(The Hill) – Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds a 9-point lead over his Republican rival, celebrity physician Mehmet Oz, in the Pennsylvania Senate race, according to a new USA Today Network/Suffolk University poll.
The poll shows Fetterman with 46 percent support among likely voters in Pennsylvania, while Oz, whom former President Trump endorsed in April, comes in at 37 percent. Another 13 percent remain undecided in the race, with independents making up a plurality of those voters.
The survey shows Fetterman with an early edge in one of the closest-watched Senate races of the 2022 midterm election cycle and suggests that, at least for now, Democrats have a path to flipping the seat currently held by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey.
The poll does show that Republicans have begun to coalesce around Oz as their nominee in the days since his chief primary rival, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, conceded the GOP nod to the Trump-backed doctor. Seventy-six percent of Republican voters say they support Oz in the general election.
Republican voters also appear more motivated than Democrats, with 73 percent of respondents who identified as GOP voters saying they are either “extremely” or “very” interested in the Senate race, compared to 68 percent of Democrats.
Among all voters, the economy remains the top issue in the election, which could bode poorly for Democrats at a time of rising inflation and fears of a looming recession.
Fetterman’s early lead comes amid the hiring of a new campaign manager and questions surrounding the lieutenant governor’s health. Fetterman received a pacemaker with a defibrillator to address atrial fibrillation following a stroke suffered days before the May primary.
Fetterman’s wife Gisele, who has been campaigning on her husband’s behalf, says he may not return to in-person campaigning until July.
In the letter from Fetterman’s doctor Ramesh R. Chandra, MD, FAAC, the prognosis for Fetterman was that “if he takes his medications, eats healthy, and exercises, he’ll be fine.”