Poll: Incumbents Raphael Warnock, Brian Kemp lead challengers

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, leads his Republican challenger by 5 percentage points, according to a new poll from Fox News.

The poll shows the power of incumbency, with the survey also showing Republican Gov. Brian Kemp with a widening lead over his Democratic challenger, Stacey Abrams.

The poll, released Wednesday, shows Warnock leading former NFL star Herschel Walker 46% to 41%, a slight bump from a previous Fox poll that put Warnock four points ahead in the race.

Still, Warnock’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, which is +/- 3 points, and leaves 13% of those polled still undecided in the race or committed to voting for someone else.

Warnock’s lead is buoyed by party loyalty — 95% of Democrats support the incumbent while only 82% of Republicans indicated support for Walker. And the poll could show a coming referendum on former President Donald Trump, with only 36% of self-identified Republicans saying they supported the Make America Great Again movement more than the Republican Party as a whole (44%). Further, 94% of polled “MAGA” voters indicated support for Walker while only 71% of those who said they identified more with the GOP than Trump support Walker.

Trump endorsed Walker last year.

Meanwhile, incumbent Gov. Kemp is enjoying a 3 percentage point bump in the polls to 50% since July. Abrams, who is challenging Kemp this year, had little movement at 43% support.

Among those who said they were certain to vote, 51% back Kemp while only 44% support Abrams.

Both candidates have strong party loyalty, with 94% of Republicans backing Kemp and 91% of Democrats supporting Abrams. But Abrams isn’t capturing as much support from Black voters as some have predicted, with just 80% saying they planned to vote for her in the November election. That’s down from a Fox News Voter Analysis election survey in which 94% of respondents backed Abrams.

Kemp has also managed to capture crucial support from independent voters. In a July poll, Abrams led among independents by 15 percentage points. In the latest poll, Kemp now has a 12 percentage point lead.

Both races are being watched nationwide as Republicans hope to capitalize on a midterm election that, historically, favors the party not in power in the White House. But, Democrats remain hopeful that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and shifting abortion regulation to state control could give them a boost this cycle.

Democrats are fighting to maintain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while both parties eye a majority in the equally divided U.S. Senate.

Warnock, in early 2021, narrowly won his runoff race to give Democrats the tie in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.

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