Fetterman and Shapiro enjoy comfortable leads in latest F&M polls

A new poll shows Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro have a significant lead over their Republican opponents, even as Pennsylvania voters remain unhappy with the direction of the state and the country.

In the poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research, Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, leads GOP nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz 43% to 30% in the Senate race, with 20% undecided, while Shapiro leads GOP state Sen. Doug. Mastriano 44% against 33% in the race for governor with 19% undecided.

F&M College surveyed 522 registered voters between Aug. 15 and Aug. 21, and the margin of error is plus/minus 5.3 percentage points.

Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research, said the two Democrats’ sweeping advances in the face of overwhelming voter discontent showed the two Republicans’ weaknesses.

Sixty-one percent of Pennsylvania voters said the state was on the wrong track, while 77 percent said the same of the country, and Republicans lead 44 percent to 42 percent on wildcard ballots.

Typically, such frustration would be blamed on the party in charge, currently the Democrats with President Joe Biden in the White House and Governor Tom Wolf completing his second term, but that is not the case.

“Right now, in this environment, it depends on the candidates,” Yost said.

Oz and Mastriano are simply overwhelmed in their campaigns and “really need to try something different if they want to make inroads” in the advances of their Democratic opponents, Yost said.

When asked if it was possible for Oz or Mastriano to gain ground with just over two months until the Nov. 8 election, Yost paused and replied, “I don’t know.”

Oz follows Fetterman in fundraising, and his campaign’s stumbles have been many.

In the past week alone, the Oz campaign saw an ill-advised video of Oz buying raw vegetables, or raw vegetables, become the catalyst for relentless trolling and a spokesperson for the Oz campaign. is mocked by Fetterman for having a stroke, sparking a firestorm of criticism.

Mastriano, meanwhile, ignored mainstream media while being rocked by stories about his involvement in the rally and march that preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and his ties to a platform for right-wing social media whose founder has repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks.

Fetterman has a 43% favorable rating and a 36% unfavorable rating, but Oz is underwater with Keystone State voters with a miserable 57% unfavorable rating.

Instead of trying to improve his rating among voters, Yost said Oz should focus on lowering Fetterman’s favorable rating, but that’s easier said than done.

“It’s a big lift,” Yost said.

Oz’s unpopularity among voters is a bad sign. “It’s just unusual for a candidate with negative favorability ratings to win,” Yost said.

More dispiritingly, Oz’s struggles aren’t just about the general electorate. Oz has the support of only 62% of Republican voters, against Fetterman who is backed by 76% of Democrats.

Fetterman hammered Oz as a wealthy, out-of-touch New Jersey celebrity and those attacks appear to have worked, with 52% of voters saying Fetterman best understands Pennsylvanians’ concerns, compared to just 28% saying Oz.

Shapiro has a 44% favorable rating and a 32% unfavorable rating, and Mastriano has a 49% unfavorable rating with only 28% favorable.

Forty-seven percent of voters said Shapiro understood their concerns better than Mastriano (33%), and 45% said Shapiro was closest to their views on social issues, while 32% said Mastriano .

The F&M College poll comes just days after a survey by the conservative-leaning Trafalgar Group showed Oz within 5 percentage points of Fetterman and Shapiro within 4 percentage points of Mastriano.

The results come after a summer in which other polls, including Fox News, showed Fetterman and Shapiro leading in double digits.

Trafalgar owner Robert Cahaly is a former Republican consultant who predicted in November 2020 that former President Donald Trump would win Pennsylvania but the Democrats would steal the victory through voter fraud.

Biden won Pennsylvania and there was no widespread voter fraud, though that didn’t stop many Republicans, including Mastriano, from continuing to insist without proof that there was.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and giving states the right to ban abortion apparently galvanized voters.

In F&M College’s May poll, 31% of voters said abortion should be legal under all circumstances, but that figure rose to 37% in the August poll, the highest since at least 2009 in the survey.

Fifty-two percent said abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, meaning 89% of voters said abortion should be legal, compared to just 11% who said it should be illegal.

Consistent with these results, 59% of voters said they opposed changing the state constitution to say there was no constitutional right to abortion in Pennsylvania, which the Republican-controlled legislature tries to do so by asking a question in a state referendum.


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