In new Center Street PAC polling, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is nine percent ahead of Republican challenger J.D. Vance, who has Donald Trump’s support, in the race for the U.S. Senate seat outgoing Republican Rob Portman is vacating.
Among likely voters, it was 48 percent to 39 percent, with Ryan in the lead. Among registered voters, who comprised a numerically larger group, Ryan’s leading margin was the same — nine percent, but the totals were different. The Democratic contender obtained 44 percent of the support, and Vance had 35 percent. Among registered voters, 21 percent indicated they were undecided, but among likely voters, the number of undecided respondents, while still numerous, was just 13 percent of the total. Notably, Ryan’s overall level of support seems significantly buoyed by at least some backing from Republicans. Respondents identified as Trump voters, evidently in the context of their 2020 vote, mostly supported Vance — but 14 percent went with Ryan.
On a related note, Ryan nabbed a larger share of Biden voters than Vance’s share of Trump voters. Ryan had 81 percent of Biden voters, and Vance got support from just 69 percent of Trump voters, suggesting Vance is struggling to lock down the level of intraparty support Ryan already holds on the Democratic side. The latest Center Street PAC polling shows a slight improvement for Vance, who closed the gap by two percentage points since polling from early August. Still, voters still view Ryan significantly more favorably than Vance, according to the new numbers, which show Ryan with 44 percent of respondents seeing him either somewhat or very favorably. For Vance, just 30 percent do so. Notably, Vance’s struggles are highlighted by the fact that Republican gubernatorial contender Mike DeWine — the current GOP governor of Ohio, who’s running for re-election — is substantially ahead (by double-digits) of his own Dem challenger. Yet, Vance can’t make things work.
Although Ryan’s campaign is out-raising the Vance campaign and the Democratic candidate is finishing further ahead than some might have expected in polls, election forecasters still lean towards Vance — although any estimate of what might happen, based on polling data, historical trends, statistical analysis, or anything else, is obviously inherently imperfect. FiveThirtyEight, an elections data and analysis site, estimates based on polls alone that the Ohio race is essentially a toss-up, but with other factors included in the estimates, the site gives Vance an up to 72-in-100 chance of winning. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which also maintains forecasts for upcoming elections, pins the Ohio Senate race at “leans R,” the last category before toss-up status. All that said, Dems are broadly favored to maintain control of the Senate, with particularly favorable polling and fundraising trends in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona. Critically, adding to Democrats’ majority in the Senate could establish the simple majority needed for Dems to make long sought changes to the filibuster rules.