TOPLINE Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock has jumped out to a surprisingly stout 8-point lead in Georgia’s crowded special Senate election race, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday, which found Warnock (31%) leading incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler (23%), Republican Rep. Doug Collins (22%) and fellow Democratic candidate Matt Lieberman (9%).
Rev. Warnock, a Black pastor from Atlanta, has trailed by double-digits for most of the race, and Tuesday’s survey is the first major poll to show him with a lead.
A Monmouth University poll released in late July found Loeffler, who was appointed to the Senate after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) stepped down last year due to health issues, leading with 26% support, followed by Collins (20%) and Lieberman (14%), with Warnock accounting for just 9%, and a New York Times poll from last week showed Loeffler up four points on both Collins and Warnock.
Last Friday, former President Barack Obama endorsed Warnock, who has also received high-profile endorsements from former President Jimmy Carter, Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and Stacey Abrams, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017.
If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote on November 3, the two top finishers will advance to a January runoff.
In recent weeks, many prominent Democrats have called for Matt Lieberman, son of former Sen. Joe Lieberman, to abandon his U.S. Senate bid to fortify support for Warnock.
“I think that Matt may be a good person, but he is not the right candidate. I think the best result for all is for Matt to step back and realize that Rev. Warnock is the right candidate for the state of Georgia,” Stacy Abrams said last week. “If we want a real leader, we need Matt Lieberman to understand that he is not called for this moment and to step back and to let support consolidate around Raphael Warnock so that he can lead.”
Warnock is one of 12 children raised in a public housing project and reportedly the first person in his family to graduate from college. He currently serves as the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s former congregation. In early August, players from five different WNBA teams, including the Atlanta Dream, wore “Vote Warnock” T-shirts to games after Loeffler, a co-owner of the Dream, sent a letter to the WNBA Commissioner objecting to the league’s plans to honor the Black Lives Matter movement. In response, Loeffler, issued a statement referencing cancel culture and blasting the WNBA, claiming “it’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball.” Dream forward Elizabeth Williams told reporters, “when we realized what our owner was doing and how she was kind of using us and the Black Lives Matter movement for her political gain; we felt like we didn’t want to feel kind of lost as the pawns in this. We can’t really do anything about her ownership. That’s not something we can control. We can control who we vote for.”
Tuesday’s Quinnipiac poll also showed Joe Biden leading President Trump 50% to 47% and Sen. David Perdue (R) in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, 49% to 48%, for Georgia’s other Senate seat.
2%: That the percentage of respondents who said they were open to changing their minds about who they would vote for in November’s presidential election.