A new Franklin & Marshall College poll released Thursday shows the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania narrowing the gap against his Democratic opponent while the Democrat vying for governor maintains a steady lead.
Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor, holds a narrow lead over Oz — 45 percent to 42 percent — when voters leaning toward a specific candidate are included, according to the most recent poll. That’s down from his nine-point lead in the F&M poll released by the college’s Center for Opinion Research in August.
Oz, who received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, has improved his standing among Republicans since August, with the poll showing 62 percent among Republicans. Fetterman received a larger share of Democrats, 76 percent.
Fetterman continues to lead against Oz, reporting 45 percent to 34 percent among independent voters.
More voters believe Fetterman best understands the concerns of Pennsylvanians and is closest to their views on social issues, according to the poll. Oz, however, has an advantage with some voters seeing him as having policies that will improve economic circumstances.
Four in five voters — 77 percent — are aware of Fetterman’s health problems, meaning the stroke he suffered in May and a previously undisclosed heart condition. And fewer voters — 60 percent — are aware of Oz’s recent move to Pennsylvania, according to the poll.
The poll, conducted Sept. 19-25, includes 517 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percent, so either candidate vying to replace retiring GOP U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey could win. The race could determine which political party controls the U.S. Senate next year.
The governor’s race
The poll shows that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro maintained his preference among voters with a 10-point lead and higher favorable ratings over Republican nominee Doug Mastriano.
Among likely voters, 52 percent said they were likely to vote for Shapiro, the current state attorney general. Forty-two percent said they were likely to vote for Mastriano, a first-term state senator from Franklin County. When voters who lean toward one candidate or the other are included, the gap grows from 51 percent to 37 percent in favor of Shapiro.
The dynamics of the race have changed little since F&M’s August poll when Shapiro held a 48 percent to 36 percent lead.
The poll also found a gap between Shapiro and Mastriano in support among voters registered with the candidates’ own parties.
Among Democrats, 83 percent said they support Shapiro while only 69 percent of Republicans said they support Mastriano. Shapiro also held an advantage among independent voters, who favor the Democratic candidate 54 percent to 35 percent.
Shapiro is also viewed more favorably (45 percent) than unfavorably (33 percent) by voters, while more voters have an unfavorable view (52 percent) of Mastriano than a favorable view (27 percent), the poll found.
Shapiro also holds a fundraising advantage over Mastriano. Campaign finance reports this week show Shapiro received $25 million in contributions since June and has spent $38 million overall since the start of his campaign. Mastriano raised only $3.2 million in the same period and has spent roughly $2.4 million overall.
The poll followed an endorsement for Shapiro from the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, which represents 4,300 members of the Pennsylvania State Police.
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