Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is leading Republican J.D. Vance by 3 percentage points in Ohio’s closely watched Senate race, according to a new Spectrum News-Siena College poll.
Forty-six percent of likely Ohio voters indicated support for Ryan, compared to 43 percent who said they would vote for Vance, a gap within the poll’s margin of error. Nine percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion.
“Ryan and Vance are locked in a tight battle that seems likely to remain a barnburner right up to November 8,” Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster, said in a statement.
Democrats are hoping to flip Ohio’s seat in the race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R), but the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the contest as “lean Republican.”
The new poll provides a more optimistic look for Ryan’s chances after multiple recent surveys showed Vance with a slight lead.
A Marist survey, which polled registered voters and was released Sept. 21, put Vance, the best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” ahead of Ryan by 1 percentage point. A poll conducted by Emerson College and The Hill earlier this month found Vance with a 4-point lead over Ryan.
The new Spectrum News-Siena College poll found Ryan with a 12-point lead among independents, garnering 47 percent support compared to Vance’s 35 percent.
A plurality of likely voters view the Ohio Democrat favorably, while Vance’s favorability rating is underwater, according to the poll.
Thirty-eight percent said they viewed Ryan favorably, compared to 33 percent who indicated the opposite. Thirty-two percent of respondents viewed Vance favorably, while 42 percent said they viewed him unfavorably.
Economic issues clocked in as the most important topic for respondents in determining their vote this November.
Forty-one percent of all respondents indicated it as their No. 1 issue, with no other topic ranking higher among Republicans and independents.
Abortion ranked as the top issue for Democrats, with 26 percent of respondents from the party indicating it as such. Economic issues outpaced abortion as the most important issue among Democrats when the pollster combined respondents’ first and second choices.
Just 8 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of independents ranked abortion as their most important issue.
“Economic issues are by far the dominant election issues for Republicans and independents, and the top issue for Democrats, although they put threats to democracy closely behind,” said Greenberg. “While abortion doesn’t make it into the top five issues for men, it’s tied with democracy as the second most important issue for women. Black voters say racial justice is their second top issue.”
The poll was conducted Sept. 18 to Sept. 22 over the phone with 642 likely Ohio voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.