Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (2024)

Table of Contents
What we covered here Here's what both candidates are saying in their final pitch to voters ahead of the runoff "The best thing I've ever done is run for office": Herschel Walker implores Georgians to vote Tuesday Trump holds tele-rally for Walker on eve of Georgia Senate runoff election It's critical for Georgia voters to head to the polls and support Warnock, Biden says Warnock to Georgia Tech students: "It all comes down to this. We need you to show up" What we know about Georgia voters ahead of tomorrow's Senate runoff Walker implores Georgians to vote: "You know you got a champion in Herschel Walker" A second runoff victory for Warnock could once again hinge on Black voter turnout How 2022 Georgia midterm voters compare with the state's previous elections Trump will host virtual rally for Walker on eve of Senate runoff We're one day away from the Georgia Senate runoff — here's what you need to know about the race Analysis: How Georgia’s looming Senate runoff election evokes America’s segregationist history CNN's latest poll shows Warnock holds a narrow edge over Walker in final undecided Senate contest Analysis: How Trump is helping Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia's runoff In Atlanta campaign event, Obama stressed importance of Georgia runoff for padding Democratic Senate majority Here's an updated look at total ad spending on the eve of the Georgia Senate runoff Walker gets help from Sen. John Kennedy and Tim Scott as he urges supporters to vote tomorrow Georgia election official says he doesn't expect results in Senate runoff Tuesday READ MORE READ MORE

By Elise Hammond, Maureen Chowdhury and Melissa Macaya and Seán Federico-OMurchú, CNN

Updated 8:19 PM EST, Mon December 5, 2022

Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (1)

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He voted for Gov. Kemp but is supporting Sen. Warnock. Hear why

11:22 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Tomorrow is Election Day: Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challengerHerschel Walker are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s runoffelection.
  • What’s at stake: Even withcontrol of the Senatealready secured, the stakes are high as Democrats seek to win a majority outright instead of the power-sharing agreement and50-50 splitcurrently in place.
  • Early voting: More than1.8 million ballotshave been cast to date, with about 300,000 people voting early each day last week – setting records for thelargest single-day early voting turnoutin state history.Early voting ended on Friday, and Georgians had only five days of statewide early voting this year, compared with three weeks during the last runoff and for last month’s general election.

Our live coverage has ended for the day. Follow the latest US political news here or read through the updates below.

18 Posts

Here's what both candidates are saying in their final pitch to voters ahead of the runoff

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny,Eva McKendandGregory Krieg

Onthe final day of overtime in Georgia, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock exuded confidence but warned supporters against being complacent in his runoff election with Republican nominee and former football great Herschel Walker.

“There is still a path for Herschel Walker to win this race,” Warnock said after a campaign stop Monday. “If there’s anything I worry about it’s that people will think we don’t need their voice. We do. We need you to show up.”

Warnock was the leading vote-getter in the general election last month, but the contest extended into December since he failed to win a majority. After four weeks of runoff campaigning, Warnock and Democrats are optimistic that he can outlast Walker and secure a full, six-year term.

Such a victory would help solidify Georgia as a purple state after Joe Biden narrowly carried it in 2020 and Warnock and Jon Ossoff won January 2021 runoffs that delivered the president a Democratic Senate.

“We’re working on turnout, turnout, turnout,” Walker said as he barnstormed across northern Georgia at five scheduled rallies on the eve of the election. “A vote for Warnock is a vote for these failed policies. A vote for me is a better coming.”

Tuesday’s race, though, is still expected to be tight, with both parties and allied groups pouring tens of millions into a contest that will shape the balance of power in the Senate over the next two years.

Read more

"The best thing I've ever done is run for office": Herschel Walker implores Georgians to vote Tuesday

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (2)

On the eve of the nation’s final Senate contest of the midterm elections, Herschel Walker implored Georgia Republicans to cast their ballots Tuesday in his race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, urging them, “Vote, vote, vote. Flood the polls!”

“I’m not going to sleep tonight,” Walker told a crowd of his supporters. “Before a big game, I don’t sleep because I’m ready. I want y’all to get ready!”

