(The Hill) — Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and his Republican challenger, former NFL player Herschel Walker, are deadlocked in the Senate race in Georgia, while Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is leading his Democratic rival, Stacey Abrams, according to a new poll.
The poll from East Carolina University’s Center for Survey Research found Warnock and Walker tied at 46 percent, while only 6 percent of voters remain undecided.
Among Black voters, Warnock has a significant edge. Eighty-three percent said they support the Democratic incumbent, compared to only 7 percent who are backing Walker. When it comes to white voters, however, Walker has the advantage. Sixty-five percent support him, while 29 percent support Warnock.
The Senate race in Georgia is among the most competitive in the country and could very well determine which party controls the upper chamber next year.
Warnock, who was elected last year in a hotly contested runoff, is vying for his first full term in the Senate. But unlike his last campaign, he’s now running in a significantly tougher political environment for Democrats; President Biden’s approval rating is underwater, inflation is on the rise and gas prices have reached an average of $5 a gallon nationally.
Walker, meanwhile, clinched the Republican Senate nomination last month and is heading into the general election with the support of former President Trump. While Democrats argue that Walker is a damaged candidate with no political experience and a tumultuous personal history, he also has broad name recognition in Georgia and a favorable political environment to run in.
In the race for governor, Kemp has a 5-point advantage over Abrams, scoring 50 percent of the vote to her 45 percent, according to the poll.
The poll suggests that Kemp, who overcame a Trump-backed primary challenge last month, has the advantage heading into his general election campaign against Abrams, a superstar among Democrats nationally and the party’s 2018 nominee for Georgia governor.
Abrams came close to beating Kemp in 2018, losing the general election by fewer than 55,000 votes.
But like Warnock, Abrams is heading into her general election bid facing a far less favorable political landscape than she did the last time she was on the ballot. While Kemp faced opposition in the primary, he easily won renomination last month and remains deeply popular among Georgia conservatives.
The poll surveyed 868 registered voters in Georgia from June 6 to 9. It has a credibility interval — similar to a poll’s margin of error — of 3.9 percentage points.