Most Georgia voters say Senate runoff elections conducted fairly, CNN exit poll shows


Voters line up for the U.S. Senate run-off election, at a polling location in Marietta, Georgia, U.S., January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(CNN) — Most Georgia voters in the runoff elections that will determine control of the US Senate say they are confident that the votes will be counted accurately, according to the early results of an exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.

About three-quarters feel that way, a sharp contrast with the mere majority who say the state’s presidential election in November was conducted fairly.

Those views are sharply divided by party, as both Republican candidates for Senate in Tuesday’s contests have expressed support for a planned effort to reject Electoral College votes as they are presented to Congress on Wednesday.

Among Georgia Republicans who voted in the runoff elections, about three-quarters say the state’s presidential contest was not conducted fairly, while more than 9 in 10 Democrats say the election, which President-elect Joe Biden won by fewer than 12,000 votes, was fair.

Republicans voting in the Senate runoffs have a bit more faith in the runoff elections than they do in November’s contest. Just over half of Republicans now feel confident their votes will be counted accurately.

Among Democrats, more than 9 in 10 are confident their votes in the runoff will be counted accurately, as are 7 in 10 independents.

That’s a reversal compared with November, when 92% of Georgia Republicans were confident that votes would be counted accurately, while only 79% of Democrats felt the same, according to exit polls at that time.

Demographically, the electorate looks a bit older than those who cast ballots in November, according to the preliminary results of the exit poll, but it is similar in its makeup by gender, race and education.

Concerned about the coronavirus

Voting in Georgia has occurred amid rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations nationwide. About 7 in 10 voters say they are at least somewhat worried that they or someone in their families will be infected with the virus.

Majorities across party lines express worry about coronavirus reaching their family, including about 8 in 10 Democrats, two-thirds of independents and roughly 6 in 10 Republicans.

However, the partisan divides are larger over whether to prioritize limiting the spread of the virus or rebuilding the economy.

A slim majority of all voters in the runoff elections say it is more important to contain the coronavirus now, even if it hurts the economy, while about 4 in 10 prioritize rebuilding the economy even if it hurts the effort to contain the spread of the virus, according to preliminary exit poll results.

Eight in 10 Democrats prioritize limiting the spread of the virus, while about two-thirds of Republicans say the economy should be the higher priority. Among independents, a narrow majority say limiting the spread is more important.

The economic effects of the pandemic have reached many who voted in Tuesday’s contests. Most Georgia voters say they have faced at least moderate financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, including about 1 in 6 who say they have suffered severe financial hardship.

The CNN exit poll was conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, a consortium of CNN, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News. Interviews were completed with 5,260 voters in one of three ways: In-person on Election Day at 39 polling places across Georgia, in-person at 25 early voting locations around the state or by telephone for voters who cast ballots by mail or in-person during early voting. Results for the full sample of voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.


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