Georgia Senate showdown: Poll suggests negative view of Democratic Party a drag on Warnock

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A new public opinion poll in the crucial general election battleground state of Georgia indicates that Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is viewed more favorably by registered voters than his Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

But the survey from Monmouth University, which was released on Wednesday, suggests that poor opinions of the Democratic Party in the Peach State are keeping the race between Warnock and Walker close. 

The Senate election in Georgia is one of a handful across the country that will likely determine if the GOP wins back the Senate majority in November’s midterms.

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Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock

Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock (Republican National Convention/Handout via Reuters | Tom Williams/Pool via Reuters)

According to the poll of registered voters, which was conducted Sept. 15-19, Warnock has a 48%-44% favorable rating while Walker is underwater at 42%-48%. But the race between the two candidates is closer, according to the poll, with 45% saying they would definitely or probably vote for Warnock and 41% saying the same of Walker.

The survey indicates that the image among Georgia voters of the Democratic Party (44%-55%) is notably more negative than that of the GOP (53%-47%). Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray cited “the drag caused by a weak Democratic brand in Georgia” as a contributing factor in the close Senate race.

Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach, defeated GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler by a razor-thin margin to capture the seat in the January 2021 runoff election, prompting Republicans to view him as very vulnerable in his re-election bid for a full six-year term.

Sen. Raphael Warnock in the U.S. Capitol on May 24, 2022.

Sen. Raphael Warnock in the U.S. Capitol on May 24, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Walker, who won a Heisman Trophy and helped steer the University of Georgia to a college football national championship four decades ago, jumped into the GOP race to face off against Warnock a year ago, after months of support and encouragement to run for the Senate by former President Donald Trump, his longtime friend.

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Thanks to his legendary status among many in Georgia and his immense, favorable name recognition in the Peach State, Walker easily captured the Republican nomination in May over a handful of lesser-known rivals.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released on Tuesday indicated Walker had a slight two-point advantage, while a Marist College survey showed Warnock with a similar two-point edge. An average of all the most recent public opinion polls compiled by Real Clear Politics shows the showdown is tied.

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