Take a single look at the final Alabama Senate election numbers, and it might not take long to notice a glaring impact made by a certain group of voters: black women. According to data from exit polls, 98 percent of black women who turned out for the Tuesday, Dec. 12 election voted for Democrat Doug Jones. That 98 percent made black women the group that gave the largest majority of its support to any one candidate, along with Democrats overall, who also voted for Jones at a 98 percent rate.
For comparison, even Republicans gave less of their support to their own candidate, Roy Moore, with exit polls showing that only 91 percent of the GOP electorate voted for Moore on Tuesday night.
The story of black women's turnout isn't simply limited to the overwhelming percentage that voted for Doug Jones, though — even though it does eclipse the 93 percent rate that black women voted at nationally for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Black women also made up 17 percent of all people who voted in Alabama on Tuesday night, which marks disparity of over 50 percent of the black male vote in the same race, which made up 11 percent of the electorate.
In short, black women's turnout helped African-Americans make up 29 percent of all voters on Tuesday night, despite black people only making up about 27 percent of the state's population, per census data.
These facts appeared to not be lost on Jones, who in his victory speech reserved special thanks for minority communities.
On Twitter, people celebrating Jones' victory discussed the impact of black women on Alabama's special election using the hashtag #BlackWomen. One of those people was Tom Perez, the head of the Democratic National Committee.
"Let me be clear:," Perez wrote on Twitter. "We won in Alabama and Virginia because #BlackWomen led us to victory. Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and we can’t take that for granted. Period."
Perez's mention of Virginia is an allusion to the gubernatorial election in the state in early November, which saw a Democratic candidate win a close race. Democrats also picked up a number of state legislature seats, culminating in a victory that was celebrated by the party as a rebuke of President Donald Trump.
Some of the most popular tweets circulating shared after Tuesday's election also followed a theme reciprocating support for black women.
That message was extended onto national television when NBA Hall of Fame inductee and TV personality Charles Barkley spoke on cable news on Tuesday night. Barkley, an Alabama native who attended college in the state at Auburn University, had campaigned for Doug Jones and spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper about what the Senate election victory meant to him.
Here's what Barkley had to say:
This is a wake-up call for Democrats. Democrats, and I told Mr. Jones this, and I love Doug, they've taken the black vote and the poor vote for granted for a long time. It's time for them to get off their ass and start making life better for black folks and people who are poor. They've always had our votes and they have abused our votes and this is a wake-up call. We got in a great position now. But this is a wake-up call for Democrats to do better for black people and poor white people.
Jones will now serve three years in U.S. Senate, picking up where former Sen. Jeff Sessions left in his term when he became President Trump's attorney general. As the Democrat said on Tuesday night, and as exit polls show, his victory is owed in large part to black voters and black women in particular.