The Cook Political Report, a non-partisan newsletter that analyzes American political campaigns, shifted Pennsylvania’s Senate race from “lean-Democrat” to “toss-up” just five weeks before the midterms.
Over the past few months, Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has consistently polled higher than Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, yet recent poll data shows Oz may pull ahead by addressing crime in Pennsylvania, according to the Cook Political Report. Crime has become a key issue in the Pennsylvania Senate race, and recent ads by Oz appear to be shifting the polls as Fetterman’s voter share dipped by four points at the end of September. (RELATED: Three Swing-State Dem Senators Are In Serious Trouble, New Polling Shows)
A Tuesday Suffolk University/USA Today poll showed Fetterman leading Oz 46% to 40%, yet an Emerson College poll from Sept. 23 puts Oz only two points behind Fetterman, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Oz has closed the gap on Fetterman, going from a 12-point difference in August to the current 6-point difference on average, FiveThirtyEight reported.
🚨@CookPolitical ratings change🚨#PASen moves back to Toss Up. Oz’s negatives remain high but it’s clear that the attacks vs Fetterman have had an impact and tightened this race since we shifted the rating to Lean D in August. https://t.co/jF0MJXHEV4
— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) October 4, 2022
Fetterman’s crime messaging could be a reason for the recent poll changes, according to the Cook Political Report. Republicans have spent $8.8 million since the beginning of August specifically targeting Fetterman on his crime policies.
A recent focus group of Pennsylvania Republicans, who left the party to vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020, said Oz’s crime ads were a key reason he would receive their vote, according to the Cook Political Report. Fetterman has pushed against the “soft on crime” allegations, referencing his efforts to fight crime as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
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