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Poll shows JD Vance up in Ohio Senate race over Dem Tim Ryan as two set to square off on debate stage tonight

As Republican JD Vance and Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan prepare to battle it out on the debate stage this evening in Youngstown, a new poll reveals Vance maintains a slight edge over his Democratic opponent. 

A new Suffolk University/USA TODAY survey found that if the election in Ohio were held today, 47% of likely voters would choose Republican J.D. Vance compared to 45% who would vote for Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. 

Over 40% of respondents identified inflation and the economy as the most important issues, according to the poll. Abortion and threats to democracy ranked as the other top issues of concern at 19% each. 

Among party affiliation, 60% of Republicans and 49% of Independent voters ranked the economy as the most imperative midterm issue. Despite inflation rising to 8.2% in September, abortion remained the most urgent issue to of Democratic voters. Threats to the democracy ranked as the second most important issue to Democrats, followed by inflation and the economy.

While abortion was made a key midterm issue after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, giving power back to states to place restrictions on abortion, several recent national polls found that ‘threats to the democracy’ is another leading issue among Democratic voters. The uptick in the issue began to appear after President Joe Biden gave several divisive speeches in which he called many GOP voters ‘extreme MAGA Republicans’ and said they were ‘threats to the democracy.’

About 77% of respondents revealed that they did not tune in to the Oct. 10 live debate between Vance and Ryan, with only 23% engaging in the fiery matchup, but more than half of respondents said they will watch tonight’s clash. 

Among those who watched the GOP political newcomer take on the Democratic candidate in their first in-person face-off of the cycle, 45% said that Vance did better than they expected, while only 35% said Ryan surprised them in his performance. 

The Suffolk University poll was conducted from Oct. 11-15 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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