After making four stops across northern Georgia on Monday, Walker returned to Kennesaw in the northern suburbs of Atlanta to deliver his final message. It was the same spot he appeared on the eve of the general election, but a sense of confidence that hung in the air on that November night was far less palpable tonight among Walker and his supporters.

The former Georgia football great spoke with a measure of nostalgia about his first bid for public office.

“The best thing I’ve ever done — including the Heisman Trophy — the best thing I’ve ever done is run for office right here,” Walker said. “I saw my heavenly father show me my family … I will always, always fight for my family.”

With control of the Senate set to stay in Democratic hands, Walker implored Republicans to send him to Washington as a check on President Biden and his policies.

“A vote for my opponent is a vote for Joe Biden and a vote for Chuck Schumer,” Walker said. “A vote for me is a vote for Georgia values.”

Trump holds tele-rally for Walker on eve of Georgia Senate runoff election

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Former President Donald Trump urged voters to cast their ballots for Georgia Republican Herschel Walker in a brief tele-rally on the eve of the state’s runoff election, arguing sending the former football star to the US Senate could help impede the Democrats’ agenda in Congress.

Democrats already secured control of the Senate in November’s midterm elections but the stakes are still high as the party looks to win an outright majority instead of the 50-50 split that is currently in place.

“This election is your last time in the defense against Joe Biden and the radical left Democrats in Congress. A vote for Raphael Warnock is a vote to give Chuck Schumer and the unhinged far-left Democrats total control of the United States Senate. We can’t let this happen,” Trump said.

Trump falsely claimed that a difference between Tuesday’s contest and the 2021 runoff election that Warnock won is that Trump didn’t endorse then-Republican Sen.Kelly Loeffler. Trumpendorsed Loefflerandcampaigned for her in Georgiaahead of the 2021 runoff.

It's critical for Georgia voters to head to the polls and support Warnock, Biden says

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (3)

President Joe Biden speaks to volunteers in Boston working at an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers phone-banking event Friday for US Sen. Raphael Warnock.

President Joe Biden said Monday it’s “critical” for Georgia voters to head to the polls in the runoff election between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

“It really is critical because look, all the things that Reverend Warnock has supported are things that the people of Georgia care a great deal about,” Biden said, speaking to Atlanta radio personality Ryan Cameron in a phone interview.

Biden cited Warnock’s support for things such as capping the price of insulin and making hearing aids available without a prescription, as well as Democratic efforts that lowered the deficit this year.

The president did not visit Georgia during the runoff campaign but has stumped for Warnock in Washington, DC, and in cities such as Boston, where Biden attended a fundraising event last week.

Warnock to Georgia Tech students: "It all comes down to this. We need you to show up"

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland and Eva McKend in Atlanta
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (4)

US Sen. Raphael Warnock gives a thumbs-up to supporters before speaking at a rally at Georgia Tech on Monday.

At his second event of the day, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock implored Georgia Tech students in Atlanta to spread the word about getting their friends and family out to vote — and vote themselves if they hadn’t already.

Warnock joked that he wasn’t “worried about anybody in the room,” saying he knows many of those who came to hear him speak plan to vote or already have voted. He added that no movement in the US has happened without “the energy and enthusiasm from young people.” He also said he had heard from a number of college students and their parents, thanking him for suing to allow for counties to allow Saturday early voting.

Asked by CNN why he was putting such an emphasis on younger voters, Warnock answered, “Young people have little tolerance for inauthenticity. They want to know that you mean what you say and they want to see you’re showing up and they have a way of holding us all accountable.”

In his pitch to get the young electorate to the polls, the incumbent senator was introduced by incoming congressman Maxwell Frost, the first Gen-Z member of Congress.

“We know that young people don’t make up the biggest voting bloc right now, but we are the bloc that matters,” Frost said.

Warnock narrowly leads his Republican opponent Herschel Walker among likely runoff voters in the latest CNN polling, but he says this race isn’t over.

“There is still a path for Herschel Walker to win this seat,” Warnock said. He went on to say that event though this election won’t determine who controls the Senate, it’s still of great importance to voters here.

