TagU.S. Senate

The Runoff Report: Poll: Ossoff and Perdue about even, Warnock slightly leading Loeffler

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate compared to Democrats’ 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate comes down to Georgia’s runoff elections. In The Runoff Report, we provide the latest on each race and the fight for Senate control.

SurveyUSA released poll results for the regular and special runoff elections. The poll had a credibility interval (similar to a margin of error, but for nonprobability samples) of +/- 5.2 percentage points.

Regular election poll results 

The regular election poll showed Jon Ossoff and David Perdue about even, 50%-48%. Some demographic breakdowns:

  • Democrats: 94% Ossoff, 5% Perdue
  • Republicans: 96% Perdue, 4% Ossoff
  • Independents: 47% Ossoff, 45% Perdue
  • White: 71% Perdue, 28% Ossoff
  • Black: 92% Ossoff, 5% Perdue
  • Loeffler runoff voters: 97% Perdue, 3% Ossoff
  • Warnock runoff voters: 93% Ossoff, 6% Perdue

The regular election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Ossoff ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017.

Click here for more coverage of the regular election.

Special election poll results

The special election poll showed Raphael Warnock slightly ahead of Kelly Loeffler, 52%-45%. Some demographic breakdowns:

  • Democrats: 97% Warnock, 1% Loeffler
  • Republicans: 92% Loeffler, 5% Warnock
  • Independents: 47% Warnock, 44% Loeffler
  • White: 67% Loeffler, 30% Warnock
  • Black: 90% Warnock, 7% Loeffler
  • Perdue runoff voters: 90% Loeffler, 7% Warnock
  • Ossoff runoff voters: 97% Warnock, 2% Loeffler

The special election will fill the remainder of the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. He resigned in Dec. 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA team Atlanta Dream. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The winner will complete the term ending in January 2023. 

Click here for more coverage of the special election.

What did SurveyUSA’s last poll before the Nov. 3 elections show?

A SurveyUSA poll conducted Oct. 8-13 showed the following, with a credibility interval of +/- 5.7 percentage points:

Presidential: Biden 48%, Trump 46%
Election results: Biden 49.5%, Trump 49.3%

Regular Senate: Perdue 46%, Ossoff 43%
Election results: Perdue 49.7%, Ossoff 47.9%

Special Senate: Warnock 30%, Loeffler 26%
Election results: Warnock 32.9%, Loeffler 25.9%

Overall campaign updates

  • According to ad tracking company AdImpact, the four Senate campaigns and various satellite groups are poised to spend more than $300 million on advertising in the runoffs. The figure includes TV, radio, and digital ad time already purchased or reserved. Republican supporters account for $177 million of the total spending and Democratic supporters, $130 million. 
  • President Donald Trump will campaign at Valdosta Regional Airport with Loeffler, Perdue, and public service commissioner runoff candidate Lauren “Bubba” McDonald (R) Saturday at 7 p.m.
  • Really American PAC is crowdfunding for billboards across Georgia featuring the message, “Perdue/Loeffler Didn’t Deliver For Trump, Don’t Deliver For Them.” 

Georgia Republican Party spokesperson Abigail Sigler said Wednesday, “It’s disappointing to see an extreme left-wing super PAC come into Georgia with the sole intention of deceiving voters, but no amount of billboards will divide Georgia Republicans who know that Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue continue to stand with President Donald Trump.”

The PAC said, “If David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win the run-off election, Donald Trump will become the only Republican to lose Georgia in a generation. … In a rare twist of fate, Trump supporters and those who want to see Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff win have a shared interest in seeing the two Republicans who failed to deliver a victory for Trump (Loeffler & Perdue), lose.”

Today: Senate runoff result history

Georgia held runoff elections for U.S. Senate in 1992 and 2008—both presidential election years. Both years also had runoffs for the statewide office of public service commissioner.

The table below shows vote margins in general elections and runoffs for the two offices, along with percentage changes in turnout and changes in vote margins between the two elections. Data for 1992 and 2008 elections come from FiveThirtyEight, and official results for 2020 come from the Georgia Secretary of State office.



The Runoff Report: Loeffler, Warnock Dec. 6 debate details

Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next U.S. Senate compared to Democrats’ 48 (including two independents who caucus with them). Control of the next Senate comes down to Georgia’s runoff elections. In The Runoff Report, we provide the latest on each race and the fight for Senate control.

Regular election updates

David Perdue released an ad Tuesday saying an Ossoff win would mean “illegal immigrants, voting; police, defunded; taxes, sky high; our proud military, gutted; your private health insurance, taken away; small business, out of business; the Supreme Court, packed.” Perdue closes: “If we win Georgia, we save America.”

