Democrat Fetterman Leading GOP Opponent Mehmet Oz in Key Senate Race
Despite expressing pessimism over their state’s economic prospects and dissatisfaction with President Biden’s job performance, Pennsylvania voters continue to support the Democratic candidate in a key race that could tip the balance of power in the US Senate.
Democrat John Fetterman currently holds a lead over Mehmet Oz, his Republican opponent for US Senate, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY network poll of likely midterm voters in Pennsylvania.
Voters said they supported Fetterman (46%) over Oz (37%) for the key seat that could determine whether Democrats hold the chamber and can push forward Biden’s agenda for the second half of his presidency. Thirteen percent of those polled said they were still undecided.
In the governor’s race, Democrat Josh Shapiro (44%) led Republican Doug Mastriano (40%) with Libertarian Matt Hackenburg, Green Party Christina “PK” DiGuilio, and Keystone Party Joe Soloski combining for 3% with 13% undecided.
In 2018, 48% of Pennsylvania voters were registered as Democrats and 40% were Republicans. Today, the Democratic party registration advantage has been reduced to 45%-41% among active voters, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
“Even with Democratic party registration dwindling in Pennsylvania, both Fetterman and Shapiro are adopting a more populist approach to midterm voters and winning independents,” said Paleologos. “Voters say they are unhappy with the economy in Pennsylvania and President Biden’s job approval, yet these particular Democrats are threading the needle thus far.
Oz prevailed in the grueling Republican Primary and subsequent recount, but the fallout has resulted in a favorable rating of 28% and an unfavorable rating of 50%. Oz will have to distance himself from Donald Trump, who endorsed him in the GOP Primary, as only 22% of general election voters said that a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to support that candidate, while 47% said it would make them less likely. Fetterman boasted a 45%-27% favorable rating and led Oz 44%-24% among the small swath of unaffiliated voters in Pennsylvania.
The governor’s race was much closer and within the survey’s margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points, with Shapiro leading Mastriano among independents by 5 points, 37%-32% with a considerably high 24% undecided.
Majority of voters disapprove of President Biden
Biden struggles with a 39%-54% approval to disapproval rating, with half of voters saying they want their vote in November to change the direction in which Biden is leading the nation.
Voters feel standard of living has declined
Compared to a June 2018 Pennsylvania midterm poll, likely voters in the Keystone state see their standard of living as having declined. According to today’s poll, more people said their standard of living is worse (48%) compared to better (17%). In 2018, the responses to the exact same question were 31% better and 17% worse.
Pessimism over economic conditions in Pennsylvania
The percentage of voters describing economic conditions as “poor” has nearly quadrupled since 2018, jumping from 12% to 45%. Respondents in 2022 were far less likely to rate the economy as “good” (15% down from 35% in 2018), while the number categorizing conditions as “fair” dropped 9 points from 45% in 2018 to 36% in 2022. Only 1% of voters rated Pennsylvania’s economic conditions as “excellent,” down from 3% in 2018.
The statewide survey of 500 Pennsylvania likely midterm voters was conducted June 10-13 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the November 2022 general election for governor and US Senate. Each area’s quota and demographic information—including party affiliation, gender, race, and age—was determined from midterm exit polls and 2020 census data. The 67 Pennsylvania counties were grouped into five general regions. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/-4.4 percentage points. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].
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