Georgia’s Senate runoffs have become a tag-team match — and the red leotards might be pulling ahead on points. A new poll out by Emerson shows “nearly identical” three-point leads for Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler over their Democrat challengers, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. That’s still within the polls’ margins of error, but it does look as though a trend might be developing in the GOP’s favor:
In the two US Senate run-off elections in Georgia, Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler hold nearly identical 51% to 48% advantages over Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The winners of these contests will determine which political party will control the U.S. Senate.
Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling concludes that “the data revealed there is little crossover support, which suggests one party should win both seats.” …
The biggest problem for the two Democrats might be — counter-intuitively — in early voting. Democrats dominated early voting in the general election, thanks in large part to Donald Trump’s concerted efforts to discourage mail-in voting. That edge has almost completely evaporated, although not among the first wave of early voters:
Those planning on voting early are split, with Perdue and Ossoff each receiving 49%. In the other contested election, Warnock is at 50% with Loeffler at 49%. Sixty-one percent (61%) of those who have already voted break for Ossoff and Warnock, with 39% supporting the Republican candidates. Election day voters are breaking for the Republicans, with 68% support for Perdue and 70% for Loeffler.
That sounds as though Democrats will have much less of a cushion against the Election Day wave this time around. Republicans spent a ton of money in Georgia to quickly shore up their competitive stance in early voting, and that appears to have paid off.
More importantly, though, the two Republicans appear to have an edge in the suburbs against their challengers. In an echo of November’s vote, the GOP has a five-point edge in the suburbs, 52/47, and a 2:1 edge in rural areas. Warnock and Ossoff get above 70% in urban areas, but that’s probably not going to be enough balance out in Georgia against the non-urban areas.
The numbers on all of these demos show almost no difference between the two races. This has become, in effect, one election, an all-or-nothing for both parties. And if Emerson’s polling holds up — and Republican voters in Georgia show up — right now that favors the GOP.
That’s not the only new poll suggesting that Loeffler and Perdue might be getting a little momentum. Fox also moved Perdue from a dead heat to a one-point lead this week, while moving Loeffler from a point behind to a point ahead. Trafalgar now has Loeffler three points ahead, although they still have Perdue in a tie with Ossoff. It’s still very close, but in looking at all of the polls so far, the best thing Republicans have going appears to be tying both races to Warnock’s radical rhetoric. If they win these runoffs, it will almost certainly be from Democrats’ failure to vet Warnock and inoculate themselves against these attacks.