Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) leads Republican Mehmet Oz by 6 points in the race for the open Senate seat in the state, according to a new poll.
A USA Today-Suffolk University poll released Tuesday showed Fetterman with 46 percent support to Oz’s 40 percent. Fetterman’s lead is slightly smaller than the 9-point margin he held in the same poll in June.
Fetterman has led throughout most of the general election campaign, but has seen the race tighten in a number of polls as Election Day approaches.
Fetterman has faced scrutiny over his health, specifically related to his recovery from a stroke he had earlier in the campaign and a debate between the candidates set for Oct. 25.
The seat, being vacated by the retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R), is one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities in this year’s midterm cycle.
Democrats have a slim majority in a 50-50 Senate with Vice President Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote, and are trying to maintain and expand their majority while Republicans attempt to regain control of the body.
The poll found Fetterman with a significant advantage in favorability ratings even as the race has tightened. Fetterman is viewed favorably by 45 percent of voters and unfavorably by 44 percent, while Oz is only viewed favorably by 34 percent and unfavorably by 51 percent.
USA Today reported that Republicans have outspent Democrats in the race since Labor Day, attacking Fetterman as not strong enough on crime and too liberal for Pennsylvania.
“If you can’t get people to like you, get them to dislike your opponent,” David Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk Political Research Center, said. “This is a textbook strategy of Oz driving up his opponent’s unfavorability to make the race closer.”
The poll found 44 percent of respondents said inflation and the economy is the most important issue driving their voting decision, and 25 percent chose abortion rights.
The poll was conducted Sept. 27-30 among 500 likely voters. The margin of error was 4.4 percentage points.