A poll of likely Georgia voters released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University showed Democrat Raphael Warnock ahead in the special election to complete the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson, with Warnock pegged at 31%, Sen. Kelly Loeffler at 23%, and Republican Doug Collins at 22%. Democrat Matt Lieberman followed at 9%, with Democrat Ed Tarver at 4%.
It’s the first major poll that shows Warnock with a clear lead over Republicans Loeffler and Collins and it comes as national Democrats have worked to consolidate support for the Ebenezer pastor. Last week, leading Democrats including Stacey Abrams, pushed Lieberman to drop out of the race and endorse Warnock instead. Earlier today, former President Jimmy Carter announced he is backing Warnock as well.
The November special election for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat features 21 candidates on the same ballot with no party primary to filter out nominees.
If no one gets a majority of the vote – all but certain given the number of candidates – the two top finishers will square off in a January runoff.
Because of the dynamics, it means there’s likely to be one Republican and one Democrat in January matchup. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is Loeffler’s most formidable GOP challenger, and polls show them in a close race. Raphael Warnock is the establishment-backed Democrat, though he faces competition from educator Matt Lieberman and former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver from his party’s base.
The race is separate from Georgia’s other U.S. Senate contest. Republican David Perdue, who is seeking a second term in office, faces Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel. That race, too could head to a runoff.
The poll also looked at Georgians’ preferences for president and Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, with both of those races statistically tied. For president, the poll pegged 50% of Georgians picking former Vice President Joe Biden, with 47% choosing Trump. For Senate, 49% of likely voters chose Democrat Jon Ossoff, with 48% going for incumbent GOP Sen. David Perdue.
“It is significant that the presidential race is too close to call,” said Tim Malloy, polling analyst with Quinnipiac University. “Trump was in better shape against Hillary Clinton at this point in the race in 2016, so that is significant.” Malloy was also struck by the close nature of both Senate races, which he called “very consequential.”
The Quinnipiac poll echoes polls released last week by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and several national media outlets that showed the presidential contest in Georgia locked in a dead heat.
The AJC poll found Trump and Biden both at 47%, with 1% supporting Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and just 4% undecided. For Senate, Perdue and Ossoff were essentially tied, at 47% and 45% respectively. And in the special election Senate race, Loeffler led the field with 24%, with Warnock and Lieberman at about 20% each.
In addition to the races on the November ballot, Quinnipiac asked Georgians about the Senate’s upcoming confirmation debate over Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s choice to succeed Justice Ruth Baden Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. Although respondents were not asked about Barrett specifically, 52% of likely voters said the seat on the Court should be filled by the winner of the presidential election, while 45% said President Trump should fill it now.
As for the hot-button issues the Supreme Court could rule on in the future, 52% of likely Georgia voters said the Affordable Care Act should remain in place, while 42% said it should not. And a majority, 58%, said they “agree with the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion.” A 35% minority said they disagree with the decision.
Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,125 likely Georgia voters from Sept. 23 – 27, with a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
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