Split-ticket Georgia voters keeping Walker from victory while reelecting Kemp

After Gov. Brian Kemp’s reelection, split-ticket voters in Georgia played a major role in tightening Georgia’s Senate race between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walk. Brian Kemp (R.GA) won by almost a 10-point margin.

With 84% of votes counted, neither candidate in the Senate race has reached the threshold of 50% to avoid a runoff. The incumbent governor won the gubernatorial race against Stacey Abrams, his Democratic opponent in 2018. He received 54% of the vote, and easily avoided a runoff.

Experts have known for months that vote-splitters (those who support a Republican but choose to abstain or vote for a Democrat) could play a decisive role in the Senate election. Walker, a Heisman Trophy-winning football player in Georgia, is currently tied with Warnock in the statistical final weeks of this race. In that time period Kemp comfortably and consistently led Abrams.

Although it is rare for Georgia voters not to split their ticket, many Republicans and independent Kemp voters told pollsters they were hesitant to back Walker because of his string of scandals, including multiple allegations of domestic violence and reports that Walker paid for abortions for women despite being on an anti-abortion platform.

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While the votes are still being counted in some counties, Kemp has been outperforming Walker so far. In the reddest areas of the state, the difference in performance between the Republicans is less evident. Kemp often beats Abrams by just slightly more than Walker beats Warnock. The difference is much more evident in moderate areas. Fayette County is located just 30 minutes south from Atlanta. Kemp currently beat Abrams by 10%. Warnock and Walker are tied at 48.9%.

This is evident even in Democratic strongholds such as Clarke County where Warnock won with 71% while Abrams got only 67%. Abrams leads Kemp in liberal Chatham County where Savannah is situated by 11% while Warnock leads Walker with 20%. Kemp currently leads Abrams rural Clay County 51%-49%, while Warnock beats Walker 51%-47%.

This election cycle, vote-splitting was not limited to Georgia. Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly elected Josh Shapiro (a Democrat) to the governor’s mansion, beating Doug Mastriano, a Republican. In the state’s Senate race, Lt. Governor. John Fetterman (a Democrat) and Dr. Mehmet O, a Republican, remained in a dead heat.

Fetterman leads Oz with 80% of precincts reporting. Shapiro beat Mastriano who was at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 to work for the overturning of the 2020 Pennsylvania election results by more than 11 point.