With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock retains a slight edge over Republican challenger and former college and pro football star Herschel Walker, according to a new public opinion poll in the crucial state of southeast battlefield.
Forty-nine percent of respondents in a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday said they would definitely or probably vote for Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach, with 44% saying the same about Walker, who won a Heisman Trophy and helped lead the University of Georgia to a college football national championship four decades ago.
But the poll’s release notes that among “extremely motivated” voters, Warnock’s advantage narrows to 49%-48%. An average of all the most recent surveys of the race compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates that Warnock holds an extremely slim advantage over Walker.
The high-profile and costly Senate battle in Georgia is one of a handful of races across the country that will likely determine whether Republicans win back the majority of the chamber in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
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Four in ten respondents polled in the Monmouth poll, which was conducted October 20-24, said they would definitely not vote for Warnock, with 46% saying the same of Walker. And the survey also indicates that Warnock holds a positive/unfavorable rating of 51% to 43%, while Walker was underwater at 43% favorable and 52% unfavorable.
“Walker’s path to victory is narrow, but he’s still there. He needs to get enough voters to ignore their apprehensions about him to come to his support or benefit from a turnout disparity among grassroots voters in the two parties. At this point, the latter option seems to be his best bet,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Walker’s campaign says their internal poll numbers indicate the GOP nominee holds a slight advantage over Warnock.
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Warnock narrowly edged out Republican Senator Kelly Loeffer in the Georgia Senate runoff on January 5, 2020. Her victory along with Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff’s slim victory over GOP Senator David Perdue gave Democrats a majority in the Senate .
And with the new poll indicating that one percent said they would definitely vote for Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver and another nine percent saying they would likely vote for Oliver, there’s a chance the 2022 Senate election in Georgia are also heading for a runoff. Under Georgia law, if no candidate tops 50% of the vote on Nov. 8, the Senate race will go to a runoff between the top two voters, with that round taking place four weeks later on Dec. 6.
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More than a million Georgians – a midterm record – voted in the first eight days of early voting, according to new figures Wednesday from Georgia’s secretary of state.
Thanks to his legendary status among many in Georgia and his immense favorable name recognition, Walker was the overwhelming favorite for the GOP Senate nomination and basically ignored the field of lesser-known major rivals, refusing to participate in the debates as he concentrated. his campaign on Warnock. Walker ended up beating his rivals in the May primary, but soon came under fire at the start of the general election.
Walker has been heavily criticized both on the campaign trail and in ads for what Democrats call his many “bizarre or false statements.” A Warnock campaign TV ad that ran over the summer highlighted Walker’s past comments that he had a “haze” that would “kill any COVID on your body”.
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Walker also took fire over numerous reports that he exaggerated the success of his businesses and his academic record.
And even before facing explosive allegations in September and October that he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion 13 years ago – which he denied – Walker was forced to play defense over a a number of other personal controversies, including accusations of past abuse and threats against his first wife and acknowledging the children he fathered out of wedlock and whom he had yet to publicly mention, although he criticized absent fathers for decades.