Georgia Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Herschel Walker is disputing a poll that shows that he is not favorable among Black voters.
The SurveyUSA poll released on July 26 shows incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock outperforming Walker in the election race among all Georgia voters. The difference is even greater among Black voters in the state, even though political pundits said Walker was positioned to pull Black votes away from Warnock.
“No, I think you’re wrong about it,” Walker said when asked about the poll results at July 30 campaign event in Alpharetta, a northern suburb of Atlanta. “I don’t need to argue with you about it. So I think you’re wrong. You know you’re wrong.”
The SurveyUSA poll shows that 5 percent of the Black voters responding to the survey favored Walker, the first Black candidate in Georgia to secure the GOP nomination for the U.S Senate. Warnock is nine points ahead of his Republican challenger overall, the poll shows.
Although, Black voters traditional swing left, incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp also fair better in the July poll among Black Georgians than Walker. About 9 percent of Black Georgians said they would vote for Kemp.
Many in Black America have criticized Walker for being a Black caricature that plays into racial stereotypes. They claim the GOP nominated him for the political race just to pit another Black candidate against Warnock, a Black pastor of the church once led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Warnock became the first Black senator after winning the runoff race in January 2021. Walker and Sen. Jon Ossoff were the first Democrats to secure Senate seats in Congress since Sen. Zell Miller in 2005. The runoff victories also ripped Republicans of their Senate majority.
Critics have called Walker “unfit” for the race. The former University of Georgia running back and Dallas Cowboys player has made headlines for lying about his credentials in his campaign, perpetuating a falsehood about Black fathers, and making nonsensical statements. Polls show Walker’s support among Black voters has declined in the past months. In January, 10.5 percent of Black voters in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/University of Georgia survey said they would support Walker.
“It’s infuriating because the entire raison d’être of the Walker Senate campaign is the belief that Black people are easily manipulable children who will vote for other Black people like clapping seals, eager to perform tricks for the promise of treats,” wrote attorney and political commenter Elie Mystal Jr.
Mystal, who wrote an op-ed for The Nation magazine in April titled “The Herschel Walker Senate Campaign Is an Insult Black People,” doubled down on his critique of the Republican on July 30. He told MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross that Walker was handpicked by white Republicans because he would be obedient and fall in line with the partisan herd.
“You ask why are Republicans backing this man who’s so clearly unintelligent, who so clearly doesn’t have independent thoughts, but that’s actually the reason. Walker is going do what he’s told, and that is what Republicans like,” Mystal said. “That’s what Republicans want from their Negroes: to do what they were told.”
“Walker presents exactly as a person who lacks independent thoughts, lacks an independent agenda, lacks an independent ability to grasp policies, and he’s just going to go in there and vote like Mitch McConnell tells them to vote,” he continued.
Black voter turnout is projected to be high in November as primary election numbers show a record number of Black Georgians submitted early or absentee ballots. An increase in Black voter participation helped Democrat President Joe Biden flip the state’s vote in 2020. Census data show that 33 percent of Georgia’s population is Black, and so were 29 percent of voters who cast their votes in the state in 2020.
Walker supporters say that polls have been consistently wrong. Key polls in the 2016 presidential election put former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton ahead of then-newcomer former President Donald Trump, who won.