Republicans in Georgia’s top midterm races have an edge over their Democrat opponents, according to a poll published Tuesday.
The poll, conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and University of Georgia Survey Research Center, found Republican Herschel Walker leading incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) by two points, 46 percent to 44 percent. Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver received three percent, and seven percent of respondents said they were undecided.
The poll is the latest to suggest Walker, a well-liked former Georgia football star, has picked up momentum in the race, and the poll aligns with most polls since August that have shown Walker making small gains on Warnock.
Warnock, who is not only down but also not near the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, has reason to be concerned about the poll results.
The Georgia Democrat has dipped two points overall since the last AJC poll taken in July, and in a race where both candidates are black, among black voters Warnock is down significantly from where a vulnerable incumbent Democrat typically aims to be.
Warnock has 77 percent support from black voters compared to Walker’s nine percent. While Walker has maintained that vote share since the July poll, Warnock’s support from black voters has fallen from the 85 percent he received in July.
Georgia is a top battleground where the U.S. Senate race is one of just a few races in the country that could determine which party controls the Senate next year.
Walker campaign spokesman Will Kiley pointed to “dark money” hurting Warnock’s race prospects in a statement to Breitbart News, saying, “No amount of dark money from California and New York can help Raphael Warnock buy the people’s Senate seat.”
“No matter what the numbers show, Herschel will continue to work harder than anyone else to show the people of Georgia that he is the best choice in this race,” Kiley added.
In the swing state’s other top race, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has expanded his lead from five points in the last AJC poll to now eight points over Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams.
Kemp received 50 percent, Abrams received 42 percent, and six percent of respondents said they were undecided.
The grim results for Abrams led to one pro-Abrams pollster opining on social media that the AJC, Georgia’s largest newspaper, had published “bad polling.” Evoking one of Abrams’ top issues since her first gubernatorial loss in 2018, the pollster added, “This seems a lot like voter suppression by poll.”
— Cody Hall (@CodyHallGA) September 20, 2022
Aside from the Senate and gubernatorial contests, the AJC noted “Democrats fare no better” in other races in the state further down ticket.
The poll was conducted September 5 to 16 among 861 likely general election voters and had a margin of error was plus or minus 3.3 percent.