The pivotal race for a Senate seat in Ohio is in a dead heat, according to a survey Thursday that finds Republican J.D. Vance leading Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan by a whisker less than a month before Election Day.
The Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey said 46% of voters plan to vote for Mr. Vance while 45% back Mr. Ryan and 9% are undecided.
Support for Mr. Vance has increased by 2 points since last month, and Mr. Ryan’s support has jumped by 5 points.
Pollsters noted a stark gender divide that is unfolding in other races, too.
“Men are breaking for the Republican candidate and women are breaking for the Democratic candidate in the US Senate Election; men for Vance over Ryan 53% to 40%, while women for Ryan over Vance 49% to 39%,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling. “A higher share of women are undecided at 11%, compared to 6% of men.”
The race is one of several around the country that could determine control of the Senate in the new year. The chamber is evenly divided and Vice President Kamala Harris serves as a tie-breaking vote for Democrats.
Both candidates in Ohio have characterized the other as a phony who doesn’t understand what Ohio wants.
Mr. Ryan has cast Mr. Vance as someone who sucks up to rich persons like former President Donald Trump and businessman Peter Thiel, while the Republican said Mr. Ryan poses as a moderate but serves as a rubber-stamp for liberal policies.
Many Ohio voters (45%) said the economy is the most important issue in this election, followed by threats to democracy (15%) and abortion access (13%).
The wobbly economy is widely viewed as a liability for Democrats who control Washington and new abortion restrictions are viewed as a potential problem for Republicans on the ballot.
“For voters whom the economy is the top issue, 66% plan to vote for Vance and 22% Ryan,” Mr. Kimball said. “For those who say threats to democracy is their top issue, 81% plan to vote Ryan, and for those who say abortion is their top issue, 89% plan to vote for Ryan.”
Pollsters said a majority (54%) of Ohio voters oppose the state’s new abortion law, which banned abortion after six weeks or when there is a detectable heartbeat in the fetus.
More than seven in 10 voters who oppose the law plan to vote for Mr. Ryan, and 19% would back Mr. Vance.
Among those who support the law, 77% plan to vote for Mr. Vance and 14% for Mr. Ryan.
The survey was conducted from Oct. 6-7 among 1,000 very likely general election voters and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.