Kelly Loeffler Falls Behind Raphael Warnock in Georgia Senate Runoff Poll

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has slipped behind Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock in the latest poll for next month's runoff election, while the race between Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff for the second seat remains on a knife-edge.

A joint poll from InsiderAdvantage and FOX 5 Atlanta released Wednesday shows that incumbent Loeffler is now trailing Warnock by two points, though four percent of respondents say they remain undecided.

Loeffler has the support of 47 percent of those surveyed, while Warnock has the support of 49 percent.

In the state's other runoff, Perdue had a one-percent lead on Ossoff in the InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 Atlanta poll. Perdue has the backing of 49 percent of those polled versus Ossoff on 48 percent. Four percent of respondents said they remain undecided.

Both Warnock and Perdue's leads are within the poll's 4.4-percent margin of error. Both races look like they will be extremely close, with just 13 days until election day on January 5.

The eyes of the country, and the world, are on Georgia. The two runoffs will decide which party controls the Senate for the next four years. If the Democrats flip both seats, they would control a 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.

The party would control both chambers and the White House, handing President-Elect Joe Biden power to deliver his platform with minimal Republican interference.

But if the GOP holds one or both Georgia seats, the party will likely frustrate many of Biden's efforts and force a more cooperative approach. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have the option of stonewalling the new administration and blocking progress on policy, cabinet picks and judicial appointments, as he did under President Barack Obama.

InsiderAdvantage chairman Matt Towery said both Democratic candidates are currently winning among independent voters, with Perdue and Loeffler winning over voters 65 and older.

"Both Perdue and Loeffler saw a decline in their level of African-American support over the last week," Towery said. "This is something I would fully anticipate as Republican support among African-Americans usually begins to level off in the last few weeks of a political contest."

Loeffler's attack ads have recently veered to the right, depicting Black pastor Warnock as a far-left extremist who wants to defund the police. Warnock is supported by groups who wish to defund the police, but he has been consistently against the controversial idea. The pastor has instead advocated reform to address concerns about racism and the militarization of police.

Towery said this strategy may backfire on Loeffler in the vital Atlanta suburbs, which dominate the state's vote.

"Perdue's support among white voters increased slightly since our last survey, while Loeffler's support declined over the same period," Towery said. "Ads supporting Loeffler that have centered on past statements by Warnock appear to have diminishing returns and may not be having the intended impact on suburban Atlanta swing voters."

Regardless, both races are expected to be extremely tight. Warnock topped the November poll with 33 percent of the vote, ahead of Loeffler on 26 percent. If the votes for the other 18 Democratic and Republican candidates go along party lines, both Warnock and Loeffler will end up with around 49 percent. The remaining votes were split between the Libertarian, Green and independent voters up in the air.

Ossoff came close to unseating Perdue in November. The incumbent won 49.7 percent of the vote—just short of the threshold for an outright victory. Ossoff took 40 percent of the vote, with the rest going to a Libertarian party candidate who will not be on the ballot next month.

Raphael Warnock speaks in Georgia Senate runoff
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock delivers remarks during a campaign rally with President-Elect Joe Biden at Pullman Yard on December 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/Getty