OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Trump-backed Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz is leading Democratic opponent John Fetterman in a new survey following last week’s highly-watched debate.
A new Emerson College / The Hill survey released on Thursday finds Oz leading Fetterman 48 percent to 46 percent among very likely voters. Four percent said they were undecided. The poll notes that Oz’s support has risen by 5 points since September. On the other side, Fetterman’s support has only ticked up by one point since then.
“Additionally, 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters said they expected Oz to win the election while 47 percent said the same about Fetterman. But the latest data comes just over one week after Fetterman came face-to-face with Oz in Pennsylvania’s first and only Senate debate this cycle, during which the Democrat had a rocky performance as a result of his ongoing recovery from a stroke he suffered last May. Oz, on the other hand, appeared in his element due to his experience in television, something Fetterman’s campaign acknowledged going into the debate,” The Hill reported.
“Fifty percent of voters said the debate worsened their opinion of Fetterman, while 20 percent said it improved their opinion of him. Another 31 percent said it made no difference. Forty-four percent of voters said the debate improved their opinion of Oz, while 25 percent said it worsened their opinion of the Republican candidate. Thirty percent said it made no difference in their opinion of him,” the outlet added.
𝐍𝐄𝐖 𝐏𝐎𝐋𝐋: Mehmet Oz holds 𝟮 𝗣𝗢𝗜𝗡𝗧 lead over John Fetterman in Pennsylvania Senate Race
(R) Mehmet Oz: 48% (+2)
(D) John Fetterman: 46%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) November 3, 2022
With undecided leaners
— Emerson College Polling (@EmersonPolling) November 3, 2022
Earlier this week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the hometown newspaper of Fetterman, endorsed Oz.
The newspaper said that Oz was the “better bet for Pennsylvania” and cast doubts on Fetterman’s ability to serve as senator due to his recent stroke and his debate performance.
“During Tuesday’s debate, after hundreds of thousands of votes had already been cast, voters finally learned something about where the candidates stood. They learned, among other things, that Mr. Oz opposes federal intervention in abortion rights, and Mr. Fetterman supports the broader Constitutional guarantees provided by the overturned Roe v. Wade decision. They learned Mr. Fetterman supports a federally mandated $15-an-hour minimum wage, and Mr. Oz wants market forces to raise wages. They learned both candidates support fracking. They also learned both men are politicians, as they ducked and dodged questions about why they had changed their minds on fracking,” the editorial board said.
“Neither candidate has experience as a U.S. senator. Given the lack of substance during the campaign, many voters will have to make a leap of faith on Nov. 8.
“We believe Mr. Oz is the better bet for Pennsylvania,” it said.
The board cited significant concerns about Fetterman.
Mr. Fetterman’s health — he suffered a serious stroke in May — is not the issue. His lack of transparency, however, in refusing to release his medical records is troubling. It suggests an impulse to conceal and a mistrust of the people. All candidates for a major elected office should release their medical records, as did Mr. Oz. If you want privacy, don’t run for public office.
Mr. Fetterman’s life experience and maturity are also concerns. He has lived off his family’s money for much of his life. That has allowed him to do some good things, including mentoring disadvantaged young people and working to improve community policing and economic development in Braddock. That work, along with his six-foot-eight frame, shaved head, and tattoos, attracted national media attention. Still, Mr. Fetterman, despite his hoodies and shorts, has little experience in holding real jobs or facing the problems of working people.
Beyond that, Fetterman’s debate performance was so bad that many on both sides of the political aisle are criticizing him.
“Why the hell did Fetterman agree to this?” a Democrat lawmaker and supporter of Fetterman said to Axios. “This will obviously raise more questions than answers about John’s health.”
Leland Vittert, a NewsNation host, said “the biggest issue was John Fetterman’s health and his ability to comprehend speech, and to then speak coherently on the issues of the day.”
“Everyone is nervous. I’ve traveled everywhere. Fetterman is a deep concern. And this debate will only increase it,” a Pennsylvania Democrat official said.
“It’s sad to see John Fetterman struggling so much. He should take more time to recover fully,” Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, whose spot in the Senate the two men are campaigning to get, said on CNN.
“I wished Fetterman was in a better place to clap back. Overall, I argue it wasn’t great for us but still a draw. Remember in these next few weeks that Oz’s campaign is spending tens of millions of dollars against a man with a major medical condition,” one Democrat said in support of Fetterman.