Ohio's U.S. Senate race remains in dead heat

·3 min read

Sep. 15—Ryan has slight advantage, within poll's margin of error; DeWine leads in governor's race by double digits

Just under two months until the general election, the race for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat is a tight one, according to a new poll.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan leads "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, 46.6 to 45.6 percent in a USA TODAY Network Ohio/Suffolk University survey released on Monday.

Ryan's one point lead is within the poll's margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent, while 6 percent voters said they are undecided.

The poll surveyed 500 likely midterm voters and was conducted from Sept. 5-7 through landlines and cell phones.

Ryan and Vance are running for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Rob Portman, who is retiring after two terms in office.

In a positive for Ryan, the poll found that he has a higher favorability rating than Vance, with 46 percent of likely voters holding a favorable view of him, 26.6 holding an unfavorable view and 19.6 percent undecided — a net positive of nearly 20 points. Vance was seen favorably by 42 percent, unfavorable by 42.8 and 10.80 percent undecided — a net negative of 0.8 percent.

Ryan could also point to the poll being second independent poll in the past month giving him a lead. Vance's campaign had stressed through the summer that their candidate had led in early independent polling and that Ryan's leads had come only from polls commissioned by PACs.

Vance has sought to tie Ryan to President Joe Biden, who according the poll, remains underwater with Ohio likely voters, with 40.6 holding a favorable view and 52.6 holding an unfavorable view of him. 6.8 percent were undecided.

Ohio was not one of the states Biden carried in his 2020 electoral college victory, losing it by 8 percent to Donald Trump.

Vance also continues to hold a slight lead in Real Clear Politics' polling average, 47-44.7 percent, factoring in polls from Emerson College, the Columbus Dispatch and the conservative Trafalgar Group in which the Republican nominee led in recent weeks. The website ranks the Ohio race in the "Toss up" category.

Another major political analyst, Nate Silver of 538.com, gives Ryan the edge in his average of polling, which uses a different configuration of polls Real Clear Politics. Ryan leads 45.9 to 44.2 percent on 538's average.

However, in his forecast, Silver gives Vance a slight edge, when considering the state's voting trends and other factors and lists the race as "Lean Republican" and his model gives Vance 72 in 100 odds of winning. Silver expects Democrats to retain overall control of the Senate this fall, listing that likelihood at 70 in 100 odds.

A third forecaster, the Cook Political Report, lists Ohio's Senate race as "Lean Republican."

In another race, the poll showed strength for incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine, who led his Democratic challenger, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, 53.8 to 39.2 percent.

The governor has an overall positive favorable rating, with 52.5 percent holding a favorable view, 35.2 holding an unfavorable view and 12.4 percent undecided.

Whaley has a net positive in favorability as well, but is known to fewer likely voters. 27.8 percent said their view of her is favorable, while 18.2 viewed her unfavorably. Those who were undecided were at 26.4 percent.