New poll shows Kemp and Warnock ahead

A day before the Nov. 8 midterm election, Georgia candidates are making last-day appeals in races for governor and senator, including Gov. Brian Kemp (top right) and Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (top left) leading their challengers Stacey Abrams (bottom right) and Herschel Walker (bottom left). (Brynn Anderson/Megan Varner/AP Photos)

A new poll by the Georgia News Collaborative, which includes WABE, shows Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock leading their challengers Stacey Abrams and Herschel Walker. 

The survey revealed big gaps between candidates from the same party.

The poll was conducted the last week of September into the first few days of October and did not fully capture how abortion and abuse allegations against Walker are reverberating on the campaign trail.

But already voters identifying themselves as Republicans supported Kemp by 94% while Walker was pulling in 84% in the poll. Kemp was also outpacing Walker among voters who called themselves moderates or independents.

WDUN conservative radio host Martha Zoller says she’s aware that Republicans are pulling away from Walker.  

“I know that there are a lot of Republicans out there questioning whether they’re gonna vote for Herschel Walker or not. I know that because they’re calling me, they’re emailing me and they’re talking to me,” she said on a recent program.

The survey did interview more people who identified as Republicans than Democrats. It includes 50.3% Republicans, 42.5% Democrats and 7.2% independents. Because people can change party affiliation in Georgia, it was not used as a weighting factor. The poll did weigh for age, gender, race and education.

But on the Democratic side, the poll shows a gap amongst Black voters, with Warnock pulling 89% and Abrams at 81%.

Abrams is critical of past polls that showed similar gaps. She says they underestimate the turnout of minority voters.

“We have to close the gap not between whether they’re going to vote for me or vote for my opponent but whether they’re going to vote or not, and that’s always the responsibility of the candidate,” she said.

Carl Jones is a Black voter who recently attended a rally for Abrams. He thinks the possible gap might be due to Warnock’s profession. 

“Stacey Abrams comes across as a liberal Democrat. Raphael Warnock gets a little bit of cover. They’re coming from the Black church because he is Rev. Warnock, so more moderate, you know, Black people may tend to lean towards him because he has that cover of being Rev. Warnock,” he said.

That is also an opinion shared by some Republicans about why Warnock may have an edge over Walker.