For the first time in the 2022 race for U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, a poll shows Republican Mehmet Oz leading Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.
The poll from Wick Insights indicates the celebrity surgeon has the support of 49.1 percent of likely voters while Fetterman garners the backing of 44.6 percent.
Participants in the survey, numbering 1,103, reflect the state’s moderate electorate. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, whereas 48.5 percent said they voted for Joe Biden. Another 4.5 percent either chose another candidate or did not vote.
Wick’s poll brings the polling average in the race to a near-tie between the two candidates, with the data aggregator FiveThirtyEight indicating that Fetterman averages 46.6 percent support and that Oz has a mean of 44.4 percent.
The lieutenant governor’s popularity has suffered as a result of controversy around his handling of the stroke he suffered in May. Since that time, Fetterman has shown compromised ability to communicate verbally and has refused to release his medical records. He has only gone so far as to release a letter from his doctor assuring that his recovery is proceeding well.
Fetterman’s reputation has also taken a hit from Republicans’ complaint that he has been soft on crime, particularly as chair of the state Board of Pardons. He was, for instance, the sole vote of the panel to release Alexis Rodriguez, who killed Philadelphia teenager Sean Daily in 1989.
The differences between the two candidates on public safety policy have resulted in a number of law enforcement unions coming out in favor of Oz last week, including the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, the Council of Prison Locals, and Federal Detention Center Philadelphia.
“These hard working men and women know that John Fetterman’s crime agenda is dangerous, and I will always stand with them,” Oz tweeted after getting the endorsements.
There is data, however, suggesting Oz will need to work hard for a comfortable win. Two surveys conducted several days after Wick gathered its responses in mid-October show Fetterman with a slight lead. A poll of 500 registered voters from Echelon Insights has the Democrat ahead by three points; an InsiderAdvantage survey of 500 likely voters has Fetterman ahead by one percent.
Wick’s survey also shows a closing gap between State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in their race for governor, with the Republican garnering 46.4 percent and the Democrat getting 48.5 percent. Earlier polls have consistently shown Mastriano trailing Shapiro by a wide margin.
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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mehmet Oz” by Dr. Mehmet Oz. Photo “John Fetterman” by Governor Tom Wolf. CC BY 2.0.