A new public poll of Ohio's newly minted Senate general election matchup finds both candidates locked in a virtual tie, though importantly, the survey shows a significant share of likely midterm voters still undecided.
USA Today and Suffolk University's new poll finds Republican author J.D. Vance winning 42 percent of likely midterm voters (including those leaning toward him), with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan following at 39 percent. With the poll's margin of error +/- 4.4 percent (a margin that applies to both candidates' share of the vote), that puts the race well within the error margin.
Adding to the fluidity, 17 percent of voters are undecided, with 2 percent saying they'd vote for someone else.
What matters to Ohio voters?
The top issue for voters in the Senate race is the economy (23 percent of likely voters call it their top issue), closely followed by inflation and gas prices (20 percent). Abortion rights, at 11 percent, was the only other issue to break double-digits, with former President Donald Trump following at 9 percent, and health care and corruption tied at 7 percent.
Forty-nine percent of likely voters say they want their vote to "change the direction President Biden is leading the nation." Twenty-four percent say they want their vote to support Biden, while 23 percent say their vote doesn't have much to do with Biden and his policies.
How do voters view each Senate candidate?
Ryan has a higher net-favorability score than his rival — 40 percent of likely voters view him favorably, while 23 percent view him unfavorably. Vance is viewed favorably by 35 percent, but his unfavorable rating is at 38 percent after the tough Senate primary that included tens of millions of dollars in attack ads.
Biden's favorable rating is 39 percent, and his unfavorable rating is 56 percent.
Ryan is also winning the plurality of independent voters over Vance, 43 percent to 32 percent, as well as a significant share of non-white voters, 60 percent to 15 percent, and female voters, 43 percent to 35 percent. Vance is performing best with males, 50 percent to 35 percent, and white voters, 49 percent to 34 percent.
Suffolk University polled 500 likely Ohio voters in this fall's general election between May 22 and May 24 by telephone. The poll's margin-of-error for top-line results is +/- 4.4 percentage points.