With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock retains a slight advantage over Republican challenger and former college and pro football star Herschel Walker, according to a new public opinion poll in the crucial southeastern battleground state.

Forty-nine percent of those questioned in a Monmouth University Poll released on Wednesday said they’d definitely vote or probably vote for Warnock, the senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach, with 44% saying the same thing about Walker, who won a Heisman Trophy and helped steer the University of Georgia to a college football national championship four decades ago. 

But the poll’s release notes that among “extremely motivated” voters, Warnock’s edge narrows to 49%-48%. An average of all the most recent surveys in the race compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates Warnock holding a razor-thin edge over Walker.

The high-profile and expensive Senate battle in Georgia is among a handful of races across the country that will likely determine if the Republicans win back the chamber’s majority in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

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Republican Senate nominee in Georgia Herschel Walker takes photos with supporters, at a campaign event in Carrollton, Georgia on Oct. 12, 2022
(Fox News )

Four in ten of respondents questioned in the Monmouth poll, which was conducted Oct. 20-24, said they would definitely not vote for Warnock, with 46% saying the same thing about Walker. And the survey also indicates Warnock holding a positive 51%-43% favorable/unfavorable rating, while Walker was underwater at 43% favorable and 52% unfavorable. 

“Walker’s path to victory is narrow, but it’s still there. He needs to get enough voters to overlook their misgivings about him to come over to his support or benefit from a turnout disparity among the two parties’ base voters. At this point, the latter option looks like his better bet,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray highlighted.

Walker’s campaign says their internal poll numbers indicate that the GOP nominee holds a slight edge over Warnock.

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Warnock narrowly edged Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffer in Georgia’s twin Senate runoffs on Jan. 5, 2020. His victory along with now-Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff’s razor-thin win over GOP Sen. David Perdue gave the Democrats the Senate majority. 

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, with supporters at a rally for seniors, in Atlanta, GA. on Sept. 26, 2022

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, with supporters at a rally for seniors, in Atlanta, GA. on Sept. 26, 2022
(Fox News)

And with the new poll indicating that one percent said they’d definitely vote for Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver and another nine percent saying they’d probably cast a ballot for Oliver, there’s a chance that the 2022 Senate election in Georgia may also head to a runoff. Under Georgia law, if no candidate tops 50% of the vote Nov. 8, the Senate race will go to a runoff between the two top vote getters, which this cycle would be held four weeks later on Dec. 6.

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More than one million Georgians — a midterm record — have cast ballots through the first eight days of early voting, according to new numbers Wednesday from Georgia’s Secretary of State.

Thanks to his legendary status among many in Georgia and his immense, favorable name recognition, Walker was the overwhelming front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination and basically ignored the field of lesser-known primary rivals, declining to take part in debates as he focused his campaign on Warnock. Walker ended up trouncing his rivals in the May primary, but he quickly came under fire as the general election got underway.

Walker was heavily criticized both on the campaign trail and in ads over what Democrats call his numerous “bizarre or false statements.” A TV ad by Warnock’s campaign that launched over the summer highlighted past comments by Walker saying that he had a “dry mist” that would “kill any COVID on your body.” 

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Walker also took incoming fire over numerous reports that he overinflated the success of his businesses and academic record. 

And even before he faced bombshell allegations in September and October that he allegedly paid for a girlfriend’s abortion 13 years ago — which he denied — Walker was forced to play defense regarding a number of other personal controversies, including accusations of past abuse and threats against his first wife, and acknowledging children he fathered out of wedlock that he had not previously publicly mentioned, despite having criticized absent fathers for decades.

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