Runoff Likely In Georgia Senate Race As Walker And Warnock Remain Nearly Tied


The winner of the pivotal Georgia Senate race is unlikely to be decided before December, according to a new poll that shows neither Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) nor challenger Herschel Walker (R) reaching the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff election, meaning control of the Senate could remain unclear for another month.

Key Facts

Warnock netted the support of 49% of survey respondents, while 47% said they plan to vote for Walker next week, according to a poll from Emerson College and The Hill that surveyed 1,000 very likely voters (the poll’s margin of error was 3 points).

Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver, who is backed by 1% of voters in the Emerson/The Hill poll, could also draw votes from both major candidates and increase the likelihood that neither reaches the 50% threshold.

Under Georgia law, if no candidate clears 50% of voters in next week’s election, the top two candidates will head to a runoff in four weeks on December 6.

The results are largely unchanged from Emerson/The Hill’s previous poll in October showing Warnock with 48% support and Walker with 46%, though slightly more voters appear to have decided which candidate they back (4% were undecided in the previous poll, compared to 2.4% in the survey released Thursday).

Most other polls show an extremely tight race: The candidates are separated by less than two-tenths of a point according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, as Warnock’s four-point lead in mid-October has narrowed as Election Day nears.

Key Background

Allegations that Walker paid for two women’s abortions while publicly supporting limitations on the procedure do not appear to have dented his momentum. Warnock has largely shied away from mentioning the accusations (which Walker denies) on the campaign trail, but attacked Walker as a “hypocrite” over the scandals in a recent ad campaign. Democrats and Republicans from outside the state have coalesced around each candidate as the parties are in a dead-heat contest for control of the Senate, which is split 50-50 and could shift to Republican control if just one seat changes hands. Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) have campaigned with Walker in recent weeks, and Obama rallied for Warnock in Atlanta over the weekend.

Surprising Fact

Warnock and Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff (D) entered the Senate after winning runoff elections in January 2021, after neither candidate won an outright majority in the November 2020 general election. At the time, Georgia election laws required a runoff within nine weeks if one candidate did not receive 50% of votes. That period was shortened to four weeks last year, part of a sweeping voting law that GOP lawmakers said was an effort to enhance election integrity but that critics framed as a restrictive bill that could suppress voting.


Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has a six-point lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams in the Georgia governor’s race, according to the Emerson/Hill poll showing 52% support Kemp and 46% support Abrams.

Big Number

15. That’s the number of points Warnock leads Walker by among women voters, according to Emerson/The Hill, though Walker leads Warnock by 14 points with men.

Further Reading

‘Hypocrite’: Warnock Breaks Silence On Herschel Walker Abortion Allegations With New Ad Weeks Before Election (Forbes)

The Herschel Walker Scandals: A 2nd Woman Claims He Paid For Abortion, Latest Story To Roil The Campaign (Forbes)

Georgia Senate Race Remains Nearly Tied Amid Herschel Walker Scandals, Poll Finds (Forbes)