Personal and national factors collide in tight Georgia Senate race — CBS News Battleground Tracker poll
It’s a personal versus partisan race in the Georgia Senate race, where candidates are very close in approval ratings but voters support each of them for very different reasons. Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock has better measures of approval ratings and character, while Republican challenger Herschel Walker’s voters are eyeing Washington and the Republican Senate’s chances.
All told, the new CBS News Battleground Tracker poll in Georgia shows incumbent Warnock slightly ahead of Walker by two points.
Warnock was boosted by higher ratings for the way he handled himself, having the right experience and being a good role model.Few voters see Walker this way—including some of his own supporters—but his supporters do see their votes as opposing the Biden presidency and helping Republicans gain Senate Control.
Most Georgia registered voters said they liked the way Warnock handled themselves, and most also said he was of good character, a good role model, had the right experience, and was honest and honest.
Fewer than half of Georgia voters said Walker had those traits, and most disliked the way Walker personally handled himself — including one-fifth of his own supporters.
Voters in Georgia were particularly critical of Walker’s level of experience, as only about a quarter of voters — less than half of Walker’s own constituents — thought he had the right experience.
Walker’s supporters say the main reason they voted for him wasn’t because they liked Walker; it was because they liked Walker. Instead, most said they voted for him either against Warnock or because Walker was the Republican nominee.
Warnock gets positive job approval ratings from Georgia voters. Most Georgia voters disapprove of the work Joe Biden has done, but disappointment with the incumbent doesn’t appear to have had a negative impact on Warnock. That may be because less than half of Georgia voters said Warnock was too much in favor of Biden on the issue.
But among Walker’s supporters, there’s a national focus: The majority believe they voted against Joe Biden. Control of the Senate is important to both parties, but especially Walker voters.
The appeal of putting Republicans in a majority could overturn the fact that Walker’s supporters are less enthusiastic about their candidate than Warnock’s supporters. More than a third said they wished the GOP had nominated a different person. But despite these misgivings, nine in 10 Walker supporters said they would not consider voting for Warnock.
Like the coalition that gave Democrats a statewide victory in 2020, Warnock is leading among women, voters under 45, black voters and both liberal and moderate voters.
Walker also has overwhelming support from members of his own party in this highly polarized race (though not as strong as Warnock in the Democratic Party). He also leads among older voters, including white men and women, conservatives, and a small number of independents.
Warnock is supported by nine in 10 black voters, who say race will play a very important role in their vote this year.
Most black voters say Warnock will support policies that help blacks, and Warnock is closer to sharing their views on race in America.
Most black voters in Georgia have a negative view of race relations in their state, and nearly all say racism was a major problem in America past and present.
Like the rest of the country, the economy and inflation are top concerns for Georgia voters, and those are issues that favor Republicans. Most voters who think the economy and inflation are very important issues voted for Walker, and most voters think higher prices are an economic hardship for them.
At the same time, the issue of abortion is galvanizing Democrats — who have made it a priority — which is helping Warnock. A minority believe that abortion should be legal in all or most situations in Georgia, and a majority want their elected officials to protect access to abortion. Georgia voters overwhelmingly believe Warnock will protect abortion while Walker will restrict it.
Those who say abortion is very important to their vote are choosing Warnock over Walker by a two-to-one margin.
Gubernatorial race: Kemp leads Abrams
Most Georgia voters are positive about the situation in Peach State, which favors incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election bid.
Kemp leads Democrat Stacey Abrams by 6 points in rematch of 2018 race Among likely voters overall, it was 30 points higher among those who thought things were going well in Georgia.
Georgia voters’ positive views of their state contrasted sharply with American voters’ negative views of the state’s state. Nationally, it’s a drag on Democrats.
A majority of Georgia voters also believe their state’s economy is at least somewhat better, and Kemp leads among those voters.
At the same time, Camp also performed well among those hardest hit by inflation. Voters in Georgia, who see higher prices as a struggle, largely support Kemp over Abrams.
Kemp’s job approval ratings are generally positive, with more than half of Georgia voters liking the way he handles himself.
Camp has a bit of a crossover appeal. About a quarter of Warnock voters approve of Kemp as governor (up from one in 10 who think Warnock is doing well in the Senate). About one in 10 Warnock supporters plan to vote for Kemp.
Camp’s stance in the 2020 election, when he defied pressure from then-President Donald Trump to overturn the state’s result, didn’t seem to hurt him much within his own party. Two-thirds of Republicans think Camp agrees with Trump just right, preferring his approach to elections and voting over Abrams.
But most Republicans don’t think the 2020 election should be investigated. Nearly 8 in 10 Republicans believe an investigation into whether Trump and his associates are trying to overturn the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election is unreasonable. However, voters in Georgia generally think so.
Other factors in the gubernatorial race
Independents: Most Georgia independents believe things are going well in the state, boosting Kemp’s standing in this group. The thin majority approves of the work he’s doing, more like the way he’s handling himself than the way he feels about Abrams. Abrams won the support of independents when he first ran for governor in 2018.
Republican base: Almost all self-identified Republicans support Kemp. While most Georgia Republicans are happy with their party’s Senate and gubernatorial candidates, more are happy with Kemp than Walker.
Camp has so far not been endorsed by former President Trump, but he has the support of nine in 10 Trump 2020 voters in the state, a similar level to Walker’s.
abortion: The problem is helping Abrams, but it’s not enough to put her ahead of Kemp. She has a broad lead among Georgia voters who say abortion is a very important issue to them, but issues like the economy and crime are important to more voters, and Camp leads in those groups.
Voting and Election Questions: Abrams has made voting and election issues a focus of her political campaign, but she even ran with Kemp when Georgia voters were asked who would do better on the issue.
Are you confident about voting?
Most Georgia voters are at least confident that their votes will be recorded and counted correctly this year, but Republicans are less so, with just over a quarter saying they are “very confident.”
Some have speculated that skepticism about vote counting may have lowered turnout, but that doesn’t appear to be happening here. Georgia Republicans who believe fraud is widespread in Georgia in 2020 expressed less confidence in the state’s vote count this year, but they, like those who believe there will be little or no voter fraud in 2020, say they are sure this year Voting in November.
Warnock and Walker are expected to face off in next month’s debate, with a majority of Georgia voters finding it at least somewhat important for the candidates to debate. Republicans place less emphasis on candidate debates than Democrats.
it’s a reversal what we saw in PennsylvaniaRepublicans who are skeptical about the health of Democratic Senate candidate John Feltman are taking the debate more seriously than Democrats.
This CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker survey was conducted between September 14-19, 2022, of a statewide representative sample of 1,178 registered voters in Georgia. The sample is weighted by gender, age, race, education, and geographic region in the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, as well as the 2020 presidential election. The margin of error is ±4.0 points.