With runoff elections less than two weeks away, the nation’s focus is squarely on Georgia. President Trump has announced that he will be throwing his weight behind the Republican candidates. The voters in these two elections will decide which party controls the Senate at least until 2022. The two races will likely inspire record turnout, and many are wondering exactly how the chamber will look after Jan. 5. While some indications suggest that the Republican contenders will win re-election, not everyone is confident about their chances.
Top Pollster Weighs In
Robert Cahaly, the chief pollster for the Trafalgar Group, recently chimed in on the chances of either Republican candidate winning their election. He indicated that he is confident GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler will defeat her Democrat opponent, Pastor Raphael Warnock. But he is less sure of Sen. David Perdue’s (R) ability to win his race against Jon Ossoff (D).
“We see the Warnock-Loeffler race as one that will be less close. We feel more confident that Loeffler is going to probably prevail,” Cahaly told the Washington Examiner. “We feel more confident that the other one is going to be closer.”
The Examiner noted that “Trafalgar’s most recent polls in Georgia show two different races developing, with Loeffler leading Warnock by almost 7 points, 52.2% – 45.5%. Meanwhile, Perdue is holding an under 3-point lead over Ossoff, 50.2% – 47.5%.”
Cahaly indicated that Warnock’s Achilles’ heel is that he has received more negative media for his past sermons, which have expressed questionable views on serving in the military and abortion. During their debate early in December, Loeffler hammered Warnock for his previous comments, which have made him appear to be out of the mainstream for most Georgia voters.
“They’re driving him crazy with bits and pieces of his sermons,” Cahaly observed. “You watch the 11 o’clock news, and you’ve almost got your fill of television evangelism.”
Interestingly enough, Cahaly also points to the debate over the name of Atlanta’s baseball team. The Examiner noted:
“The Atlanta Braves have mostly escaped the attention of critics of Native American nicknames. However, with bigger targets such as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians deciding to change their names, it’s possible the Braves could be the next target.”
It does appear that the Braves could be the center of the next political fight over the name of a sports team. “There’s a lot of interest in the fact that Perdue and Loeffler, within hours of the announcement from Cleveland, came out and insisted on their support for the Braves remaining the Braves,” Cahaly pointed out. “Look at social media — there is a ton of attention on that issue.”
He continued: “We know that north of 73% of people in Georgia don’t want to see the name changed.”
While most other polls show both Republican candidates with only a slight lead over their opponents, Trafalgar’s gives Loeffler that sizeable 7-point advantage. But the pollster has been an accurate outlier before. It was the only firm to predict President Trump winning Michigan and Pennsylvania in the 2016 election. The company was also the only one to predict Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ victory in 2018.
How Will These Races Turn Out?
If Trafalgar is correct as they have been in the past, then it appears that Loeffler’s seat is safe, meaning that the GOP will maintain control of the Senate. Democrats would have to win both races to create a 50/50 split. In the event of a tie, the vice president, which is likely to be Kamala Harris, would cast the tie-breaking vote.
Cahaly’s assessment gives a reason for Republicans to be cautiously optimistic; a Democrat-controlled legislature would make it far easier for former Vice President Joe Biden to enact his agenda. Given the fact that he has already proposed significant changes to the immigration system and an aggressive plan to limit Second Amendment rights, conservatives would need a way to push back.
Read more from Jeff Charles.