In the first poll to be released after the single televised debate in the race for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, Republican nominee Mehmet Oz holds a lead over Democratic nominee John Fetterman.
As reported by the New York Post, Oz – frequently known as “Dr. Oz” – leads Fetterman by 3 percent in the survey of 750 likely voters, conducted by Insider Advantage. Oz earned the support of 47.5 percent of the survey’s respondents, with Fetterman receiving 44.8 percent.
Although these results are still within the poll’s margin of error, it marks the first time that Oz has held a lead in any major poll since the primary. The same pollster released a survey one week prior showing the two candidates in a dead heat.
Fetterman’s leads in past polls were often in the high single-digits, with RealClearPolitics’ aggregate putting him at an average lead of 8.7 points ahead of Oz back in July. Now his average lead has collapsed to just 0.3 percent. RCP’s adjusted model, which takes into account past polling errors that underestimated the Republican vote in 2016, 2018, and 2020, predicts that with such a narrow margin in current mainstream polls, Oz is the favorite to win once the undercounted Republican vote is factored in.
Fetterman, who suffered a stroke shortly before the primary in May, was widely criticized for his debate performance, which included numerous delayed reactions, struggling to complete sentences, mixing up words, speaking sometimes incoherently, and randomly interrupting his opponent with criticisms that were not relevant to what was being said. Although Fetterman and other Democrats had previously tried to dismiss the effects of his prior stroke, his debate performance revived concerns about Fetterman’s health as the campaign enters its final week.
Fetterman, the former mayor of Braddock and the current Lieutenant Governor, won the nomination decisively against Congressman Conor Lamb (D-Penn.) and several others. Oz won the much more contested Republican primary against former hedge fund manager David McCormick and conservative activist Kathy Barnette, with an endorsement from President Trump being widely credited for ultimately securing his narrow victory over McCormick.
With incumbent Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-Penn.) retirement, this seat is widely seen as the most vulnerable GOP seat in the Senate. If Oz wins and keeps the seat in the Republican column, then Republicans are more than likely to win a majority in the upper chamber by flipping any one of three hotly-contested seats currently held by Democrats, in either Nevada, Arizona, or Georgia.