Fox News poll: Half of Pennsylvanians say Senate debate is a factor in their vote

The recent debate between US Senate candidate Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz is important to many Pennsylvania voters.

In one of the tightest contests in the upcoming midterm election, according to a new Fox News poll, 51% say debate is a factor in their Senate vote, and that group favors Oz by over 20 percentage points. Among the nearly half who say it’s not a factor at all, Fetterman is preferred at nearly 30 points.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

The nationwide registered voter poll was fully conducted after the October 25 debate.

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The poll, released Wednesday, finds that overall voting preference remains mostly flat, with Fetterman outperforming Oz by 45% to 42%. Last month it was 45% to 41%. At the end of July, Fetterman was up 11 points.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

Among voters who say they definitely will or have already voted, Fetterman is up 47% to 43%.

But the outcome is far from certain. Fetterman’s lead is within the poll’s sampling error, and 1 in 10 are undecided or support a third-party candidate.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

And while a growing proportion of voters are concerned about Fetterman’s health, an even larger number remain concerned that Oz may not know Pennsylvania well enough.

Thirty-nine percent are extremely or very concerned Fetterman may not be healthy enough to do the senator’s job effectively. That’s up from 34% in September and 23% in July.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

For Oz, 44% express concern that he is a carpet digger, up from 52% in July.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

Fetterman suffered a stroke on May 13. Oz lived in New Jersey for decades.

Independents are more concerned about Oz’s unfamiliarity with the state (40%) than Fetterman’s health issues (30%).

“Because voters have such specific and real concerns about both candidates, this crucial race for Senate control may be more about which candidate voters care less about than national policy issues,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, whose firm Beacon Research conducts polls for Fox News with Republican pollster Daron Shaw.

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An equal number of Democratic (46%) and Republican (47%) voters in Pennsylvania are more excited than usual to cast their ballots this year.

The Democratic candidates, however, have more positive support. Fetterman has 57% of his supporters enthusiastic, while only 37% of Oz supporters feel the same way. Most of those who support Oz have reservations about it (37%) or prefer it mainly because they don’t like their other choices (25%).

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

In the gubernatorial race, 64% of Democrat John Shapiro supporters are enthusiastic, compared to 46% for Republican Doug Mastriano.

At the same time, Fetterman’s 57% enthusiasm has dropped 11 points since July, when 68% felt that way.

About 12% of those who favor Oz in the Senate contest split their ticket and switch to Democratic nominee Shapiro in the gubernatorial race. For comparison, just 1% of Fetterman’s supporters vote for Republican nominee Mastriano.

Fetterman gets 89% of the vote among Democrats, while Oz gets 84% ​​among Republicans. Independents share 31% each.

Oz is up 10 percentage points among whites without a college degree, 12 points among men, and 48 points among white evangelical Christians. Fetterman is preferred by voters under 45 with a 13 point, by women with a 15 point, and by college educated whites with a 17 point.

Suburban women favor Fetterman with 24 points, while suburban men support Oz with 10 points.

As in 2020, the poll shows Democrats in Pennsylvania are more likely to vote by mail than Republicans. About 7 out of 10 voters say they will vote in person, and they break by 16 points for Oz. The quarter-by-mail vote favors Fetterman by 54 points.

“Anyone watching this race should be prepared for the possibility that Oz will take the lead in counting the early votes because Pennsylvania counts the in-person ballots first, but that Fetterman could catch up on the gap as they process the absentee ballots and count,” says Schau.

The candidates are competing for the seat of outgoing Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

The top three issues in the Senate race are inflation (33%), abortion (24%) and electoral integrity/suffrage (11%). Voters who prioritize inflation favor Oz by a wide margin, while abortion and electoral integrity/voting rights voters strongly favor Fetterman.

Since the end of July, inflation has increased by 6 points and abortion by 10 points.

In the gubernatorial race, half of Pennsylvania voters (50%) are concerned that Mastriano’s views are too extreme, while only 29% say the same about Shapiro.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.

Pennsylvania voters polled on October 26-30, 2022 for the post-debate Senate race.
(Fox News)

That helps give Shapiro a nearly 20-point lead over Mastriano, 53% to 37%.

Voters polled in Pennsylvania for the governor's race October 26-30, 2022.

Voters polled in Pennsylvania for the governor’s race October 26-30, 2022.
(Fox News)

The support among the partisans speaks for itself: 93% of Democrats support Shapiro, while only 77% of Republicans support Mastriano. Also, more than twice as many independents prefer Shapiro (49%-21%).

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In 2020, President Biden Pennsylvania won by just over a percentage point, while former President Donald Trump won by less than a point in 2016.

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This Fox News poll, conducted Oct. 26-30, co-led by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), includes interviews with 1,005 Pennsylvania-registered voters randomly selected from a statewide voter database and spoke to live interviewers on both landline and mobile. The overall sample has a sampling error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.

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