“This is a Georgia seat. It matters to Georgians. This is about who is going to represent 11 million people for six years. I think that matters,” he said.

What we know about Georgia voters ahead of tomorrow's Senate runoff

From CNN's Christopher HickeyandNicholas Anastacio
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (5)

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in Atlanta on November 27.

For the past two years, the eyes of the political world keep turning back to Georgia.

And for the second time in two years, voters in this key state will choose their senator in arunoff election, which this time will determine whether Democrats expand on their 50-50 majority.

Early data shows voters are not tired of their civic duty:

Heading into Tuesday’s Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, more than 1.8 million Georgians have voted early after only about a week. Black voters have made up nearly a third of the early electorate so far, while more than a quarter of voters so far are under 50.

Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (6)

About 300,000 Georgians have voted early each day this week– setting records for the largest single-day early voting turnout in state history. Early voting for the runoff ended on Friday.

Georgians had only five mandatory days of early voting this year, compared with three weeks during the last runoff and for last month’s general election. All but 22 counties chose not to allow early voting last Saturday and Sunday as well.

Overall, 2022 midterm turnout was slightly up from the 2018 midterms but down more than 21% from the 2020 general election.

While midterm voters typically skew older and Whiter, turnout data from the Georgia secretary of state’s office shows that in 2022, midterm voters in Georgia were older and Whiter than they have been in the past four elections, including the 2018 midterms. Those voters tend to lean Republican. The fact that Warnock not only forced a runoff but also narrowly led Walker in the first round of voting last month suggests he had the support of independent and some Republican voters, political scientists told CNN.

“The key to Warnock was that according to the exit polls, he won the independent vote by a pretty big margin,” said Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “And that was enough to pull him through. In the runoff, I think he’ll need to do that as well.”

CNN exit polls of Georgia voters in the November election show that the share of independent voters shrank 4 percentage points compared with 2020. However, independent voters were 24% of the electorate, which Warnock won by 11 points, according to CNN exit polls.

Walker implores Georgians to vote: "You know you got a champion in Herschel Walker"

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Ellijay, Georgia
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (7)

Herschel Walker speaks at a campaign stop in Ellijay, Georgia, on Monday.

At his third campaign stop of the day, Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker spoke for about two minutes as he implored voters to have his back in Tuesday’s runoff election against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“Get out and vote! Tomorrow is the big day,” Walker told a crowd Monday of cheering supporters in northern Georgia. “Who has voted already? And who all has to vote tomorrow?”

His remarks were short, and he repeatedly asked people to help get others to the polls on Tuesday. He spent far more time taking pictures individually with his admirers who gathered at the Engelheim Vineyards outside Ellijay, a town near the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

Walker is scheduled to make five stops today, focusing on rural Republican-rich counties, before his final rally in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. It’s the biggest burst of campaigning, holding nearly as many events in the final day as he has often held in a week.

A second runoff victory for Warnock could once again hinge on Black voter turnout

From CNN's Nicquel Terry EllisandBrandon Tensley
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (8)

US Sen. Raphael Warnock walks on stage during a campaign rally in Atlanta on Thursday.

Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young rode his scooter alongside Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, Martin Luther King III and a fervent crowd of marchers on a recent Sunday through a southwest Atlanta neighborhood.

The group stopped at an early polling location to vote, forming a line with some waiting as long as one hour to cast their ballots.

At the age of 90, Young says he is selective about public appearances but felt the “Souls to the Polls” event was one where he could motivate Black voters in Tuesday’s hotly contested US Senate runoff between Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker — ahistoric matchup between two Black men.

Community leaders and political observers say the Black vote has consistently played a pivotal role in high-stakes races for Democrats, including in 2021, when Warnock defeated then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a runoff.

A key demographic for Democrats: Black voters likely to cast a ballot are near unanimous in their support for the Democrat (96% Warnock to 3% Walker), according to aCNN pollreleased last week that showed Warnock with a narrow lead.

