Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is still holding an edge over Republican Mehmet Oz in their Senate race, according to a new poll that follows the pair’s only general election debate last week in which Fetterman struggled at times to answer questions as he recovers from his stroke.
A Monmouth University survey released Wednesday showed that 48 percent of respondents said they would definitely or probably vote for Fetterman, while 44 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for Oz.
Fetterman also appears to have a slightly higher ceiling for support, as 54 percent said they would definitely or probably not vote for Oz and only 49 percent said they would definitely or probably not vote for Fetterman.
Fetterman’s support in recent Monmouth polling has held steady, while Oz has made small but steady gains. Oz’s overall support has increased from 39 percent in September, and his “definite” support has increased by 7 points since early October.
An improvement among independents is behind that bump, with Oz rising from 29 percent among the group in September to 41 percent now.
But Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that there does not seem to be evidence of a major shift in the race, despite Fetterman’s debate performance.
“Fetterman’s performance may have had an impact on the margins but we don’t see any evidence of a wholesale shift in the race,” he said.
Voters trust Oz more to be able to effectively serve a six-year Senate term, with 59 percent saying Oz is capable and 48 percent saying Fetterman is.
But a plurality of respondents, 48 percent, said they believe Fetterman’s explanation that his problems with speaking do not affect his ability to think or do his job. About 40 percent said they do not believe him.
Fetterman was aided by closed-captioning throughout the debate, but he often struggled to form clear sentences as he continues to recover from a stroke suffered in May.
Most voters said they did not have serious concerns about the debate or did not see or hear anything about the debate. More than 20 percent said the debate raised serious concerns, but they are not reconsidering their vote.
Only 3 percent of the electorate said they are reconsidering their vote because of what they saw in the debate.
The race will likely be key to determining which party will control the majority in the Senate.
The poll was conducted from Oct. 27 to 31 among 608 registered voters who have participated in at least one general election since 2016 or registered since 2020. The margin of error was 4.5 percentage points.