WSB poll: Warnock soars ahead in wild Georgia U.S. Senate race

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

Contests for president, Perdue’s seat deadlocked

The race for president between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in Georgia remains deadlocked in the latest Channel 2 Action News poll, but the contest for a wild U.S. Senate special election now has a clear front-runner.

Democrat Raphael Warnock tallied 36% in the poll released Friday, staking a double-digit lead over the two top Republicans in the race. U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler was pegged at 26%, while U.S. Rep. Doug Collins was at 23%. About 8% were undecided in the poll of 600 likely voters, which had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

It’s among several recent polls that show Warnock’s standing rising in the 21-candidate special election for Loeffler’s seat, which is expected to end in a January runoff between the two top vote-getters.

“The only fight left in this race is whether it’s going to be Loeffler or Collins in the runoff,” said Mark Rountree, president of the Republican-leaning Landmark Communications firm that conducted the poll.

ExploreSee the crosstabs of the WSB poll

Warnock’s gains came largely at the expense of fellow Democrat Matt Lieberman, who tallied just 3% in the poll. Lieberman faces extraordinary pressure to quit the race and clear the way for Warnock, who is backed by prominent state and national Democratic figures.

Another Democrat, former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver, hardly registered in the poll, which was conducted Wednesday.

It echoed recent surveys of Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race that show a tight contest between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue logged 47% in the WSB poll, while Ossoff was at 46%. Libertarian Shane Hazel had about 2%, while an additional 6% of voters were undecided.

In the race for president, the new poll pegged Trump at 49% and Biden at 47%, with an additional 4% of voters undecided. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen tallied a statistically insignificant figure. The last Landmark Communications poll, released on Oct. 1, showed the same tight dynamics.

Like previous surveys, Biden is far exceeding Hillary Clinton’s tally among white voters, registering about 28% of the vote. Meanwhile, about 10% of Black voters — the cornerstone of the Georgia Democratic Party — back Trump. Biden leads 60% to 31% among independents.

Sensing a chance to flip Georgia for the first time since 1992, Biden’s campaign has reserved about $4 million worth of airtime in the final month of the race, and his wife, Jill Biden, is set to arrive on Monday to mark the start of the state’s three-week early voting period.

Trump’s campaign, on the defensive, is largely off the airwaves in Georgia — though the president and his top surrogates recently stumped in the state, and Donald Trump Jr. will visit Savannah and Kennesaw on Monday.

ExploreAJC Voter Guide for the Georgia Election