J.D. Vance, Tim Ryan virtually tied in new poll

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With less than two months to go before Election Day, Ohio’s U.S. Senate race is far from settled.

A USA TODAY Network Ohio/Suffolk University poll released Monday showed J.D. Vance and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan virtually tied in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The Democratic congressman maintained a small lead with 46.6% compared to 45.6% of voters who planned to support Vance.

Roughly 6% of voters were undecided.

The result was within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, suggesting the seat remains up for grabs at this point in the game. It also mirrored other independent surveys conducted in recent weeks that point to a competitive race heading into peak campaign season.

September Ohio Poll U.S. Senate race.

Republican side increasing campaign financing

The poll comes as Vance and his allies ramp up spending to counter Ryan, who used a massive fundraising haul to dominate the airwaves all summer. The Senate Leadership Fund, for instance, announced it would spend $28 million in the Buckeye State and pulled funds from Arizona in part because of an “unexpected expense in Ohio,” Politico reported. The race in Ohio could help determine which party controls the Senate, which is currently split between Democrats and Republicans.

Vance’s campaign placed its first statewide television ad buy of the general election last week, according to Medium Buying, a Columbus-based ad-tracking firm.

“Republicans are having to play defense in a race where they were hoping they wouldn’t have to,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who is running for U.S. Senate, speaks to undecided voters at a town hall in Lancaster in August.

Why is Tim Ryan targeting independent voters?

Ryan has spent most of his campaign targeting independent voters in an effort to counter Democratic losses to former President Donald Trump, particularly among white, rural Ohioans. Vance and other critics are quick to point out that he’s voted with President Joe Biden’s agenda 100% of the time, although Ryan has largely avoided Biden during the president’s trips to Ohio. Ryan did attend the groundbreaking for Intel’s new factories in Licking County with the president on Friday.

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