More than 80 percent of Black women said they “care a good deal about who wins” the Georgia Senate runoffs and that their vote has “a lot of power” to affect what happens in their community, in a recent poll conducted by Higher Heights for America, and nearly 9 in 10 said the Senate “has an impact on their daily life.”
The poll of Black women who are registered voters in Georgia comes as the campaigns in the pair of Senate contests heat up and Black voters — who played a pivotal role flipping Georgia blue in last month’s presidential election for the first time since 1992 — are expected to factor largely in the outcome.
“When Black women in Georgia go to the polls with the start of early voting on December 14, they know that they have the power to elect leaders that share their values and center their issues,” said Glynda C. Carr, President and CEO of Higher Heights. “Their decisions will be rooted in a reasoned and deep understanding of what’s important to them and their communities.”
Georgia’s runoff is set for January 5, with early voting set to begin on Monday.
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in January, is facing Rev. Raphael Warnock. Sen. David Perdue is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff. Both parties’ candidates are running as a ticket, and the race has drawn national attention as control of the Senate hangs in the balance.
According to the poll, Black women are also connecting their top priorities to pending legislation that will be decided by the incoming Congress. More than 7 in 10 ranked COVID-19 as their main issue. More than half, 54 percent, said racism and discrimination was their priority, and 42 percent ranked health care as their most important issue. Three in four Black women polled said they considered legislation on pandemic relief and police reform as the most impactful for Black women and their communities.
The poll also found that nearly 6 in 10 are looking for a candidate who is “free of professional scandal” and only a quarter prioritize business experience as a criteria of electability. Both Loeffler and Perdue have been criticized for their stock trading activity at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. They have both denied wrongdoing, and a Senate Ethics Committee investigation found no evidence that either Loeffler or Perdue broke any laws or Senate rules.
The poll also indicated that voter education may be key to turnout in the final weeks before Election Day. According to the poll, less than half — 48 percent — of Black women know the date of the election. Four in 10 Black women reported they plan to vote early in-person, and a third plan said they plan to vote by mail.
Higher Heights for America commissioned HIT Strategies to poll 495 Black women who vote in Georgia, conducted November 20 to 25, 2020, via phone and online.
President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to campaign in Georgia for Warnock and Ossoff on Tuesday. President Donald Trump held a rally in the state last weekend for Loeffler and Perdue.