A second runoff victory for Warnock could once again hinge on Black voter turnout in a consequential race. If Warnock wins, it would give Democrats a clean Senate majority — one that doesn’t rely on Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote and allows Majority Leader Chuck Schumer more control of key committees and some slack in potentially divisive judicial and administrative confirmation fights.

Voting, Young said, is the “path to prosperity” for the Black community. He noted that Atlanta’s mass transit system and economic growth have been made possible by voters.

“Where we have voted we have prospered,” Young said.

The rally led by Young, King and Warnock seems to have set the tone for many Black voters in Georgia.Early voting surgedacross the state last week withlong lines reportedacross the greater Atlanta area.

Early voting numbers look promising: As of Sunday, more than 1.85 million votes had already been cast, with Black voters accounting for nearly 32% of the turnout,according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. The early voting period, which was significantly condensed from 2021, ended on Friday.

Billy Honor, director of organizing for theNew Georgia Project Action Fund, said the Black turnout so far looks promising for Democrats.

“When we get Black voter turnout in any election statewide that’s between 31 and 33%, that’s usually good for Democrats,” Honor said. “If it’s between 27 and 30%, that’s usually good for Republicans.”

Honor added: “This has an impact on elections because we know that if you’re a Democratic candidate, the coalition you have to put together is a certain amount of college-educated White folks, a certain amount of women overall, as many young people as you can get to turn out – and Black voters. That’s the coalition. (Former president) Barack Obama was able to smash that coalition in 2008 in ways we hadn’t seen.”

Read more here.

How 2022 Georgia midterm voters compare with the state's previous elections

From CNN's Christopher HickeyandNicholas Anastacio

A slightly larger share of White voters and smaller shares of Black, Asian and Latino voters cast their ballots in 2022 compared with Georgia’s previous three midterm elections and runoffs. The share of Black voters was the lowest of any Georgia election since the 2018 midterms.

Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (9)

A CNN exit poll from 2021 showed that Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnockwon 93% of Black voters in Georgia’s last runoff election, a 6-point improvement from the general election held in November 2020.

Black voters’ share of Georgia’s electorate increased in the 2021 runoff election when Warnock faced Sen. Kelly Loeffler after neither took a majority of the vote in the 2020 general election. Black voters made up 28% of the Georgia electorate in that runoff, slightly higher than their share in the 2020 general election. Black voter turnout was highest when Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, first ran against now-Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, for governor in 2018.

Voters in the 2022 midterms were also older. Georgians over 50 represented 59% of the electorate this year, a new high since 2018. The share of voters under 30, meanwhile, shrank to 11%, its lowest point since 2018.

Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (10)

Exit polls show Warnock was able this year to sustain the improvements he made in the 2021 runoff election with the youngest voters and those in urban areas. He won 68% of the 18-24 vote in the 2021 runoff – a 16-point improvement over Democrats in the 2020 general election. He also won the support of 67% of urban voters in the 2021 runoff, 4 points more than Democrats’ share in 2020. Warnock won 69% of 18-24 year-olds and 68% of urban voters in last month’s general election.

Last month’s election was unusual in that more than 17,000 Georgians skipped the Senate race at the top of the ballot but did vote for governor.

“We aren’t entirely sure, but it is highly likely that those voters are probably Republicans,” said Amy Steigerwalt, a political science professor at Georgia State University.

There were also Kemp voters this year who crossed the aisle to vote for Warnock and then voted for the rest of the Republican ticket, Steigerwalt said. Kemp received 2.1 million votes, roughly 200,000 more than Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

The big question for this runoff is how Walker does when he runs on his own and without a chance of Republicans regaining control of the Senate, Abramowitz told CNN.

Trump will host virtual rally for Walker on eve of Senate runoff

From CNN's Gabby Orr
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (11)

Herschel Walker shakes hands with former President Donald Trump before a World Series game in Atlanta last year.

Former President Donald Trump will host a “tele-rally” for GOP candidate Herschel Walker on the eve of the Georgia Republican’s runoff contest, according to a source involved in the planning.

