Another ominously bad poll for Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

We should reserve judgment on this one as I’m unfamiliar with the pollster, Blueprint Polling, apart from the fact that (a) it’s the “sister company” to a Democratic polling firm and (b) it’s the same one that recently found DeSantis leading Trump 51/39 in Florida.

But the results here are grim enough to be noteworthy, particularly when we’re starving for data from Pennsylvania. There hasn’t been a public poll of the state since mid-June, when one survey found John Fetterman ahead of Oz, 50/44. A Democrat being up six in a swing state in a national environment as red as this one is seriously bad news.

The same Democrat being up nine points a month later would be seriously worse, but that’s where Blueprint has Fetterman today. Do they have a thumb on the scale for Team Blue or are they simply ahead of the curve in capturing a trend towards Fetterman that’ll soon be borne out by public polls of Pennsylvania? We’ll know in the next few weeks.

President Biden’s lead has vanished since we last polled the state in February. Five months ago, Biden led Trump 45%-40%. Today, the race is a statistical tie (42%/41%). Biden saw his lead among college-educated voters drop from 18% in February to 12% this month, and among women from 15% to 9%.

John Fetterman leads Dr. Oz by 9.3% (48.9%-39.6%) in the race for US Senate, and Josh Shapiro leads Doug Mastriano by 11.3% (50.7%-39.4%) in the race for governor. Both Democrats win voters who say they are undecided or voting third party in the presidential race by a 2:1 margin, and both candidates improve on Biden’s vote share among voters under 45 by double digits.

Democrats’ big bet on Doug Mastriano looks to be paying off (at least for now). During the state’s primaries, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party spent money on ads to boost the far-right Mastriano over more moderate candidates—a bold move.

Is it plausible that both Fetterman and Shapiro have pulled ahead comfortably during a stretch when Biden’s job approval has gone into the toilet nationally? Well … maybe. Everyone knows about Fetterman’s health issues by now but less well known is the fact that Oz hasn’t done much advertising on Pennsylvania TV this summer, a missed opportunity given how his opponent has been sidelined. It’s conceivable that media coverage of Fetterman’s stroke and recovery has earned him some sympathy from swing voters there at a moment when Oz isn’t really competing for voters’ attention.

It’s also conceivable that Fetterman’s return to the campaign trail has reassured some voters who were on the fence about supporting him until they felt confident that he’d be able to do the job. One attendee at a Fetterman fundraiser held this week gave him this mixed report card in the aftermath: “He looked good. He looked physically healthy. His color was good, he wasn’t too thin. He displayed a wide range of emotions. He made people laugh. He was very warm. He really came across not that different from the John that we knew beforehand. But clearly he had a stroke and it was a long day for him.”

It may also be that Fetterman’s attacks on Oz are working. It’s hard to attack him as a wild-eyed MAGA radical — he affirmed his support for gay marriage in a statement just a few hours ago, for instance — so instead Fetterman has pressed his “authenticity” advantage by mocking Oz’s Pennsylvania bona fides in creative ways. A few days ago his campaign launched a petition to have Oz inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, a funny and cleverly attention-grabbing way to accuse him of being a carpetbagger. It’s a running theme in Fetterman’s attacks:

If you can’t plausibly make the case that your opponent is out of touch with the state ideologically, make the case that he’s out of touch with it culturally. For Oz, the task is just the opposite: Fetterman’s Pennsylvania cultural cred is unimpeachable but he really is an out-of-step radical about certain issues, as the GOP has increasingly noted lately.

A few years ago he signed a pledge to ban fracking, a key industry in Pennsylvania, but has since backed off after recognizing that it would amount to political suicide. Fetterman’s strategy seems to be to avoid policy squabbles as much as possible and focus on making Oz an object of ridicule, someone no swing voter would be proud to support. Oz’s strategy should be to make it a clash of ideologies, forcing voters to set aside Fetterman’s personal appeal and vote in the best interests of the state. If the Blueprint poll is right, one guy is obviously doing a better job executing his strategy than the other.

If you’re looking for reasons to doubt the Blueprint numbers, though, note that an 11-point lead for Josh Shapiro over Doug Mastriano is waaaaay out of line with the most recent public polls from mid-June, which had Shapiro up just three points. It’s possible that Mastriano’s support has collapsed in the six weeks since, as he really is a wild-eyed MAGA radical and Shapiro is working to educate swing voters on that fact. But to fall from the mid-40s to 39 percent in a span as short as that is unlikely, especially with Biden tanking over the same period and Pennsylvania Republicans beginning to circle the wagons around their nominee on partisan grounds. “When you play team sports, you learn what being part of a team means,” said one top state GOPer in defense of Mastriano. Give any Republican base voter a choice between a Democrat and an autocrat and nine out of 10 will take the autocrat. I’m skeptical that Mastriano is suddenly down double digits. So maybe Fetterman’s gaudy lead over Oz is also a mirage.

Trending on HotAir Videos