OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A day before polling stations open for same-day voting in Georgia, a number of surveys continue to show a tight race for U.S. Senate between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and his Trump-backed GOP challenger Herschel Walker.
“Three new polls released in the final days of early voting show Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) a little ahead of Herschel Walker, although Walker is within the margin of error in two of the three polls,” the Tennessee Star reported on Sunday, adding:
Emerson College found Warnock ahead, 49 percent to 47 percent, with 4 percent undecided out of 888 very likely voters and those who already voted. That poll has a 3.2 percent margin of error and was conducted November 28 through 30 on behalf of The Hill. SurveyUSA found Warnock at 50 percent to Walker’s 46 percent and 4 percent undecided out of 1,214 likely voters. The poll has a 3.6 percent margin of error and was conducted November 26 through 30 on behalf of WXIA-TV. Both polls were published Thursday.
On Friday, CNN published the results of an SSRS poll finding Warnock at 52 percent and Walker at 48 percent among 1,184 likely voters, with a 3.8 percent margin of error. That poll was conducted from November 25 through 29.
Contrary to critics of ballot integrity legislation passed by the Georgia legislature and signed by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp in the wake of the 2020 election that voter turnout would be suppressed, state election officials are reporting record turnouts for early voting.
And that said, some pollsters said that the Democratic incumbent is benefitting from early voting.
“The early vote breaks for Warnock by about 29 points, 63 percent to 34 percent, whereas those who have yet to cast their ballot break for Walker by eight points 52 percent to 44 percent,” Emerson College Polling Executive Director Spencer Kimball said in the poll’s accompanying press release.
Warnock headed to Tuesday’s runoff election against Walker with a huge cash advantage.
As Georgians have already begun heading to the polls, Warnock’s campaign has amassed a war chest three times the amount of cash Walker has on hand, according to a Friday update.
Warnock had more than $29 million in cash as of Nov. 16, having raised a 2022 midterms high of nearly $176 million, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Walker has just over $9.8 million cash on hand, having brought the highest-funded candidate to a runoff with less than $59 million, according to the FEC. In the month from Oct. 20 to Nov. 16 alone, Warnock’s campaign raised $52 million to Walker’s under $21 million.
Despite Warnock’s major cash advantage, however, Walker managed to barely prevent the incumbent from reaching 50 percent of the vote in order to avoid the Dec. 6 runoff.
Democratic incumbents managed to outperform pre-midterm election polling, retaining their seats in Arizona and Nevada, and flipping a seat in Pennsylvania, due in part to major cash advantages. Republicans managed to recapture the House, however, and currently hold a 220-212 advantage with two races left to determine. Republicans hold narrow leads in both of them.
“While the Senate will hold a Democrat majority no matter what, the stakes are still high as the election could spell the difference between a 50-50 Senate with the needed backing of a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris or a clear majority,” Newsmax reported separately, noting that early voting had already begun.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a former Georgia Republican, said in a midterm post-mortem column that Republicans underestimated President Joe Biden and, by default, Democrats, which is why they underwhelmed in both House and Senate races.
“Like most Americans, I do not approve of the job he is doing. Like virtually all conservatives and Republicans, I deeply oppose his policies. They are clearly weakening America and strengthening our enemies. And, again, like most Americans, I oppose the woke policies which are undermining and threatening to destroy popular, unique, shared American culture,” the former Speaker wrote.
“However, conservatives’ hostility to the Biden administration on our terms tends to blind us to just how effective Biden has been on his terms. He has only built upon and fortified the left-wing Big Government Socialist woke culture system,” he added.
Despite Biden’s poor handling of the economy and the significant increase in crimes along with the ongoing border crisis, Biden’s White House team and Democrats nevertheless executed a strategy of “polarizing Americans against Donald Trump supporters” to come out with one of the “best first-term off-year elections in history,” Gingrich said.