The virtual rally, something Trump previously did for other 2022 midterm candidates, comes as the 2024 contender has kept his physical distance from Georgia in the lead up to the Dec. 6 runoff contest. Advisers to both Trump and Walker believed it would do more harm than good for the former president to hit the campaign trail for Walker, the same source said.

Trump also did not campaign for Walker ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election, when the Republican Senate hopeful and his Democratic opponent Sen. Raphael Warnock both failed to cross the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

We're one day away from the Georgia Senate runoff — here's what you need to know about the race

From CNN's Melissa Holzberg DePalo and Ethan Cohen
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (12)

US Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker

Georgia will host a Senate runoff election on Dec. 6 between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker, a former football player.

Warnock and Walker first faced each other in the Nov. 8 general election, but neither of them received more than 50% of the vote, forcing a runoff election.

The candidates: This is Warnock’s fourth campaign in two years. He first ran in 2020 against appointed GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler to finish former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. That race went to a runoff election in Jan. 2021 which Warnock won. Warnock and Democratic Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff’s wins gave Democrats control of the Senate in 2021.

Republican football player Herschel Walker easily won the GOP nomination earlier this year. While Donald Trump’s endorsem*nt helped Walker secure the nomination, the former president did not campaign for the former football star in the runoff amid concerns a visit could turn off independents and suburban women, critical voting blocs in the state.

What votes looked like on Nov. 8: In the November general election, Warnock led with 49.4% of the vote and Walker had 48.5%. The libertarian candidate, Chase Oliver, carried 2.1% of the vote.

Poll and voting information: Any registered voter can vote by mail or vote early in person. Voters did not have to participate in the November general election to participate in the runoff election. Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET and close at 7 p.m. ET. The last day to vote early was Friday.

Analysis: How Georgia’s looming Senate runoff election evokes America’s segregationist history

From CNN's Brandon Tensley

Another year, another Georgia Senate race that’s headed to a runoff election.

Neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor his Republican challenger Herschel Walker, a former football star, crossed the 50% threshold necessary to win outright in November. In consequence, they must battle at the polls on Tuesday.

But like last year’s races, the upcoming contest has sparked conversations about thetroubling history of the runoff system, which some states began using in the final decades of the 19th century to quash Black political power.

Speaking with CNN, Gerald Griggs, the president of the Georgia NAACP, made plain some of his concerns about the state of voting rights ahead of next month’s runoff election.

In particular, he criticized SB 202, the wide-ranging elections lawGeorgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed last year, after Democrats, propelled by Black voters, triumphed in both of the state’s US Senate runoff elections.

Racial justice advocatescondemned the law, saying that certain elements of it target Black voters.

He added, “Politicians need to speak to voters – not try to suppress them.”

To give a little bit more historical context to the runoff system, I spoke with Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, in Texas. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

What are the origins of runoff elections? The origins of runoff elections go back to the 19th century, when, particularly, they were used in the South. The idea was that the South was only one party, the Democratic Party. There was no effective, competitive second party.

Most of the states in the South decided that democracy among White men required having a majority to win an election. And since you didn’t have a natural two-party system that would produce a winner with 50%-plus-one of the vote, they had a first election in the Democratic primary and then a runoff if no one got 50% or more, so that the person who took office would’ve gotten a majority vote in that second election.

Read the full analysis here.

CNN's latest poll shows Warnock holds a narrow edge over Walker in final undecided Senate contest

From CNN's Jennifer AgiestaandAriel Edwards-Levy

In thefinal undecided Senate contestof 2022, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger Herschel Walker among those likely to vote in a runoff election Tuesday, according to anew CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

The survey shows that Walker faces widespread questions about his honesty and suffers from a negative favorability rating, while nearly half of those who back him say their vote is more about opposition to Warnock than support for Walker. Voters’ modestly more positive views of Warnock and a firmly committed base of supporters appear to boost the incumbent in the new poll.

