Democrats are 8 points behind in Alabama’s Senate race. In 2016, they lost by 29.

Democrats dreaming of an improbable steal of an Alabama Senate seat in December just got a promising piece of evidence.

On Tuesday, a new poll from the firm JMC Analytics showed Democrat Doug Jones 8 points behind Republican nominee Roy Moore, a former judge who believes that the Constitution forbids Muslims from serving in Congress and that abortion should be illegal from the moment of conception, regardless of circumstance.

Alabama is among the most conservative states in the country — Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) was reelected in 2016 by 30 points — but the relatively close margin from this poll may catch Democrats’ attention. As Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti reports, top national Democrats are currently weighing whether to heavily invest resources into the race:

Vox’s Matt Yglesias has urged national Democrats to go all-in on Alabama, and noted again on Tuesday that there aren’t many other elections this year where liberals can direct their anti-Trump energies.

Meanwhile, the poll contained warning signs for Republicans nationally. At the Washington Examiner, David Drucker notes that the survey showed the GOP only ahead 4 points on the Alabama “generic ballot” — which asks whether voters simply prefer a Democrat or a Republican. That’s a remarkably small lead for Alabama.

“The closer generic margin is indicative of a more challenging partisan environment [for Republicans] next year,” John Couvillon, the pollster who runs JMC Analytics, told Drucker. “Or let me put it this way: If Alabama does not have a 60 percent Republican tilt to it … that would be disastrous in less conservative states next fall.”

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