New polling shows Raphael Warnock, Herschel Walker facing tight race in Georgia runoff

Two new polls show U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, locked in a tight race for the Georgia seat just one week before the Dec. 6 runoff election.

A poll from FrederickPolls, COMPETE Digital and AMM Political shows the two tied at 50% support each. Another, from Phillips Academy, shows another statistical tie, with Walker up 1 percentage point, well within the poll’s margin of error. 

The FrederickPolls survey shows some potential challenges for Warnock. Of respondents who said they voted for Republican Brian Kemp in the November General Election, but crossed party lines to vote for Warnock in the Senate race, 11% said they will now switch their support and vote for Walker. And Walker holds 94% of those who cast a ballot for Kemp in November, according to poll results. 

Meanwhile, voters who either like or dislike both candidates significantly are choosing to vote for Walker, at more than 80%. That share accounts for 12% of all surveyed. 

The poll also shows most voters have already made their choice, with 97% saying they will definitely vote for their preferred candidate. Among the 3% who said they may yet be swayed, Warnock had a 2 percentage point edge over Walker. 

But Walker shows signs of hope among independent voters who back him 52% to 48%. 

Warnock is also more likable, with 48% saying they like him better to only 40% who say they like Walker better. 

The Phillips Academy survey offers some different takes. Unlike the FrederickPolls survey that found Warnock leading among independents, its poll shows Walker with the advantage there, at 3 percentage points. It also polled suburban voters, who showed similar favoritism toward Walker. Both are considered swing demographics. 

The Phillips poll showed expected trends among demographics, with Warnock leading among women (53%), college graduates (56%), low-income voters (61%) and Black voters (84%.) Walker, meanwhile, led among White voters (66%) and rural voters (64%.) The two were tied among men.

A previous AARP Georgia poll contradicts both of the newer polls, with Warnock showing a 4 percentage point lead over Walker. 

Walker is facing a tough campaign, marred by negative headlines regarding allegations from two ex-girlfriends that he paid for their abortions. Both accusers have offered evidence to support their allegations, but Walker denies their claims and insists he did not pay for them to terminate pregnancies. Walker opposes abortion. He’s also faced backlash over false, misleading or exaggerated comments and Warnock’s campaign has sought to paint the former NFL star as unqualified to serve. 

Early voting is already underway in Georgia and runs through Friday before Tuesday’s Election. 

Democrats have already secured a majority in the Senate, with a 50/50 split that has Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. If Warnock wins re-election, Democrats will grow their majority to 51/49, and eliminate the need for a power-sharing agreement with Republicans. 

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