Two new polls show an edge for John Fetterman in Pa.’s Senate race, and Mehmet Oz’s support looking unenthusiastic
Mehmet Oz's negative public image has weighed heavily on him throughout his campaign for Pennsylvania's open U.S. Senate seat.
Democrat John Fetterman is holding an edge over Republican Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, two new polls found — and both show Oz’s personal image remains deeply negative.
Among likely voters, Fetterman led Oz 52% to 47% in a CBS News poll released Wednesday. But nearly two-thirds of Republicans said they wished their party had nominated someone else, CBS found, and only 15% of Oz supporters said they plan to support him because they like him.
The CBS poll also found the Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro leading Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano 55% to 44% in the governor’s race.
Meanwhile, a Monmouth University poll found that Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, was viewed positively by 47% of registered Pennsylvania voters, against 42% who saw him negatively. Approvals for the celebrity surgeon known as “Dr. Oz” were far worse: 36% of those surveyed saw him favorably against 52% who saw him negatively, a net rating of -16 points.
About 49% of voters in the survey planned to definitely (32%) or probably (17%) vote for Fetterman. About 39% planned to definitely (23%) or probably (16%) vote for Oz.
The polls, of course, are just a snapshot of one moment in the race, and recent years have seen some significant errors in polling.
But numerous surveys have found that Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident who had to disavow many of his past political statements while running Pennsylvania’s GOP primary, has been weighed down by a negative personal image. In part that came from the brutal Republican primary, in which he faced tens of millions of dollars of attack ads. Democrats argue it also comes from his shifting statements on issues like abortion, his distant ties to Pennsylvania, and his history of pushing questionable medical advice and miracle pills on TV.
Even among Pennsylvania Republicans polled by CBS, 64% wished their party had picked a different nominee, despite former President Donald Trump’s support for Oz. (Only 23% of Democrats said they felt that way about Fetterman, and 42% of Republicans felt that way about Mastriano, their nominee for governor).
And while Oz has questioned Fetterman’s ability to serve as senator after a May stroke, 59% of voters felt he is well enough to do so, CBS found.
While Republicans have tried to puncture Fetterman’s everyman image, he has a much longer history in Pennsylvania politics, and a more established reputation in the state.
Still, both surveys showed the economy and inflation as the main issues on voters’ minds, which could boost Oz. Among voters who prioritize the economy, 57% said they back the Republican against 43% who supported Fetterman, CBS found.
Monmouth, though, saw a more even split among its respondents, with 41% supporting Fetterman on jobs, the economy, and cost of living, while 36% favored Oz.
Abortion trailed behind the economy as a top issue in both polls, but it does appear to be a motivating factor for Democrats. Some 55% of Democrats told CBS they were more likely to vote because of the Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion, while 15% of Republicans said they felt that way.
The polls come with a little under two months to go until the Nov. 8 election, and the races could still shift in a state as closely divided as Pennsylvania.
CBS polled 1,194 registered Pennsylvania voters Sept. 6 to 12. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for questions involving the entire sample.
Monmouth polled 605 registered Pennsylvania voters from Sept. 8 to 12. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.