Overall, 52% of likely voters say they plan to support Warnock in Tuesday’s runoff and 48% pick Walker. Partisans on both sides are deeply entrenched, with nearly all Democrats (99%) behind Warnock and 95% of Republicans backing Walker. Independents break in Warnock’s favor, 61% to 36%, but make up a relatively small slice of likely voters, 17%, compared with 24% in a CNN exit poll of voters in the first round of this contest last month. (Warnockfinished narrowly aheadof Walker in November but without the majority of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.)

White voters remain broadly behind Walker ahead of Tuesday’s election: 69% support him, with 30% backing Warnock, in the new poll, while Black voters likely to cast a ballot next week are near unanimous in their support for the Democrat (96% Warnock to 3% Walker). Those divides are similar to the racial split in the 2021 runoffduring which Warnock initially won his seat, when 93% of Black voters backed him while 71% of White voters favored his Republican opponent, then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler, according to CNN’s exit poll.

There is also a wide age gap in the upcoming contest, with voters under 35 sharply behind Warnock (74% to 25%), while those 65 or older break in Walker’s favor by 26 points (63% to 37%). Younger White voters are far more closely divided than older White voters (52% Walker to 48% Warnock among White voters younger than 45, while 75% of White voters age 45 or older say they back Walker). Support for Warnock is about the same among younger and older Black voters.

White voters without college degrees are heavily behind Walker – 83% support him – while White voters with four-year degrees are closely divided, 51% Walker to 47% Warnock. White women with degrees tilt toward Warnock (53% Warnock to 44% for Walker) while White men with degrees break in Walker’s favor (58% Walker to 42% Warnock).

Read more about the poll here.

Analysis: How Trump is helping Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia's runoff

From CNN's Harry Enten
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (13)

Former President Donald Trump announced last month that he would be running for president again.

Former President Donald Trump’s continued presence on the American political scene is one of the reasons Republicans underperformed in this year’smidterm elections. The former president’s debilitating effect on his party was perhaps no more evident than in Georgia, where Trump’s Republican nemesis Gov.Brian Kempcruised to reelection, while his preferred Senate candidate, Herschel Walker,was forced into a runoffwith Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Now with theGeorgia Senate runoffjust two days away, those problems are clearer than ever. Trump’s unpopularity in Georgia is causing him tostay out of the statein the campaign’s final days and is part of a deeper reshaping of political alignments in America.

To understand the Trump impact on Georgia, take a look atthe CNN/SSRS poll of the Senate runoffreleased on Friday. Trump came in with a favorable rating of just 39% and an unfavorable rating of 54% among likely voters.

Of course, with Trump no longer president, you might think these numbers wouldn’t matter. After all,President Joe Bidenisn’t significantly more popular in Georgia, with a favorable rating of 41% and an unfavorable rating of 52%, according to the CNN survey.

But when you break the poll down further, you see how Trump’s unpopularity is potentially keeping voters from casting a ballot for Walker. The former football star led Warnock by 87 points among voters who didn’t have a favorable view of Biden but had a favorable opinion of Trump.

That type of margin would have been more than enough for Walker to win, if it held among all voters who view Biden unfavorably. The problem for Walker is that voters who had a favorable opinion of Trump and not one of Biden made up only 37% of the electorate in our poll.

A sizable 21% of likely Georgia voters had a favorable view of neither Biden nor Trump. This group of voters still preferred Walker to Warnock, but only by 14 points.

So in other words, there was an over 70-point difference in Walker’s margin among those who didn’t like Biden, based on whether they liked Trump or not.

Warnock’s ability to keep Walker’s margins down among those who liked neither Biden nor Trump works for him mathematically because the poll found him leading by 100 points among the 40% of likely voters who just liked Biden.

To put in perspective how unusual it is for a former president to have such a strong effect, consider the last time there was an unpopular Republican president who had recently left the White House. In aSeptember 2010 CNN pre-election poll, Republican House candidates were still winning voters who didn’t like George W. Bush (the former president) orBarack Obama(the the incumbent) by about 50 points.

If Walker was winning those who didn’t like Biden or Trump by 50 points, he’d be leading in our Georgia poll.

Keep reading here.

In Atlanta campaign event, Obama stressed importance of Georgia runoff for padding Democratic Senate majority

From CNN's Gregory Krieg
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (14)

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Atlanta on Thursday.