Jon Ossoff‘s campaign launched TikTok and Snapchat accounts Tuesday to share policy positions, voting information, and videos of Ossoff on the campaign trail. Ossoff said in a TikTok video, “The future of our country and the planet are at stake. COVID relief, healthcare, climate change. So register to vote by December 7th.”

This election is for a full six-year term ending January 2027. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Ossoff ran against Karen Handel (R) in the 6th Congressional District special election in 2017.

Click here for more coverage of the regular election.

Special election updates

The Atlanta Press Club has released details about the Dec. 6 debate between Kelly Loeffler and Raphael Warnock—the only debate scheduled in the special election runoff. 

WAGA-TV/Fox5 Anchor Russ Spencer will moderate the event. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Greg Bluestein and WABE Radio Morning Edition host Lisa Rayam will serve as panelists. 

The debate begins at 7 p.m. You can watch it on GPB-TV, GPB.org, or on The Atlanta Press Club Facebook page.

Ossoff and Perdue were invited to debate as well. Ossoff accepted and Perdue declined. Currently, the debate is set to proceed at 5 p.m. with just Ossoff present.

The special election will fill the remainder of the term Johnny Isakson (R) won in 2016. He resigned in Dec. 2019, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA team Atlanta Dream. Warnock is senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The winner will complete the term ending in January 2023. 

Click here for more coverage of the special election.

Overall campaign updates

Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager with the Georgia Secretary of State office, called on President Donald Trump, Perdue, and Loeffler to condemn threats of violence to election officials. Trump has alleged election fraud in Georgia. Loeffler and Perdue have called on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to step down. Sterling said the following Tuesday: 

Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. This has to stop. We need you to step up. If you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.

My boss, Secretary Raffensperger, his address is out there. They’ve had people doing caravans in front of their house. They’ve had people come onto their property. Tricia, his wife of 40 years, is getting sexualized threats through her cell phone. It has to stop.

This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.

Stephen Lawson, Loeffler campaign spokesperson, said the following:

Like many officials, as someone who has been the subject of threats, of course Senator Loeffler condemns violence of any kind. How ridiculous to even suggest otherwise. We also condemn inaction and lack of accountability in our election system process—and won’t apologize for calling it out. Senator Loeffler will continue fighting to ensure we have a fair, trusted, and accurate election because the future of our country is at stake.

Casey Black, Perdue campaign spokesperson, said the following:

Senator Perdue condemns violence of any kind, against anybody. Period. We won’t apologize for addressing the obvious issues with the way our state conducts its elections. Georgians deserve accountability and improvements to that process — and we’re fighting to make sure the January 5th election is safe, secure, transparent, and accurate.

  • The Asian American Advocacy Fund PAC is hosting a text-banking event Thursday aimed at turning out Asian American and Pacific Islander voters for Ossoff and Warnock.

Today: Key dates and FAQs for voters

Key dates:

  • Registration deadline: Dec. 7
  • Early voting starts: Dec. 14
  • Absentee/mail voting deadline: Must be received by 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 

FAQs:

Can I vote in the runoff if I didn’t vote in the general election?

  • Yes.

Can I still register to vote?

  • Yes. The deadline is Dec. 7.

Can I register online?

Can I vote early?

  • Yes. Early in-person voting begins Dec. 14. Find early voting locations here.

Can I vote by mail?

  • Yes. Most Georgia voters who want to vote by mail must request an absentee ballot. Click here for information on submitting a request online, by mail, by fax, or in person. 

Can I vote in both races?

  • Yes.

Do I have to vote in both races?

  • No. Voters have a right to undervote, or not cast a vote for an office on their ballot. Their votes for other offices are still counted.

Do I have to vote for candidates from the same party in both races?

  • No. Voters can vote for any candidate in either Senate race, as well as the Public Service Commission District 4 runoff race, regardless of who they vote for in the other races.

Invitation to Georgia readers

We’d love it if you emailed us pictures of mailers from the Senate runoff campaigns to editor@ballotpedia.org.



Winners certified in Arizona Senate and Iowa’s 2nd, legal challenges developing in New York’s 22nd

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) were up for election on November 3, 2020, including two special elections for U.S. Senate. Below are recent developments in four battleground races—one for U.S. Senate and three for the U.S. House.

