PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new poll suggests a tightening battle between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

KDKA-TV political editor John Delano has more about the poll and campaign response.

Six years ago, Toomey won re-election by 1.5 percent — 87,000 of the 6 million votes cast — against Democrat Cathy McGinty, a typically close Pennsylvania election.

The race for his seat is likely to be just as close. So forget all those notions of Fetterman winning Oz with a landslide.

“We all expected this race to be close, and that’s certainly what we saw,” says Burwood Yost, a sociologist at Franklin and Marshall University.

Yost says his latest poll shows exactly what’s going on. Last August, Fetterman led Oz by nine points, 45 to 36. Today, it’s just three points, 45 to 42.

Yost says many Republicans are coming home to Oz.

The latest poll shows a tightening race between Fetterman and Oz


“The main change we’ve seen in the last month is that Republicans have really started to embrace Oz’s candidacy,” Yost says.

Oz campaign spokesman Barney Keller said the crime issue is resonating with voters.

“I think it’s a draw right now. The reason Dr. Oz is pushing for this is so people will know John Fetterman’s position on these issues. They find out that he is the biggest fan of murder in the whole country. ” says Keller.

“It’s a really sad attack that they’re trying to pull off,” says Fetterman’s campaign manager Brendan McPhillips. “I cannot believe that someone would be considered a supporter of murder. It’s just a nasty description.”

McPhillips says his candidate is the only one who has directly dealt with crime in Braddock.

“As mayor of Braddock, he ended gun deaths for five and a half years in Braddock by working hand-in-hand with the police and the community,” McPhillips said.

But the Oz company is so convinced that crime is its winning problem that it has put up a billboard in Braddock comparing Fetterman’s crime record to toilet paper.

“John Fetterman is as soft as a roll of toilet paper in criminal cases,” Keller says.

“We had a good laugh about it in the office,” says McPhillips. “I don’t think anyone who pays serious attention to elections is going to look at John Fetterman and the work he’s done in Braddock and think he’s soft on crime.”

Whether crime will trump other issues like abortion rights, health care and the economy remains to be seen, but political insiders are predicting a close election.

“It was always expected that it would be a close election. I don’t want to predict exactly how close, but we feel good about how things are going,” says McPhillips with Fetterman

“I absolutely think it’s a close race,” Keller says.

As Republicans return to Oz, Fetterman continues to lead among Democrats and independents, but all the negative publicity from both parties is taking a toll on his favorability among the electorate.

Forty percent have a favorable view of Fetterman, while 46 percent have an unfavorable view. It’s worse for Oz, who has 34 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval, but it’s an improvement for him from the August poll.

Local political analyst Harry Mosley believes that the campaign from Oz has made at least a little difference.

“They’ve really been able to bring the spotlight back to John Fetterman in the last month or so,” Mosley says.

Mosley says Republicans across the country are using the crime issue to deflect from issues like abortion rights. Oz calls himself pro-life, while Fetterman says he’s pro-choice.

It’s not yet clear which challenge works best, Mosley says.

“Will Republicans be able to mobilize people around crime,” Mosley said. “Can Democrats Mobilize Young Voters, Especially Women, Around the Abortion Issue?”

Now the polls are just a snapshot of the current times, not a predictor of what will happen on November 8th.

What is clear is that the stakes are high for both parties, which means millions more will be spent trying to convince you how to vote.


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