Raphael Warnock is four percentage points ahead of Herschel Walker in a new CNN poll of the Georgia runoff election in which both are vying for a Senate seat. Warnock is the Democratic incumbent, while Walker, the Republican in the race, has Trump’s support.
The outcome of the race could have decided control of the Senate for the next two years, but after Democrats held onto a closely contested Senate seat in Nevada that’ll no longer be the case. Still, it could have significant impacts on a scale broader than Georgia. If Warnock wins, the Democratic majority will be at 51, meaning Democrats in the chamber will be that much less dependent on the whims of figures like Manchin and Sinema. It would also bulk up the majority against potentially future GOP wins in the next two years and beyond. For Georgia, re-electing Warnock would mean the state will have someone with a documented record of public service in office, instead of Walker, who has been caught in lies over — and questions about the reality of — his academic, business, and personal backgrounds. He has even tried to characterize himself as having worked as a police officer or broadly in law enforcement, despite no apparent real-world evidence whatsoever for any serious position.
In the CNN poll, 52 percent of likely voters picked Warnock, while 48 percent selected Walker. The survey was conducted through part of the in-person early voting period in the state. Hundreds of thousands cast ballots in-person across the state each day of the just concluded work week, although the overall total of ballots cast was lower than the total from early voting in the November election because voting didn’t go on as long. Warnock and Walker went to a runoff election because neither cracked 50 percent in the first round as legally required, although Warnock got more votes overall, suggesting — alongside his recent fundraising totals tens of millions ahead of Walker — that he’s in a strong position heading into the Tuesday election. Early voting, at least in person, is now closed.
Warnock was viewed significantly more positively than Walker by likely voters, with 52 percent saying Warnock was better-described as well-qualified to serve as senator, while only 27 percent picked Walker. On convincing voters they have the right priorities and would represent the state effectively, the results were closer. Former President Barack Obama recently stopped by Georgia for another event in favor of Warnock, where he sought to characterize Walker as just unfit for the job of Senator. There are even questions about his residency, since he has continued claiming a homestead exemption on a Texas residence while registering, voting, and running in Georgia, leading to calls including from a state Senator for investigations.