U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock leads Republican challenger Herschel Walker 51% to 47%, according to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on a bipartisan Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research poll, the first major poll of the race since the Nov. 8 General Election.
But the results show signs of trouble for both candidates and raises questions about the eventual outcome largely based on who turns out to vote.
Warnock has a heavy advantage among younger voters, with those ages 18-49 favoring him by a 24-point margin. Walker, meanwhile, has a nine-point advantage among voters over 50, a group that is more likely to vote. The poll showed approximately 90% of the older voters were “extremely motivated” to cast about a ballot. Among the younger voters, only about three quarters were similarly motivated. That means Warnock will have to turnout younger voters.
Walker also shows signs of hope among party line voters, who despite controversy that led to Walker losing Republican votes in the General Election appear to now be offering their support. In the November race, which neither candidate managed to reach the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff, Walker received far fewer votes than fellow Republican Brian Kemp, who easily defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams for re-election as Governor.
But, Warnock is leading among independent voters 54% to 39%. Non-partisan voters make up about 27% of the total electorate, according to L2 voter data.
Warnock is also enjoying outsized support among genders, with women favoring him by 11 points while men favor Walker by just 5 points. And he has a slightly higher positive impression among voters, with 51% viewing him favorably compared to just 45% who view Walker favorably, likely an outcome from reports about Walker from two ex-girlfriends who claim he, an ardent abortion opponent, paying for their abortions.
The two are facing a Dec. 6 runoff election, which will determine whether Democrats grow their slimmest possible majority in the Senate from a current 50/50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote to a 51/49 outright majority.