On the eve of the Pennsylvania primary elections, one poll suggests that the Republican race for the Senate has narrowed to two contenders, while a Trump endorsement seems to have decided the Republican gubernatorial contest.
A survey from Susquehanna Polling & Research released on Monday shows Dr. Mehmet Oz with 28% of likely Republican voters, with commentator Kathy Barnette following closely behind at 27%. Barnett surged in the polls following a debate breakout performance on May 4, when she accused Oz of flip-flopping on his abortion stance.
However, Barnette leads among voters who have made up their minds within the past two days — perhaps thanks to the surge of media attention she has gained since the primary debate. With 11% of the vote, former hedge fund CEO and Treasury Department official David McCormick follows Oz and Barnette. Oz surpassed McCormick in late April in some polling after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
The May 17 election will determine the potential successor of Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is retiring after two terms in the Senate. Democrats therefore have a chance to flip the seat in the November general election.
Another poll from Emerson College likewise shows Oz with a 28% share of likely voters, as well as Barnette with 24% — a slightly worse position than the Susquehanna poll. That poll also shows McCormick with a somewhat more competitive 21% share of voters.
Among Republican contenders, Oz is the most polarizing; although he is leading in the Senate primary race, 48% have a “somewhat or strongly unfavorable opinion” of the candidate. Republicans have a 32% unfavorable view of McCormick and a 28% unfavorable view of Barnette.
On the gubernatorial side of the election, former President Donald Trump endorsed State Sen. Doug Mastriano on Saturday. Emerson College’s survey — taken between May 14 and 15, immediately following the Trump endorsement — shows Mastriano with 34%. Former U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta trails with 22%. Mastriano has gained 20% since the April poll from Emerson, while Barletta has lost 3%.
On the Democratic side, current Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman — who held a significant lead over his closest challenger in the Senate primary — suffered a stroke and was hospitalized last week. “On Friday, I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the hospital to get checked out,” Fetterman, who is still being held for observation at Lancaster General Hospital, said in a statement. Distant second and third place contenders U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta wished Fetterman a speedy recovery.
Current Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro — the unopposed presumptive Democratic nominee for the gubernatorial race — has already pivoted to fall elections. He is slated to deliver a general election speech on Tuesday in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Shapiro has thus far emphasized his centrist platform and run primary ads boosting likely Republican rival Doug Mastriano, in the hopes that his ties to Trump would harm him in November.
The share of Pennsylvanians requesting mail-in ballots has fallen since last year — meaning that elections should be declared relatively quickly on Tuesday, especially in comparison to the delays seen in the November 2020 elections.
National media has also focused on Pennsylvania as a key “abortion battleground” state ahead of the Supreme Court’s likely overturning of Roe v. Wade. Pennsylvania presently has a Republican-led legislature — meaning that policies surrounding abortion could be largely shaped by the outcome of the gubernatorial race.