- Warnock has a 50%-46% lead over Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff, per a new SurveyUSA poll.
- Independents, a critical slice of the Georgia electorate, backed Warnock over Walker by 13 points.
- Warnock’s backers largely indicated that their vote was driven by their support of the senator.
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia has a four-point lead over Republican candidate Herschel Walker in the state’s high-profile December 6 Senate runoff, according to a new poll conducted by SurveyUSA for 11Alive News.
The survey showed Warnock with 50% support among likely voters in the Peach State, while Walker received 46% support; four percent of respondents were undecided.
In the poll, Warnock enjoyed near-unanimous support (95%) among Democrats, while Walker earned the backing of 87% of Republicans; 11% of GOP respondents crossed party lines to support Warnock over Walker in the survey.
Independents, a critical slice of the Georgia electorate, backed Warnock by 13-percentage points (51%-38%) over Walker.
In the survey, Walker was ahead with white voters 64%-32%, while Warnock led among Black (87%-9%) and Hispanic (65%-32%) voters.
Warnock performed strongly among respondents in the populous Atlanta metropolitan area, leading Walker in the region by 26 points (61%-35%).
During the general election and the runoff, a focus on voter enthusiasm has been a major part of the turnout strategies for both the Democratic and Republican parties.
And as the runoff enters its final few days, Democratic respondents were more likely to indicate that their vote was a sign of support for Warnock than a vote against Walker, while a near-majority of Republican voters said their vote was driven by their opposition to Warnock.
Among Warnock voters, 76% of respondents said their vote was powered by their support of the senator, while 22% noted that their vote was more about opposition to Walker.
When it came to Walker voters, 50% of respondents said their vote was cast in support of the former University of Georgia football star, while 47% indicated that their vote was more about opposition to Warnock.
For over two years now, Georgia has been the center of the political universe, with both parties lining up to spend millions of dollars on a slew of races.
While Georgia had long leaned toward the GOP, Democrats made major inroads in the state in 2020. President Joe Biden narrowly won the state over then-President Donald Trump that year, while Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff won the dual runoff elections in January 2021, which handed control of the United States Senate to their party.
However, while Democrats performed strongly in the 2022 midterms across the country — retaining their Senate majority while mitigating losses in the House — the party’s candidates in Georgia largely struggled this year.
Stacey Abrams, the breakout star of the 2018 midterms and the architect of Georgia’s recent Democratic victories, was unable to defeat incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who easily won reelection to a second term. And from the state lieutenant governor race and the secretary of state contest to the insurance commissioner race and the agriculture commissioner election, Republicans were victorious.
Warnock, who came out ahead of Walker 49.4%-48.5% in the general election, was the only statewide Democrat to lead his Republican challenger in November. Because no candidate received 50% of the vote at the time, a runoff election was triggered.
However, due to Republican-led changes in the state’s election law after the 2020 election, the period between the general election and runoff was shortened from nine weeks to four weeks, giving the candidates a more compressed timeframe to mobilize voters.
Warnock is seeking a full six-year term after winning the January 2021 runoff to fill the remaining term of Johnny Isakson, the veteran Republican lawmaker who retired from the Senate in December 2019 and passed away in December 2021.
Walker, a former NFL player who has run a campaign heavily tailored to base conservatives, has sought to paint Warnock as too closely tied to Biden.
SurveyUSA polled 1,214 likely voters from November 26 through November 30; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.