Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz holds a press conference with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on September 6, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the November general election, Oz faces Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman. (Photo by Mark Makela / Getty Images)
Dr. Mehmet Oz is having an incredibly rough time in his adopted state of Pennsylvania. After moving from part of the “Blue Wall” in New Jersey to the more Republican-friendly state in late 2020, Oz secured the GOP nomination for a Senate seat already held by Republicans, during a midterm election where Republicans are favored to take control of the House. But he’s consistently trailed Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman throughout the summer.
Fetterman is now leading Oz by five points among likely voters in Pennsylvania, according to a new YouGov/CBS News poll released Wednesday. And the overwhelming majority of people likely to vote for Oz don’t seem to like him very much.For example, when asked if they were voting the way they were because they liked the candidate, opposed the other candidate, or because they were voting with their party, just 15 percent of Oz’s likely voters said it was because they liked him, as opposed to 56 percent who said that about Fetterman. More than half of Oz’s voters said they were more voting against Fetterman than for Oz, while roughly a third said they were voting for Oz because he’s the GOP nominee. The poll also indicated Oz has other problems related to likability. Just 36 percent of those polls said they approve of how Oz “handles himself personally,” as opposed to a 50 percent split for Fetterman. Fewer than a quarter of all voters polled said that Oz has the “right experience” for the job, and two-thirds said he hasn’t been in Pennsylvania long enough to “understand the issues.” Even more concerning for Oz: 64 percent of Republican voters said they wish someone else were the nominee. Since narrowly winning the Republican primary earlier this year, Oz’s campaign has failed to gain a foothold against Fetterman, who dominated the Democratic primary even after suffering a stroke.
Oz, a television personality endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has particularly struggled with questions of authenticity. The longtime New Jersey resident only moved to Pennsylvania in 2020 and has been hit with accusations that he only established residency there to run for office. A Twitter video last month ostensibly meant to attack Democrats for inflation also backfired, because Oz referred to the random vegetables he was picking up as “crudité” and then flubbed the name of the grocery store he was in.Oz’s dramatic veer to the right to win the primary is also now backfiring in the general election; a leaked video from an Oz campaign stop in May showed him telling Republican voters that “abortion is murder.” Among respondents who said abortion was a “very important” issue for them in November, Fetterman leads Oz by 40 points, 70 percent to 30 percent. When asked whether he supports Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposed national abortion ban, Oz’s campaign gave an unclear answer. “Dr. Oz is pro-life with three exceptions: life of the mother, rape, and incest,” an Oz campaign spokesman told the Philadelphia Inquirer Tuesday. “And as a senator, he’d want to make sure that the federal government is not involved in interfering with the state’s decisions on the topic.”Fetterman, on the other hand, tweeted Tuesday that if he were to vote on the bill, he’d be a “HELL NO.”
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