U.S. Senate special election in Arizona: The state of Arizona certified Mark Kelly’s (D) win over Sen. Martha McSally (R) on Nov. 30. Because this is a special election, the winner may be sworn in once the state certifies results. Kelly’s campaign announced that his swearing-in would take place at noon on December 2nd. He will fill the rest of the 2017-2022 term former Sen. John McCain (R) won in 2016.

California’s 21st Congressional District: On Nov. 27, the Associated Press projected that David Valadao (R) defeated incumbent TJ Cox (D). Unofficial results showed Valadao ahead by 1,754 votes. Valadao declared victory in the race on November 25, while Cox had not conceded as of November 30. The legal deadline for results certification in the district is December 3rd. 

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District: On Nov. 28, Iowa completed a recount in the race between Rita Hart (D) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R). Hart requested a full recount on Nov. 13 when unofficial results showed Miller-Meeks leading by 47 votes. Following the recount, Miller-Meeks reportedly led by six votes out of more than 394,400 cast, making it the closest congressional race in the district since at least 1920. A state canvassing board was set to meet on Nov. 30 to certify the results.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: The result in the race between incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) and Claudia Tenney remains too close to call. Brindisi held an apparent 12-vote lead before the Thanksgiving holiday. On Nov. 30, Tenney’s campaign said correction of an error in Herkimer County gave her a 13-vote lead. There are more than 2,000 outstanding disputed absentee or affidavit ballots, and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on their fate.

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Seventy-five U.S. congressional elections were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer

Seventy-five congressional races in 2020 were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer, including eight for U.S. Senate and 67 for U.S. House. Thirty-five races were decided by fewer than five percentage points; three of those were U.S. Senate races and 32 were U.S. House races.

Democratic candidates won 40 of these elections and Republican candidates won 35. Out of the races decided by fewer than five percentage points, Democrats won 22 and Republicans won 13.

Fourteen U.S. House races remained uncalled as of Nov. 18, and eight seemed likely to be decided by fewer than 10 percentage points.

In comparison, 102 races were decided by 10 percentage points or fewer in 2018. Of these, 12 were elections for the U.S. Senate and 90 were elections for the U.S. House. Democratic candidates won 49 of these elections and Republican candidates won 53.

Fifty races in 2018 were decided by fewer than five percentage points: five elections for the U.S. Senate and 45 elections for the U.S. House. Democratic candidates won 24 of these elections and Republican candidates won 26.

There were 42 and 56 congressional races decided by 10 percentage points or fewer in 2016 and 2014, respectively. In 2016, nine were elections for the U.S. Senate and 33 were elections for the U.S. House, with candidates from each major party winning 21 of the elections. In 2014, seven were elections for the U.S. Senate and 49 were elections for the U.S. House. Democratic candidates won 32 of these elections and Republican candidates won 24.

For races decided by fewer than five percentage points, there were 22 in 2016 and 31 in 2014. In 2016, five elections were for the U.S. Senate and 17 were for the U.S. House seats, with Democratic candidates winning 14 of these elections and Republicans winning eight. In 2014, five were elections for the U.S. Senate and 26 were for the U.S. House, with Democratic candidates winning 17 of these elections and Republican candidates winning 14.



Average U.S. House margin of victory on track to be narrower than 2018, setting a decade-low record

The average margin of victory among U.S. House races that were callable as of Nov. 18 was 30.0 percentage points, the narrowest since at least 2012, according to a Ballotpedia analysis. The previous record low was 30.2 percentage points in 2018. The average margin of victory in callable U.S. Senate races was 18.9 percentage points, wider than the 16.8 percentage point average in 2018 but narrower than in any other year since 2012.

The narrowest margin of victory in any callable race was Burgess Owens’ (R) 0.57 percentage point margin over incumbent Ben McAdams (D) in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. McAdams defeated incumbent Mia Love (R) by a 0.26 percentage point margin in 2018, that year’s second-closest U.S. House race.

The narrowest margin of victory in the U.S. Senate was incumbent Gary Peters’ (D) 1.35 percentage point margin over John James (R) in Michigan. Peters’ win was the fifth-closest by overall number of votes. The U.S. Senate race decided by the fewest votes was incumbent Steve Daines’ (R) 31,000-vote win over Steve Bullock (D) in Montana.

The widest margin of victory, excluding uncontested races, was Neal Dunn’s (R) 96.1 percentage point margin over write-in Kim O’Connor (I) in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. Among U.S. Senate races, the widest margin was Cynthia Lummis’ (R) 46.1 percentage point margin over Merav Ben-David (D) in Wyoming.

Ballotpedia’s analysis of Congressional margins of victory will be updated and expanded as final certified results become available.



