Poll: Raphael Warnock has an edge over Herschel Walker, but it’s far from a landslide

A new Monmouth University poll, released Wednesday, shows U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, with 45% of voters saying they will either definitely or probably voter for him and only 41% saying the same for Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Likewise, Warnock’s favorability rating is higher than Walker’s, with 48% of voters viewing him positively while the same percentage of voters view Walker unfavorably.

“More voters have definitely ruled out a candidate than are certain to back either Warnock or Walker. That means a sizable group of voters will end up casting ballots for someone they are not sold on, that is if they turn out to vote at all,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Voter turnout is likely to be a key issue in the race, according to poll results. Among those surveyed who said they were definitely voting for a candidate, 76% of Warnock voters said they were extremely motivated to vote in this year’s election, while only 70% said the same for Walker. But among those who indicated only probable support for a candidate, only 46% of those leaning toward Warnock said they were extremely motivated to vote, while 49% said the same for Walker.

Voters focused more on rights and the democratic process (72%) are more likely to hit the polls than those who prioritize the economy (54%).

“The two candidates are evenly matched when it comes to key economic issues, but Warnock has a slight edge on democracy concerns. The economy may be a higher priority for most Georgia voters, but this group tends to be less motivated to go to the polls than other voters. This is one reason why Warnock is holding on against Walker despite the drag caused by a weak Democratic brand in Georgia,” Murray said.

Warnock also has the edge on top issues facing voters, but it’s close.

Voters polled indicated inflation (36%) the economy (25%) as top concerns, with illegal immigration (17%) and abortion (14%) trailing. On the issue of jobs, the economy and cost of living, 39% said they believed Warnock was better equipped to bring results, while 37% chose Walker. Warnock holds a more commanding lead on abortion at 39% to 30%, but voters are nearly split on immigration, with 37% favoring Warnock on the issue and 36% siding with Walker.

But Democrats’ image among voters trails Republicans’, with 44% of surveyed voters viewing the party favorably and 55% unfavorably. Meanwhile, 53% of voters view the Republican Party favorably while only 47% view it unfavorably.

The Georgia Senate race is one of the most closely watched races and the outcome could, again, determine which political party controls the Senate after the midterm elections. The chamber is currently split at 50/50 among Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone September 15-19 among 601 registered Georgia voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points.

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