators have said Moore should drop out of the Senate race and numerous others have said that if the allegations are true, he should step down.
The Republican National Committee has pulled financial support from Moore's campaign.