Dr. Mehmet Oz is closing in on John Fetterman. No matter who wins, the race will be closer than people thought.
Things are looking up for Republicans. Last month, Cook Political Report changed the Oregon governor race from Lean Democrat to Toss-Up.
The Cook Political Report initially scored the Pennsylvania Senate race as Toss-Up.
The non-partisan election analysis newsletter flipped the score to Lean Democrat six weeks ago with a caveat: “it’s not out of the question that this could move back [to Toss Up] as the election nears.”
The race is back to Toss-Up:
Now, with five weeks until Election Day, that’s exactly where we find this race. In conversations with several GOP strategists and lawmakers — who a month and a half ago had begun to put the Keystone State in the loss column — this has emerged as a margin-of-error race that they once again see winnable. Republicans and Democrats alike admit the race has tightened and that Pennsylvania could be the tipping point state for the Senate majority.
As of Monday evening, the current FiveThirtyEight average shows Fetterman ahead by 6 points, while RealClearPolitics puts the Democrat with a 4.1 point advantage. But recent polls have shown the margin clearly closing between the two throughout September, with polls ending last month having the narrowest margin. After a brutal primary, it is becoming clear many Republican voters are coming home to Oz — as the New York Times’s Nate Cohn pointed out this morning, with Oz’s vote share among the GOP rising 10 points in a recent Fox News poll — even if it is begrudgingly.
But the more interesting number, as my colleague Amy Walter has previously written about, is that Fetterman’s vote share has decreased — and as we saw in polls in 2020, for Democrats especially, it’s been more instructive to look at that number as a possible ceiling. A Suffolk University/USA Today poll out today, for example, shows Fetterman ahead of Oz by six points (46%-40%). Several polls in late August and early September showed Fetterman above or hovering just below 50 percent. Since then, there’s been a clear downward trend.
The writers at Cook Political Report watched a focus group of Republicans who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 but chose Biden in 2020. Some will vote for Oz, who has Trump’s endorsement, with most citing “the crime ads as a reason for their vote for Oz.”
The incident happened nine years ago when Fetterman was mayor of the Pittsburgh-area town of Braddock. He said he heard what he thought was gunfire, saw a man running away, chased him down with his shotgun and detained him until police arrived. The jogger, Chris Miyares, was found at the time to have committed no crime.
Fetterman’s campaign walked back his talking point about releasing second-degree murderers from prison. He also said he wouldn’t defund the police, which is different from his stance two years ago.DONATE
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