The Ohio Senate race always looked to be in the Republicans' favor, but on Friday afternoon, Emerson College's final poll in the race showed some particularly good news. Republican nominee J.D. Vance leads Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democratic nominee, by 8 percentage points, 51 percent to Ryan's 43 percent. Among undecided voters, who account for 4 percent in these final days, Vance's lead gets even higher, as he leads by 9 percentage points, with 53 percent to Ryan's 44 percent.
The momentum has continued to be on Vance's side. The write-up from Emerson noted that since their October poll, Vance's support has gone up 5 percentage points, while Ryan's has dropped by 2 percentage points. In that poll, Vance led by just 1 percentage point, 46 percent to Ryan's 45 percent.
Even a higher majority believe that Vance will win, regardless of whom they plan to vote for, with 56 percent thinking the Republican nominee will win. Forty-four percent expect Ryan to be elected.
The poll is catastrophic to Ryan in other ways, too, especially when it comes to his and Vance's lead with men versus women.
As Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College Polling is quoted as pointing out:
In mid-October, men were breaking for Vance by 13 points and women for Ryan by ten points. In the past few weeks, Vance has expanded his lead among men to 18 points over Ryan, leading 57% to 39%, and Ryan’s lead among women has diminished to one point, leading 47% to 46%.
The poll also found that the economy is the biggest issue to voters, as it has been, though it increased in importance to a larger plurality of 47 percent. In a distant second place is "threats to democracy" at 14 percent, followed by "abortion access" at 12 percent.
This latest poll was conducted October 30-November 1, with 1,000 very likely voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Between last month's poll conducted October 6-7 and this one, Vance and Ryan had met for two debate performances, both of which resulted in catastrophic performances for the Democratic nominee.
The two candidates also showed up for a Fox News town hall on Tuesday, where Ryan similarly struggled, especially on his record. That town hall was watched by 2.9 million viewers, according to a press release from FOX News Channel.
The poll results aren't the only recent embarrassment for Ryan. The Democrat released a largely derided ad over Twitter on Friday showing him at a gun range, with an accompanying text of "Not too bad for a Democrat." As many replied, though, there were several problems with the ad, and not just because of the cringe factor.
➡️ Symptoms: Awful grip, stance, & grouping.— NRA (@NRA) November 5, 2022
➡️ Diagnosis: Likely never shot a gun before.
➡️ Treatment: NRA Firearm Training
NRA's 125,000 instructors train over 1 million people every year. Learn from the best ➡️ https://t.co/eZr5wRYnzI pic.twitter.com/SCuqSO4LyY
He's going to have plenty of time to practice after next Tuesday.— 🇺🇸LBRB Designs🇺🇸 (@LBRBDesigns) November 5, 2022
This latest poll brings Vance up to a +5.0 lead according to RealClearPolitics, which considers the race as "Leans GOP" and projects a "GOP Hold." The seat is currently held by retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who has endorsed Vance.