10 percent of open Congressional seats changed party hands in 2020

Forty Congressional incumbents—four in the Senate and 36 in the House—did not run for re-election in 2020. Of these 40 open seats, four (10 percent) changed party hands as a result of the 2020 elections, and an additional three races were still too close to call as of Nov. 18. All four changes occurred in the House, where Democrats picked up three seats held by Republicans and Republicans picked up one seat held by a Libertarian.

The group of 40 incumbents who did not run for re-election included 10 Democrats, 29 Republicans, and one Libertarian. They represented 8.5 percent of all 470 Congressional offices up for election.

Across all 2020 Congressional elections, 16 seats changed hands. Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate while Republicans picked up one. In the House, Democrats picked up three seats while Republicans picked up 10 seats.

Additional reading:



Partisan control of U.S. Senate will come down to Georgia

Two of the 35 Senate races held in 2020 remain uncalled: the regular and special Senate elections in Georgia. Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next Senate, and Democrats have secured 48 (including two seats held by independents who caucus with Democrats). Control of the Senate will come down to Georgia.

Democrats would need to win both of Georgia’s Senate seats to split the chamber 50-50. Since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate, splitting the chamber would give Democrats an effective majority in 2021. Republicans would need to win one of the Senate races to maintain their majority.

Georgia is one of two states (alongside Louisiana) that requires runoff elections if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in a general election. As vote totals currently stand, it is projected that both Senate elections in Georgia will go to runoffs. That would mean we wouldn’t know which party will control the Senate until the January 5 runoff elections.

Republican incumbents are running in both Georgia Senate races: David Perdue in the regular election and Kelly Loeffler in the special election. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Loeffler assumed office in January 2020; she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigned.

Perdue faces Jon Ossoff (D), who challenged Karen Handel (R) in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2017. Raphael Warnock (D), senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, is challenging Loeffler.

Of the 33 Senate races called, Republicans won 20 and Democrats 13. Democrats have a net gain of one seat, as they flipped two (in Colorado and Arizona) and Republicans flipped one (in Alabama).

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U.S. Senate confirms Cannon to federal district court judgeship

The U.S. Senate confirmed Aileen Cannon to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by a 56-21 vote on November 12, 2020. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Cannon receives her federal judicial commission and takes her judicial oath, the 18-member court will have ten Republican-appointed judges, seven Democrat-appointed judges, and one vacancy. Cannon will join four other judges appointed by President Trump.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 222 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—three Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 164 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

Cannon was an assistant attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida from 2013 to 2020. Before that, she worked in private practice and as a law clerk to the  United States Court of Appeals for 8th Circuit Judge Steven Colloton. Cannon earned her bachelor of arts degree from Duke University in 2003 and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 2007.

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Tillis defeats Cunningham in U.S. Senate election in N.C.

Portrait photo of Senator Thom Tillis

Incumbent Thom Tillis (R) defeated Cal Cunningham (D), Kevin Hayes (Constitution Party), and Shannon Bray (L) in the U.S. Senate election in North Carolina. Tillis was first elected in 2014.

The race drew the most satellite spending of any congressional election in history at around $229 million. Top spenders on the Republican side included the Senate Leadership Fund, American Crossroads, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. On the Democratic side, Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent the most. 

Roll Call listed Tillis as the fifth-most vulnerable senator up for re-election in 2020. The three senators topping their list—Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)—lost their bids. Maine’s Susan Collins (R), who had the #4 spot, won re-election.

Thirty-five Senate seats were up for election, and the regular and special elections in Georgia remain uncalled. Democrats have flipped two seats and Republicans flipped one. Georgia’s races appear headed to runoffs, and Democrats would need to flip both to split control of the chamber 50-50. The vice president has the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

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Kelly declared winner over McSally in AZ special Senate election

Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally and 17 write-in candidates in the special election for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Kelly will fill the rest of the late-Sen. John McCain’s (R) term. The seat will be up for election in 2022.

In the 2018 general election, McSally ran for Arizona’s other Senate seat, losing to Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47.6% to 50.0%. After the election, interim Sen. Jon Kyl (R) announced his resignation and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced McSally as Kyl’s replacement in December 2018.

Before the election, Republicans had a 53-47 majority in the Senate. As of noon ET on November 6, two other seats besides Arizona’s had changed party hands. Tommy Tuberville (R) beat incumbent Doug Jones (D) in Alabama, and John Hickenlooper (D) beat incumbent Cory Gardner (R) in Colorado. Five races remain uncalled. 

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