Poll: In Key Penn. Senate Race, Democrat Fetterman’s Lead Shrinks

Oz shores up support among Republicans
Illustration of Pennsylvania as if it's a 4-piece puzzle, with blue and red pieces.

A Pennsylvania race for a key US Senate seat is tightening, with Democrat John Fetterman’s lead over Republican Mehmet Oz shrinking to just six points.

Fetterman’s support in polls since June is unchanged at 46%, while Oz has gained three points to reach 40%, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll of likely midterm voters. In June, Oz led 76%-10% among Republicans, but now leads by nearly ten points more, 85%-4%.

“Mehmet Oz is finally solidifying Republicans after a very divided Republican primary in the spring,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Now, the October battleground for both candidates will be that narrow swath of independents who could swing the Pennsylvania election, which has important implications for the balance of power in the US Senate.”

Trailing far behind Fetterman and Oz are Libertarian Erik Chase Gerhardt (2%), with Green Party nominee Richard Weiss and Keystone Party nominee Daniel Wassmer combining for 1%, with 11% of all voters still undecided.

Among Independents, Oz trails by 14 points, somewhat less than his 20-point deficit in June. But this group could prove to be a wild card in November. Currently one-in-five Independents say they are still undecided in the Senate contest, and Libertarian Gerhardt is currently winning 6% of Independents, a factor which could impact not only the final margin but the outright winner of the race.

Oz’s recent outreach to Black voters appears to be effective, as shown by his gains since the June survey. Oz currently trails Fetterman by 34 points among Black likely voters surveyed, compared to a 65-point deficit in June. Oz unveiled his plan to fight for Black communities in a mid-September campaign visit to Germantown, where he emphasized solutions for better health care and controlling increases in the cost of living.

Oz still struggles with overall favorability (34% favorable-51% unfavorable) which is slightly better than his June rating of 28% favorable-50% unfavorable. However, Oz’s attacks appear to be driving up Fetterman’s unfavorability (45% favorable-44% unfavorable) which is much worse than his June rating of 45% favorable-27% unfavorable.

“If you can’t get people to like you, get them to dislike your opponent,” Paleologos said. “This is a textbook strategy of Oz driving up his opponent’s unfavorability to make the race closer.”

Shapiro’s margin in race for governor widens

In the race for governor Democrat Josh Shapiro (48%) widened his lead over Republican Doug Mastriano (37%) with Libertarian Matt Hackenburg, Green Party nominee Christina “PK” DiGiulio, and Keystone Party candidate Joe Soloski combining for 2% with 13% undecided. Shapiro has gained four points, while Mastriano has lost three points since June.

Among Independents, Shapiro leads by 15 points, 36%-21%, but a whopping 31% are still undecided in the governor’s race.

Most Pennsylvania residents rate state’s economic conditions as “fair” or “poor”

Currently, 43% of likely midterm voters rate the Pennsylvania economy as “poor,” 38% say “fair.” Just 16% indicated they thought the state’s economy was “good,” and only 1% said it was “excellent.”


The statewide survey of 500 Pennsylvania likely midterm voters was conducted September 27-30 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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