Donald Trump’s continued presence in U.S. politics is one reason the Republican Party underperformed in this year’s midterm elections.
The former president’s weakening effect on his party was perhaps no more pronounced than in Georgia, Trump’s Republican nemesis. Brian Kemp is up for re-election, while his preferred Senate candidate, Herschel Walker, is forced into a runoff with Democratic senators. Raphael Warnock.
Now with just two days to go until Georgia’s Senate runoff, those issues are more evident than ever. Trump’s unpopularity in Georgia led him to stay away from the state in the final days of the campaign, part of a deeper reshaping of America’s political alliances.
To get an idea of Trump’s impact on Georgia, check out the CNN/SSRS Senate runoff poll released Friday. Among likely voters, Trump’s approval rating is just 39 percent, with a high disapproval rating of 54 percent.
Of course, with Trump no longer in the presidency, you might think those numbers are irrelevant. After all, President Joe Biden is not significantly more popular in Georgia, with 41 percent approval and 52 percent disapproval, according to the CNN poll.
But when you break down the polls further, Trump’s unpopularity could deter voters from voting for Walker. The former football star leads Warnock by 87 percentage points among voters who have an unfavorable view of Biden but a favorable view of Trump.
If all voters who view Biden negatively hold that advantage, Walker is more than enough to win. The problem for Walker is that only 37% of voters in our poll favor Trump over Biden.
A sizable 21% of likely Georgia voters have an unfavorable view of neither Biden nor Trump. This group of voters still preferred Walker to Warnock, but only by 14 points.
So in other words, among those who don’t like Biden, there’s more than a 70-point difference in Walker’s advantage depending on whether they like Trump.
Warnock’s ability to push down Walker’s margin among people who like neither Biden nor Trump works for him mathematically, as polls find him leading by 100% among voters who are 40% likely to like only Biden percent.
To get a clear idea of how unusual it is for a former president to have such powerful influence, consider the last time there was an unpopular Republican president who had recently left the White House. In a CNN pre-election poll in September 2010, Republican House candidates still won by about 50 percentage points of voters who disliked George W. Bush (the former president) or Barack Obama (the current president).
If Walker wins over those who dislike Biden or Trump by 50 points, he will lead in our Georgia polls.
Read more here.