Poll: Democrat Fetterman Maintains Narrow Lead Over Republican Challenger Oz

Fetterman’s halting debate performance has cut his lead to two points in US Senate race, though he is running strong among early voters

In their intensely watched race for US Senate, Democrat John Fetterman (47%) maintains the slimmest of leads over Republican nominee Mehmet Oz (45%), according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll conducted October 27-30.

Fetterman’s lead has shrunk from the six-point advantage he enjoyed in September to just two points, and his overall polling percentage of 47% has risen by only a single point, while Oz, now at 45%, has gained five points since September.

Three other candidates—Libertarian Erik Chase Gerhardt, Green Party candidate Richard Weiss, and Keystone Party nominee Daniel Wassmer—received a combined 2%, while 7% of voters are still undecided.

Independents breaking for Oz

The Oz turnaround has been most pronounced among Pennsylvania independents, who now favor him over Fetterman 43%-32%—although a sizable 19% of independents remain undecided. In September, Fetterman led 43%-29% among independents, with 21% undecided.

Oz has opened up a 16% lead among men, up from 2% in September, as well as a 7% advantage among white voters, compared to just 2% in September.

Fetterman, meanwhile, is cementing his lead among women voters, who prefer him by an 18% margin, up from 13% in September. Even more pronounced is his rise among Black voters, who now prefer him to Oz by 63%, compared to 34% in September.

Impact of debate and early voting

“Black voters are coming home to Democrat Fetterman, even though Oz clearly won the debate last week in the eyes of most Pennsylvanians,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “But Fetterman’s poor debate performance is, at least for now, being offset by his substantial lead among early voters.”

Among those respondents who have already voted, Fetterman is crushing Oz 75% to 19%, while among those who still plan to vote, Oz holds a comfortable 52%-39% lead. Early voting has been in place for over three weeks in most Pennsylvania counties, according to the County Boards of Elections information.

Pennsylvania midterm voters who watched last week’s televised debate overwhelmingly chose Oz as the winner, 62%-17%. Seven percent of voters who are now supporting other candidates said they would have voted for Fetterman if he had not had a stroke.

“That 7% is the difference between an easy win and an all-out scramble to capture this seat,” said Paleologos.

Race for Governor

In the race for governor Democrat Josh Shapiro (52%) leads Republican Doug Mastriano (40%), with Libertarian Matt Hackenburg, Green Party candidate Christina “PK” DiGuilio, and Keystone Party nominee Joe Soloski combining for 2%, with 8% undecided. In September Shapiro led by 11 points.

Economic Conditions in Pennsylvania

Currently, 46% of likely midterm voters rate the Pennsylvania economy as “poor,” an increase of three points over a month ago.


The statewide survey of 500 Pennsylvania likely midterm voters was conducted October 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].