(Reuters) – Georgia voters appeared less confident about the accuracy of the outcome in Tuesday’s run-off races in their state to determine control of the U.S. Senate than they were in the presidential election results two months ago, an exit poll showed.
Edison Research’s poll of more than 5,200 voters who cast ballots in the two Senate contests showed more than seven in 10 were very or somewhat confident their vote would be counted accurately, down from 85% who registered confidence on that score in its Nov. 3 exit poll.
Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler faced Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a pastor at a historic Black church in Atlanta.
Georgia has been the focus of intense squabbling since the presidential race, when Democrat Joe Biden narrowly prevailed over Republican President Donald Trump in the state, one of a clutch of key races that ultimately delivered Biden a victory.
Biden won the state by 11,779 votes. He is due to be sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Jan. 20.
Trump has yet to accept the outcome from either Georgia or the national election, and has lambasted the state’s Republican governor and secretary of state for rejecting his bids to overturn the outcome. All of his efforts, including legal challenges and multiple recounts of the Georgia outcome, have failed to change the results.
Worries that Trump’s incessant complaints about the election – including false claims of fraud – would drive down confidence in Tuesday’s outcome appear to be validated by the Edison poll.
Still, the poll found that more than half of voters in the Georgia run-off races believe the 2020 presidential election was conducted fairly, while around four in 10 said it was not.
The poll, which included both voters who cast ballots on Tuesday and some of the more than 3 million who voted early, also found the racial mix of voters appeared to be roughly the same as in November’s general election.
About six in 10 voters identified as white, while roughly three in 10 were Black and the remainder were split among Latinx, Asian and other races.
Voters also came largely from the same regions of the state, with nearly three in 10 from the Atlanta suburbs, two in 10 each from the city of Atlanta or the north or central parts of the state. The rest came from the Georgia coast or the south.
A little more than half of the voters said they had experienced financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic, with a bit less than half saying they had experienced no hardship at all.
(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Howard Goller)