Oz leading Barnette, McCormick in tight Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary: poll
Celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz holds a narrow lead in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary just before Election Day, according to a new Emerson College poll.
Oz has the support of 28 percent of very likely GOP primary voters, while conservative commentator Kathy Barnette comes in second with 24 percent and former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick gets 21 percent. Primary voters head to the polls on Tuesday.
When undecided voters who lean toward a certain candidate are incorporated, Oz leads with 32 percent, trailed by Barnette at 27 percent and McCormick with 26 percent.
Oz holds lead among voters older than 50, urban voters and female voters. Barnette, meanwhile, does better with younger and more rural likely GOP primary voters. McCormick’s strength lies with male and suburban voters.
Still, 48 percent of very likely primary voters have a somewhat or strongly unfavorable opinion of Oz, while 32 percent have an unfavorable opinion of McCormick and 28 percent have an unfavorable view of Barnette.
McCormick’s favorability rating is the highest, sitting at 46 percent, followed by Barnette at 43 percent and 37 percent for Oz.
The Emerson College poll also showed the race remains somewhat in flux, with 15 percent of likely voters saying they’re undecided.
The survey comes after polls showed Barnette surging from the middle of the primary field to the top tier, in some instances even running neck and neck with Oz and McCormick, whose spending from their personal war chests has dwarfed her own.
Barnette’s surprising rise comes after a poll last month from The Hill-Emerson College showed Oz and McCormick in the running for first place, with Barnette at a distant third.
Her last-minute surge has halted brutal attacks between Oz and McCormick, who swiftly redirected fire at the conservative commentator instead, highlighting past statements that were Islamophobic and homophobic, raising questions over her biography and underscoring a congressional bid in 2020 that she lost by about 20 points.
Former President Trump, who has endorsed and rallied with Oz in a big boost to the cardiothoracic surgeon, released a statement last week saying that Barnette is unelectable in November.
Barnette’s camp has hit back, casting the attacks as misleading. She is being boosted by a late surge in spending by groups like the anti-tax Club for Growth.
“The ads are distortions and very vitriolic,” Barnette campaign manager Bob Gillies told The Hill last week after attack ads against her. “However, Kathy remains focused, and the campaign will continue to move forward in a positive fashion.”
The Emerson College poll surveyed 1,000 very likely Pennsylvania GOP primary voters from May 14-15 and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
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