Poll shows Fetterman leads Oz, with much closer race between Shapiro and Mastriano
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The first independent poll since the primary suggests John Fetterman has a substantial lead over Mehmet Oz, while the race for governor is much closer.
Political editor Jon Delano takes a closer look at the Suffolk University Poll.
"John Fetterman has a nine-point lead right now over Mehmet Oz," said David Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
The pollster said he's surprised with Democrat Fetterman's lead over Republican Oz in the first independent poll of the U.S. Senate race.
Fetterman leads Oz 46 percent to 37 percent with 13 percent undecided with 20 weeks to go before the poll that really counts is given by voters on Nov. 8.
"Going into this poll, I felt this would be a really strong poll for Republicans given the economy is in the dregs, and Joe Biden's approval is down," Paleologos told KDKA's Jon Delano on Thursday.
But the Republican attacks on Oz during the primary are still sticking to him, as more people view Oz unfavorably — 50 percent to 28 percent favorable.
Political analyst Larry Ceisler said Oz is hurt, at least temporarily, by his bruising primary against David McCormick and Kathy Barnette.
"Is he this negative picture that McCormick painted or is he the fellow who raised his hand with Donald Trump or is he going to be somebody else?" Ceisler said.
The governor's race is much closer with Democrat Josh Shapiro with a four-point lead over Republican Doug Mastriano. That's within the margin of error, making this a jump ball between the two.
"The fact that it's a four-point lead is somewhat surprising," Ceisler said.
"The assumption was that Mastriano would be a candidate that would be an easy walk-over, and this poll is telling us that's not the case," Paleologos said.
What's giving Shapiro the lead at this point is strong support from women, who outnumber men in Pennsylvania. While Mastriano is leading among males (46% to 39%), Shapiro has a 16-point lead among women (50% to 34%).
While Mastriano's unfavorable rating is much higher than Shapiro's, he's still not very well-known to Pennsylvanians.
"Mastriano, of course, has done no media. And Mastriano hasn't even reached out to his opponents in the primary to say, 'Hey, will you endorse me?' He just marches to a different drummer," Ceisler said.
With most Republicans voting Republican and Democrats voting Democratic in both races, it could come down to the state's nearly one million independent voters.
Right now, independents back Fetterman over Oz by 20 points, 44% to 24%, while independents back Shapiro over Mastriano by just five points, 37% to 32%.
Again, this poll is a snapshot in time.
"In the fall, when we poll the governor's and senator's race, we want to have a baseline to be able to say, a particular candidate is moving forward or is flat or is going sideways, and it's a great tool to have," said Paleologos, the pollster.
It's not predictive of what will happen on Nov. 8. That will depend on how voters feel then and who comes out to vote.
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