Election 2022: John Fetterman-Dr. Mehmet Oz Pennsylvania Senate race narrows in new CBS poll

Party bases are consolidating around their nominees in the Pennsylvania Senate race, which is now a toss-up contest with Lt. gov. John Fetterman is two points clear of their debate on Tuesday night. He was leading by five points a month ago.

The magnitude of the change in attitude is partly due to more Republicans turning to Dr. Mehmet Oz “Coming Home”: The percentage of Republicans who say they would vote for their nominee has risen to 94% from 87% last month.

In Tuesday night’s debate, the economy, gas prices, crime and abortion are among the top topics people want to hear about – and most don’t think it’s important to hear about Fetterman’s health or Oz’s whereabouts.



Last month, voters said a debate was somewhat important — especially Republicans — and today voters are likely to pursue it. Thirty percent of voters overall say they are very likely to tune in. (Perhaps this will increase even further as Pennsylvanians, at least in the Philadelphia area, remember that the World Series doesn’t start until Friday.) And they want to hear it about the economy, police and crime, gas prices and abortion.



Both candidates are enthusiastic. Oz’s voters are no more enthusiastic about him than they were before, even if they support him. And fewer Fetterman supporters are very fond of Fetterman even though they support him. As with many competitions, campaigns often remind partisans of reasons to feel negative about the opposition, and that certainly seems to be the case here.




Potential voters have become more partisan than they were last month — that is, the likely voter pool is more dominated by those who align themselves with either Republicans or Democrats — including those who say they will definitely vote or have already voted . Over nine out of ten supporters of each candidate say they would not consider voting any other way.

That is consistent with a turnout campaign in which few voters are switching sides and fewer self-identified independent likely voters remain. Those in the mix are more pro-Fetterman. Meanwhile, some voters, mostly Democrats, have already reported mailing ballots in, which is reflected in the topline estimate.

This month, a slightly smaller majority say Fetterman is healthy enough to serve, spurred by Republicans now saying “no” in larger numbers — just a quarter of Republicans say he is — again suggesting that the campaign themes work with the party bases, but not so much beyond them.


The economy and inflation remain by far the most important concerns. The relative importance of crime is essentially unchanged from last month. (It’s only two points higher and remains below the economy and inflation, all of which are also gradually pointing up.) However, this issue appears to be giving cover for the partisans and could help Oz with GOP base. While Republicans are running ads about Fetterman’s approach to crime and criminal justice, it’s Republican voters and Oz who are most likely to say the issue is more important. For Democrats and Independents, the issue is comparatively less important.


Likewise, when Democrats give ads about Oz’s views on abortion, Democrats are the most likely to say the issue is important. It tops the list of importance for Democrats, and Fetterman retains a large lead among voters who say abortion is very important.

This CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker poll was conducted with a national representative sample of 1,084 Pennsylvania voters who were polled between October 21 and October 24, 2022. The sample was weighted by sex, age, race, education, and geographic region based on the US Census Current Population Survey and up to the 2020 presidential election. The margin of error is ±4.1 points.



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