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F&M Poll: Mastriano Falls Behind, Oz Closes In

Pennsylvania Republicans Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz trail their Democratic opponents in the governor and U.S. Senate races, but Oz is closer than where he was a month ago, while Mastriano has seen little momentum, according to the September Franklin & Marshall Poll.

"Mastriano's big problem is he hasn't really engaged in a way that makes it possible for voters outside his base to know about him," F&M Poll Director Berwood Yost said. "One thing is his lack of advertising on television."

The poll for the Nov. 8 congressional elections, which historically favor the political party out of power, was conducted Sept. 19-25.

While Democrat John Fetterman leads in the Senate race, 45% to 42%, Oz's attacks closed what was a 10-point gap in the August survey. Specifically, Oz challenges some of Fetterman's votes as chairman of the Board of Pardons, a seat he holds as lieutenant governor.

"What's interesting is the comparison between the two races," Yost said. "They weren't that far apart in late August; both Democrats had an advantage, both Democrats were well-liked, but you can see what happens when a candidate like Oz finds a theme like crime."

Yost said that Oz has been "able to pretty strongly attack his opponent, and you've seen what's happened in that race. You see what's happened to Fetterman's favorability ratings. That's what a campaign is designed to do and Mastriano has done none of that."

Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro leads State Sen. Mastriano, 51% to 37% while in August, Shapiro's lead was 44% to 33%.

On the "worse off/better off" question, 53% of respondents said they are "worse off" financially than a year ago, reflecting their views expressed in the four previous polls, and an increase from the August survey when 43% said they were "worse off." Fewer than 10% said "better off."

About 28% of registered voters believe President Joe Biden is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, which is lower than Presidents Donald Trump or Barrack Obama at this point in their terms.

According to the F&M poll, 55% of Pennsylvania's registered voters are "very interested" in the upcoming election with 82% saying they are "certain" to vote. This is similar to the interest expressed before the 2018 mid-term elections when 59% of voters cast a ballot.

For more about primary elections in general, including why there are so many candidates in primaries, check out the F&M Poll's August 2021 newsletter.

The F&M Poll, like all surveys, is a snapshot of a specific point in time, not a forecast. All polls have variability; voters change their minds; and events after a survey can sometimes influence voters' decisions, including whether to vote at all.

Conducted by F&M's Center for Opinion Research, the poll reflects responses from 517 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 235 Democrats, 210 Republicans and 72 independents. The sample error is plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

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