ATLANTA — The extended campaign for Senate in Georgia gives Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker a second chance to persuade voters to send Washington, DC. But with no party’s control of Congress at stake and no other candidates on the ticket, the runoff looks different from the November general election.
Associated Press VoteCast poll results Tuesday describe some of the challenges facing each candidate. Walker will need to build a Republican base that wasn’t killed by him to begin with, and to do so without Brian Kemp, the most popular governor on the ballot. Warnock must get his coalition of some low-profile voting groups to show up.
And both candidates have to inspire voters regardless of the predetermined balance of power in Washington DC.
VoteCast’s comprehensive survey of more than 3,200 midterm voters in the state takes a detailed look at the Warnock and Walker coalition and the approaches that will define their election this year. The data reveals advantages and disadvantages for both candidates in the second round.
What’s in the game?
54% of Georgia midterm voters said they consider the party’s control of the Senate the main factor in their vote in the general election. But that is no longer at stake.
Democrats traded a Republican-held Senate seat in Pennsylvania to maintain their slim advantage in the chamber without relying on the result in Georgia.
In general, many supporters of both candidates were motivated by party control, and would need to be persuaded to vote a second time when it was not at stake.
This is especially a challenge for Walker, whose supporters were slightly more likely than Warnock to say that control of the Senate was their top consideration, 57% to 52%. A Walker victory would maintain the status quo of 50-50 in the Senate, but Democrats would remain in control, with the tie-breaking vote for Vice President Kamala Harris.
Walker benefits from Georgia’s Republican-leaning trends, but Kemp did not carry Walker when the two were at the top of the ticket four weeks earlier. In fact, Walker’s vote tally fell more than 200,000 short of his fellow Republicans, which may suggest that he is having a harder time supporting Republicans without Kemp on the ballot.
While 7 out of 10 Kemp voters said they enthusiastically supported the governor, nearly half of Walker voters said they enthusiastically supported Walker. Among Walker’s supporters, nearly 4 in 10 said they supported him with reservations and nearly 1 in 10 said they opposed the other candidates.
“I have some reservations, I’m not 100% Walker, but it’s a lot better than we have now with Warnock,” said Donnie Richardson, a retired Marine who voted for Walker. Last week in Marietta. “Things have to change.”
Warnock has more work to do in a state that re-elected Kemp over two-time Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams and chose all Republican state constitutional officials.
This is especially true when Warnock may have been helped by Republicans who chose not to support Walker, but turned to vote for other Republicans in general, including his governorship. Fifteen percent of moderates and moderate Republicans supported Warnock. Eleven percent of Kemp voters supported Warnock or another candidate, compared to only 3% of Abrams voters who opposed Warnock, including moderate Chase Oliver.
Warnock and Walker formed familiar Democratic and Republican constituencies in last month’s election. But there were indications that Walker fared poorly compared to fellow Republican Kemp among voters critical to the governor’s success, including white voters and voters in small towns and rural areas. College-educated men and women without college degrees were evenly divided in the Senate race, but both groups leaned decisively for Kemp in the governor’s race.
And a majority of white Protestant voters supported the Republican candidate in both races, but Kemp won them by a larger margin than Walker.
Warnock won a majority of young voters, black voters, women, college graduates, and suburbanites. Warnock also attracted almost two-thirds of ideologically moderate voters.
character and integrity
In the final stages of the campaign, each candidate made scathing insinuations about his opponent’s character and integrity. Voters were generally more skeptical of Walker than Warnock, although neither candidate scored higher.
Fifty-six percent of Georgia voters said the incumbent senator has “the right experience to serve effectively” on the job, compared to only 39% who said the same for Walker, a 60-year-old political rookie.
“I think Herschel Walker is incompetent and Raphael Warnock is more experienced, and I think he’ll get the job done,” said Lolita Baylor, a JCPenney executive assistant who lives in Morro. He voted for Warnock.
Voters were also more likely to think Warnock had stronger moral values than Walker, 53% versus 43%.
Those criticisms of Walker didn’t stop some voters from endorsing him for the first time, though he could wipe them out in a runoff. Of his own followers, nearly a third said he lacked the right experience and nearly a quarter said he lacked strong moral values.
Walker’s endorsement by former President Donald Trump helped her win the party’s nomination, but it could affect her success among the state’s general voters.
Biden’s narrow 2020 victory in the state prompted Trump to falsely claim that the results were rigged and to suggest that Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “fabricated” the votes needed to give Trump the victory. ” took. Georgia voters re-elected Kemp and Raffensperger despite Trump’s efforts to promote other candidates.
While Walker won an overwhelming amount of “MAGA” midterm voters — those who say they support the “Make America Great Again” movement — 43% of voters last month said Walker is very supportive of Trump. Few said that Kemp or Raffensperger were very supportive of Trump, though little more said that they were very supportive of Trump.
“He’s not a politician,” Kat Shreve said of Walker. The nonprofit manager in Marietta supported Warnock. Walker is a “puppet of the Trump administration”, he said.
Sixteen percent of Republican voters who do not identify as MAGA supporters supported Warnock overall.
Even if Trump isn’t the attraction he once was, his opposition to his opponent could be enough for Walker to persuade voters to return to the polls.
Overall, nearly half of Walker voters said their vote was to reflect support for Trump, but many more, nearly three-quarters, said their vote was against President Joe Biden. Walker emphasized Warnock’s relationship with the President throughout the campaign.
“Let’s just say he’s a lot better than the Biden guy. Warnock has been. ‘Yes sir, Mr. Biden,'” said Jim Hawley, a retired Walker voter. Warnock “does not represent the people.”