Warnock, Walker in dead heat for Ga. Senate seat, new poll finds

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 12:51 PM EST
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ATLANTA (Atlanta News First) - A new poll ahead of next week’s nationally watched Senate runoff shows Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock is still locked in a virtual tie with Republican Herschel Walker.

The Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of Georgia voters ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff finds Warnock with 49% support and Walker with 47%, with 4% undecided.

With undecided voters’ support allocated, Warnock leads 51% to 49%. The poll’s margin of error is plus/minus 3.2 percentage points, and was conducted Nov. 28-30, 2022, among 888 very likely voters.

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“Warnock’s base lies with voters under 50, a 55% majority support him for re-election, whereas Walker holds a similar 55% majority among voters over 50,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said. “The early vote breaks for Warnock by about 29 points, 63% to 34%, whereas those who have yet to cast their ballot break for Walker by eight points 52% to 44%.”

Regardless of whom voters support, 57% expect Warnock to be re-elected, while 43% expect Walker to win.

“Despite the ballot test being well within the poll’s margin of error, a Walker win would surprise the majority of voters,” Kimball said. “About one in five Republicans expect their nominee to lose. This reflects a significant shift since the last pre-general election poll earlier this month, where voters were nearly 50-50 if Warnock or Walker would win.”

President Joe Biden holds a 42% approval among Georgia runoff voters, while 52% disapprove of the job he is doing. Since the final pre-general election Emerson poll, Biden’s approval has increased by one percentage point and his disapproval has held at 52%.

In a hypothetical 2024 presidential election between Biden and Donald Trump, 44% of runoff voters would vote for Biden and 43% for Trump. Eleven percent would vote for someone else and 2% are undecided. However, in an election between Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 47% would vote for DeSantis and 43% for Biden. Six percent would vote for someone else and 4% are undecided.

“Among Georgia independent voters, Biden leads Trump by six points in a hypothetical contest, with 20% supporting ‘someone else,’” Kimball said. “However, when the matchup is Biden vs. DeSantis, the Republican leads by three points, and only 8% support ‘someone else.’”

The economy remains the top issue for Georgia voters, with 43% saying it is the most important issue in determining their vote in the runoff, followed by “threats to democracy” (13%) and abortion access (12%). Since the general election, the economy has decreased in concern by three percentage points, while concern for “threats to democracy” and abortion access have increased one point respectively.