Former President Barack Obamalast Thursday warned Democrats against becoming complacent in the final days ofGeorgia’s Senate runoffbetween Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, describing the GOP nominee as unfit to represent the state and stressing the value in adding a key vote to the slender Democratic Senate majority.

In his second visit to Atlanta during the campaign, having previously stumped for Warnock ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, Obama pushed back against any suggestion that the race had since diminished in importance. Warnock and Walker advanced to the Tuesday runoff after neither candidate received a majority of the vote last month, when Democrats held control of the Senate.

“What’s the difference between 50 and 51 (senators)?” Obama asked. “The answer is a lot.”

Obama’s visit came days before the end of a condensed runoff campaign of only four weeks – down from the nine the state previously mandated before the passage of a controversial voting law in 2021. He urged the audience not to become complacent, alternately praising the Democrat’s character and criticizing Walker’s assorted controversies and bizarre campaign trail rhetoric.

Obama’s presence, too, marked a stark difference between the two campaigns. While Democrats were able to call on Obama, a singularly popular figure within their party, to energize voters, the most popular figure among Republicans nationally, former President Donald Trump, has stayed away amid fears of alienating swing voters. (Democrats, though, have also been cautious in choosing surrogates: President Joe Biden has not appeared in Georgia, a state he very narrowly carried in 2020.)

Walker spent the night before the final day of early voting railing against Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine policies, while surrounded by Republican surrogates including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Faith & Freedom Coalition Founder Ralph Reed and Rep.-elect John James of Michigan.

Obama said the Republican makes the case against himself “every time he opens his mouth.”

Read more about Obama’s campaign event in Atlanta here.

Here's an updated look at total ad spending on the eve of the Georgia Senate runoff

From CNN's David Wright

Democrats have more than doubled Republican ad spending in Georgia since Nov. 9, about $55.1 million to $25.8 million. In total, campaigns and groups from both parties combined to spend about $80.9 million on ads.

Sen. Raphael Warnock leads all advertisers with about $26.5 million in ad spending, powered by his record-breaking fundraising, which included a haul of more than $50 million in the latest FEC reporting period. Meanwhile Georgia Honor, a group funded by top super PAC Senate Majority PAC, has spent an additional $21.3 million, combining with Warnock to give Democrats a prohibitive advantage on the air.

On the GOP side, the McConnell-aligned super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, has spent about $11.8 million on ads, while Herschel Walker’s campaign has spent about $10.8 million.

Neither the NRSC nor the DSCC has spent much on advertising in the race, though both party committees have made investments in ground games and field work. Only one other group has spent more than $1 million on ads, the Democratic PAC American Bridge, which has spent $3.6 million.

The tone of the ads fueled by this huge spending has been dark and negative, as each campaign has leaned on personal attacks in an attempt to disqualify their opponents.

Georgia Honor, the Democratic super PAC, has run ads reminding voters of the domestic abuse allegations against Walker, which he has discussed publicly.

In addition, Warnock’s campaign recently launched an adthat features several people reacting to clips of Walker on the campaign trail, delivering off-topic, meandering remarks on vampires versus werewolves, and complaining about “bad air” from China. “It is embarrassing. Let’s call it what it is. It is embarrassing,”one viewer says.

And Walker’s campaign aireda new TV spotlast week that features clips from a police interview with Warnock’s ex-wife, who accused him of running over her foot with his car in March of 2020, though no charges were filed. “Find out who ReverendWarnock really is,” thead’s narrator says.

Meanwhile,a top adfrom the Senate Leadership FundfeaturesGeorgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who ran ahead of Walker in the general election, winning reelection comfortably. Kemp touts Walker’s candidacy, saying, “families are struggling because of Biden’s inflation in Washington won’t change unless we make them.” He continues, “That’s why I’m backing Herschel.”

Warnock and Walker also each launched a new campaign ad on Monday, making a final pitch to voters.

In Warnock’slatest spot, he touts his father’s work ethic, tells voters he works for them, and asks, “Are you ready to do this one more time? Put your shoes on. If we fight together, if we stand together, we will win the future.”

