Oct 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Warning for Walker, new boost for Kemp in Georgia

Data: AJC poll; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Republican Herschel Walker's standing with female, Black and independent voters was slipping even before damaging allegations from an ex-girlfriend, according to new polling from the University of Georgia for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other members of the Georgia News Collaborative.

But, but, but: The Senate race was still neck-and-neck. Undecided voters and a third-party candidate could force it to a runoff, according to the findings, which were shared with Axios.

The big picture: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's (R) lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams — now 51% to 41% — widened in the survey, but Walker's previous lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) did not.

Between the lines: Warnock's 46% to 43% edge over Walker is within the margin of error, too narrow to be seen as a statistical lead. Libertarian Chase Oliver was at 4%.

  • The previous AJC/UGA poll, conducted from early-to-mid September, showed Walker at 46% and Warnock at 44%. If the findings do capture a trend, it's a warning sign for the former football star whom the GOP hoped would flip U.S. Senate control.

What they're saying: In his story, the AJC's Greg Bluestein quotes Blake Briese, a financial adviser in Fulton County who plans to back Kemp in the governor’s race but worries that Walker isn't "cut out for the task."

  • “I just feel like Raphael Warnock is a better candidate, even though he’s going to caucus with the Democrats," Briese says.
  • The AJC notes that "about 9% of Kemp’s voters back Warnock, and an additional 5% say they’ll vote for Oliver. About 4% are undecided. By contrast, only 1% of Abrams’ voters back Walker."

Details: The poll of likely general election voters, conducted by UGA political scientist Trey Hood, closed one day after the first report detailing allegations by an unnamed former girlfriend and the mother to one of his children.

Zoom in: Support for Warnock between the two surveys grew by 8.6 percentage points among women, 11.8 points among Black voters and 6.9 points among independents.

  • White respondents and those with high school degrees or less maintained a wide preference for Walker over Warnock.

Disclosure: The AJC and Axios are both owned by Cox Enterprises, but Axios did not participate in the administration of the poll.

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