In Pennsylvania, where Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is in a heated matchup against GOP nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz in the battle for the state’s open Senate seat, a new poll suggests that voters prefer the Democratic candidate on critical issues, despite the majority of respondents having an unfavorable opinion of Democrat President Biden.
A new Monmouth University survey among voters in Pennsylvania found that despite Biden’s underwater approval rating, the majority of voters trust Fetterman over Oz to best handle every issue of top concern, including abortion, the economy, crime and immigration.
“The economy is an issue that has generally helped Republicans in national polling, but Oz has not been able to capitalize on it,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Just 36% of respondents said they trusted Oz best on jobs, the economy and cost-of-living issues, compared to 45% who said the same of Fetterman. The poll showed an increase in the share who trusted Fetterman on the economy from 41% in Monmouth’s September poll, while the percentage who trusted Oz more remained steady.
According to the poll, 55% of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of Biden, including the majority of likely independent voters, 66%, who have an unfavorable view of the president.
Economy, jobs and the cost of living were either very or extremely important to 87% of Pennsylvanians. The issue was of top concern to 45% of likely Republican voters, 38% of independents and 34% of Democrats.
Abortion was the issue of top concern to 44% of Democratic voters going into the midterms, ranking over inflation on their list of priorities. Among independent respondents in the Pennsylvania poll, only 21% felt that abortion was the most concerning issue facing the state, and 26% of Republicans said they were focused on the issue. Forty-eight percent said they trusted Fetterman more on the issue, compared to 29% who trusted Oz.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June and declared that the Constitution does not confer the right to an abortion, returning the power to the states to place restrictions on abortion. Since the ruling, Democrats have used the issue of abortion to drive their campaigns, spending approximately $124 million campaigning on the topic this cycle.
A new light has been shined on the border crisis after GOP governors received backlash for sending illegal migrants to Democrat-run “sanctuary cities.” The new poll found that immigration is either very or extremely important to 63% of registered voters in Pennsylvania.
In Monmouth’s September poll, voters were split on whether they trusted Fetterman or Oz more to handle immigration, with both candidates getting 34%. In the latest poll, 41% said Fetterman would be better on immigration, compared to 37% who said the same of Oz. On crime, 45% said they trusted Fetterman, compared to 38% who trusted Oz more.
Fetterman is leading the Pennsylvania Senate race with 48% support over Dr. Mehmet Oz’s 43% support. However, the poll shows the race tightening as Oz’s support marks a boost of 4 percentage points compared to a Monmouth poll conducted three weeks ago.
“We asked probable supporters of both candidates why they are not certain about their choice. In most cases, these voters say they simply don’t know enough about general issue stances to fully commit to that candidate yet. However, a number of probable Oz voters in the poll did mention concerns about both his residency status and his conservative bona fides. Few specific reasons emerge in describing reluctance to support the Democrat, but it is worth noting that only one probable Fetterman voter in the poll mentioned health concerns as a reason they might not support him,” said Murray.
Concerns have been raised in recent months over Fetterman’s health, following his recovery from a stroke in May that appeared to affect his auditory processing ability.
Democrats are leading over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot by one percentage point, 42% to 41%.
The Monmouth University poll was conducted from Sept. 29-Oct. 3. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.