Walker’snew adleans on recently re-elected Gov. Brian Kemp to make the case, featuring clips of Kemp at a campaign rally. “This is gonna be a turnout election. Who’s more motivated? Is it them or us? That’s right. And that’s why it’s time to retire, Raphael Warnock and send Herschel Walker to the United States Senate,” Kemp says in the ad.

Walker gets help from Sen. John Kennedy and Tim Scott as he urges supporters to vote tomorrow

From CNN’s Dianne Gallagher
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (15)

US Sens. Tim Scott, left, and John Kennedy, right, join Herschel Walker at a campaign event in Loganville, Georgia, on Sunday.

GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s lone public campaign event Sunday featured a lively crowd of supporters in Loganville, a diverse prayer lineup to kick things off — and two Republican Senators with a lot to say about Democrats.

Walker didn’t stray from his usual stump speech, though he did encourage getting out to vote on Tuesday more than he typically does (this is, of course, expected on the final Sunday before the election).

The event began with prayers in Creole, Spanish and Swahili from speakers with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

When Reed himself took the stage and asked the crowd how many people had already voted, nearly every person in the crowd raised their hand.

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana fired up the supporters on the chilly afternoon with quips and puns meant to insult the Democrats— and former President Barack Obama as the main character in his speech.

“Now I understand the President Obama just came to town,” said Kennedy, “He didn’t come to talk about hope and change. He came to make fun of my friend, Herschel Walker.”

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who took the stage to wild cheers, amplifying the Walker campaign’s central message tying Sen. Raphael Warnock to President Joe Biden.

“Why don’t we see Joe Biden in Georgia?” asked Scott, before tying Warnock to Biden by noting a familiar Walker campaign line, “Raphael Warnock voted with Biden 96% of the time. That’s not Georgia.”

“Remember this, January 5, 2021…we lost two seats in Georgia. The cost of one single seat in Georgia cost the American taxpayers $4 trillion,” exclaimed Scott, referring to the last runoff election where Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossof were elected.

Meanwhile, Walker pushed for supporters to get their friends to the polls.

“If you don’t have a friend, make a friend and get them out to vote,” said Walker.

The Republican noted President Biden’s comments about campaigning for his opponent while on a trip to Massachusetts, as well.

“Our President was in Massachusetts campaigning for Warnock…because of the way he votes, he probably thought he was from Massachusetts,” joked Walker, “They already have two senators, they don’t need no more!”

Loganville was the only public stop on Walker’s campaign schedule Sunday. He has five stops in five different cities on Monday, by far his most ambitious day of campaigning in weeks.

Georgia election official says he doesn't expect results in Senate runoff Tuesday

From CNN's Kaanita Iyer

A eorgia election official said Saturday the winner in Tuesday’s runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Hershel Walker might not be known on election night after record early voter turnout.

More than 1.8 million Georgianshave voted so far, with about 300,000 people voting early each day last week —setting recordsfor the largest single-day early voting turn out in state history. Early voting for the runoff ended on Friday.

“There’s obviously a lot of enthusiasm,” Sterling said. “Both Democrats and Republicans can point to the turnout models and say, ‘that’s good for us’ so nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

ACNN pollreleased Friday showed Warnock with a narrow lead over Walker.

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What we know about Georgia voters ahead of Senate runoff
Obama stresses importance of Georgia Senate runoff for padding Democratic Senate majority
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CNN Poll: Warnock holds a narrow edge over Walker in final undecided Senate contest
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What we know about Georgia voters ahead of Senate runoff
Obama stresses importance of Georgia Senate runoff for padding Democratic Senate majority
Why Democrats should like the early voting patterns in the Georgia Senate runoff
Analysis: How Donald Trump is helping Raphael Warnock in Georgia
CNN Poll: Warnock holds a narrow edge over Walker in final undecided Senate contest
Opinion: The GOP should never have bet on Herschel Walker
Dec. 5, 2022 coverage of the Georgia runoff election | CNN Politics (2024)
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