Republican J.D. Vance and Democrat Tim Ryan are neck and neck in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race with about two weeks until Election Day, two new polls released Monday show.
The candidates are running even in the key midterm race, with support from 46% of likely voters each, according to a Spectrum News/Siena College survey. A separate poll from Marist found Vance and Ryan tied at 47% apiece among likely voters.
The Senate race in Ohio is one of a handful of contests that will decide whether Democrats keep control of a Senate split 50-50 by party. As GOP Sen. Rob Portman retires, holding the open seat would help Republicans in their bid to win control of the chamber.
The Siena College poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5.1 percentage points and was conducted from Oct. 14 to Oct. 17. Marist’s survey has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.3 percentage points and was conducted from Oct. 17 to Oct. 20.
Ryan’s support among likely voters in both polls was unchanged from a month ago. Vance saw a 3 percentage point-bump in the Siena poll from the previous month, but his support dropped by 1 percentage point in the Marist survey compared with the prior month.
Both polls find women prefer Ryan and men prefer Vance. In the Siena poll, women preferred Ryan by a 54% to 38% margin, while Marist showed he held a 50% to 39% edge among women. The Siena poll found men preferred Vance by a 55% to 37% margin, while Marist found a 54% to 39% advantage among men.
The gender divide suggests that abortion may be a factor in the tight race. The issue jumped to the forefront of voters’ minds in June when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion.
Several states have already barred abortion or passed near-total bans on the procedure, and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proposed a national ban after 15 weeks. Vance has said he would support Graham’s bill.
In recent weeks the economy has eclipsed abortion as the number one issue for voters. The Siena poll did not ask voters about issues.
But inflation was top of mind for voters in the Marist poll, as 40% said it was the most important issue for them in this election. Another 20% of respondents said preserving democracy was their top issue, while 18% responded with abortion.
Ryan has trounced Vance in fundraising, but outside groups have helped the Republican close the gap.
Ryan raised $17.2 million in the third quarter and reported $1.4 million in cash on hand going into October. Vance reported $6.9 million raised in the third quarter and $3.4 million in cash on hand.
The Senate Leadership Fund, the GOP’s Senate Super PAC, alone has poured $24.6 million into the race during the election cycle including the primary, according to data from Open Secrets.
Republican PACs Protect Ohio Values, Club for Growth, USA Freedom Fund and Ohio Leads combined have piled more than $62.4 million into the race this cycle. The same cannot be said on the Democratic side, where the largest donor has been the Save America Fund at $3.1 million.
Through Election Day, outside groups have reserved $7.9 million in ads for Vance, according to data from Ad Impact. Vance’s campaign has booked $434,000 worth of ads.
Ryan’s campaign has reserved $3.3 million in ads and outside groups have put aside $3.1 million.