Republicans hold a slight lead in Georgia senate runoffs

Georgia’s two U.S. Senate races are too close to call heading into the final three weeks before the Jan. 5 runoffs, according to a new poll from Insider Advantage and Atlanta’s Fox 5.

The poll of 500 likely Georgia voters, conducted Monday by telephone, found Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue holding a slight lead over Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, 49.0% to 47.8%.

In the other contest, GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler held a similarly narrow advantage over Democrat Raphael Warnock, 49.2% to 48.0%.

In both cases, the difference between the two candidates was well within the poll’s 4.4% margin of error.

“The Republican candidates have found their footing,” said Matt Towery, chairman of Insider Advantage and a former Republican state legislator. “However, that footing is tenuous, given that turnout in absentee ballots cast and early voting thus far has shown a high level of African American voter participation.”

Offsetting that is the huge lead Perdue and Loeffler enjoy among white voters, at 68.4% for both candidates. African-American voters heavily prefer Warnock, the pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, at 82.2%, and Ossoff, who polled 79.6% of Black voters.

Independent voters, who used to lean Republican in Georgia, are going for the Democrats, according to the poll. Warnock has the support of 62.9% of the survey respondents, with Ossoff at 55.7%.

Men prefer Loeffler and Perdue, with the Republican incumbents garnering the support of 55.2% and 53.2% of the male vote, respectively. Women went the other way, backing Ossoff with 54.6% of their vote and Warnock polling 53.7% among female voters.

Broken down by age, the strongest support for the Republicans comes from voters 65 or over, with 56.7% for Loeffler and 56.4% for Perdue. Warnock and Ossoff polled highest among voters ages 18 through 39, with Warnock at 50.0% support among those younger voters and Ossoff at 48.7%. 

“[Perdue and Loeffler] need to up those [senior voter] numbers to feel comfortable about a potential win in January,” Towery said. “Meanwhile, Ossoff and Warnock must cut into the 15% share of the African American vote that the two Republicans currently enjoy. That number usually slips below 10% for most Republicans by Election Day.”

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