A new statewide poll of Georgia voters shows a statistical tie between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker.
Mr. Warnock, who is running for his first full term after winning an upset special election in 2020, trailed the retired professional football player in a head-to-head match-up by just 3.5 percentage points, right at the poll’s error margin.
The University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs conducted the poll of 872 registered voters between Jan. 13 and 24. The poll, released in conjunction with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week, had an error margin of 3.3 percentage points.
Other Georgia Republicans are vying to take on Mr. Warnock this election cycle, including Georgia’s Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. But the poll also shows Mr. Warnock ahead of Mr. Black by 5.3 percentage points.
The poll also shows President Biden’s approval numbers spiraling downward, with just one-third of registered voters approving of Mr. Biden’s job performance, a steep dip from the pollster’s last survey on the question, which gave the president a 51% approval rating in May.
Georgia GOP political consultant and radio host Martha Zoller told The Washington Times that Mr. Biden’s biggest mistake was to treat Georgia like a blue state.
“If you look back at the runoff in January, there were about 400,000 Republicans that didn’t turn out. Only 150,000 Democrats didn’t turn out for the runoff,” she said. “So there’s still plenty more Republicans in the state.”
The Georgia Senate race is expected to be one of the most expensive this cycle.
Mr. Warnock has raised $9.8 million in the last quarter, while Mr. Walker has raised $5.4 million. According to Federal Election Commission records, the Georgia Democrat has already raised over $44 million for his reelection campaign.
Mr. Walker’s popularity in the state and instant name identification grow out of his career as a Heisman Trophy-winning running back at the University of Georgia and an NFL star later, Ms. Zoller notes.
“It doesn’t hurt that the University of Georgia won the national championship, because that got him in the news. He’s going to have to start talking about policy, but right now, he’s just working around the media, and he’s getting his message out,” she said.
“Warnock was not that strong of a candidate anyway, because we had this Republican battle in the special election, and Rev. Warnock was able to be Christmas lights and puppies. Now, he‘s going to have to actually govern,” she added.
The poll also found Republican Gov. Brian Kemp leading Democrat Stacey Abrams by 7.3 percentage points in a hypothetical gubernatorial rematch.
A potential face-off between Ms. Abrams and Mr. Kemp’s primary opponent, former Sen. David Perdue, shows a statistical tie with Mr. Perdue having a 3.9-point edge.