Warnock leads Walker in final InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 poll heading into runoff

The latest InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 survey shows U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) with a three percent lead over Republican challenger Herschel Walker heading into the runoff election.

The poll, which was conducted on Dec. 4 with 750 likely voters, had Warnock at 51% to Walker's 48% and roughly 1% with no opinion/undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 3.6%. 

"Walker trails Warnock by three points in our survey, which is within the margin of error. Warnock leads among early votes cast by over sixty percent. That means that turnout on Tuesday will have to be unusually high for Walker to win," said InsiderAdvantage Chairman Matt Towery. "Warnock and groups supporting him have continued their numerous personal attacks on Walker, which eroded Walker’s support among female voters. The Walker campaign has countered with similar ads concerning Warnock, but they have had limited resources and less support from outside organizations."

Fifty-four percent of Georgia midterm voters said they considered party control of the Senate to be the primary factor in their vote in the general election. But that’s no longer at stake.

Democrats flipped a Republican-held Senate seat in Pennsylvania to maintain their thin advantage in the chamber without relying on the outcome in Georgia.

In the general, many supporters of both candidates were motivated by party control, and they’ll need to be persuaded to vote a second time around when it doesn’t hang in the balance.

It’s a challenge for Walker in particular, whose supporters were slightly more likely than Warnock’s to say control of the Senate was their chief consideration, 57% vs. 52%. A Walker victory in the Senate would keep the 50-50 status quo, but Democrats maintain control with Vice President Kamala Harris ’ tie-breaking vote.

Towery notes that moving forward, Republicans may need to shift their strategy in order to secure votes in competitive races.

"It is also becoming obvious that Democrats are better at focusing on ballot collection in Georgia runoffs. They have piled up a formidable lead in early voting which forces Republicans to play catch up on Election Day," he said. "Should Walker lose this runoff, Republicans will have to change their approach to highly competitive races and in the future focus their efforts on gathering ballots early, using the exact same system that Democrats have nearly perfected."

The final stretch of campaign featured harsh insults from each candidate on his competitor’s character and integrity. Voters in the general were more skeptical about Walker than Warnock, though neither candidate earned glowing marks.

Fifty-six percent of Georgia voters said the incumbent senator "has the right experience to serve effectively" in the job, compared with just 39% saying that of Walker, a 60-year-old political novice.

"I think Herschel Walker is incompetent and Raphael Warnock has more experience, and I think he’ll get the job done," said Lolita Baylor, an executive assistant at JCPenney who lives in Morrow. She voted for Warnock.

Voters also were more likely to think Warnock has strong moral values compared with Walker, 53% vs. 43%.

Those critiques of Walker didn’t keep some voters from backing him the first time around, though it might eat into his support in a runoff. About a third of his own supporters said he didn’t have the right experience and about a quarter said he lacks strong moral values.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.