Tim Ryan's Chances of Beating J.D. Vance in Ohio, According to Polls

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan has a narrow lead over Republican J.D. Vance in the still too-close-to-call race for Ohio's Senate seat, according to a poll.

A survey of 642 likely Ohio voters conducted between September 18-22 placed Ryan ahead of the Donald Trump-endorsed Vance by 46 percent to 43 percent.

The poll from Spectrum News/Siena College means that of the last eight surveys ahead of the midterms, Ryan has beaten his GOP rival five times, with Vance coming out on top in the other three in what is one of the most difficult races to predict in November's elections.

According to FiveThirtyEight's average collection of polls, Ryan is the current favorite to win the Ohio seat over Vance, albeit by a likelihood of just 0.5 percent (45 to 44.5 percent).

JD Vance and Tim Ryan
Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan (R) is leading Republican author J.D. Vance (L) in the polls ahead of the midterm elections. The men are vying to fill Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat. AP

A Marist survey of 1,200 adults conducted September 12-15 had the Hillbilly Elegy author on top over Ryan with a 46 to 45 percent lead, a statistical dead heat.

The poll found that while 40 percent of Ohio residents surveyed had a favorable opinion of Ryan, 35 percent had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him. One quarter said they had an unfavorable view of the Democrat.

In comparison, 30 percent had a favorable view of Vance, with 36 percent having a negative one. Similar to Ryan, 34 percent of Ohio voters surveyed said they had either never heard of or were unsure how to rate Vance.

"This open senate seat is hotly contested and is top of the list for political pundits," said Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Expect both campaigns to paint their opponent in a negative way given that each candidate has low name recognition and is not well-defined to voters."

Other polls in September also show just how close the U.S. Senate race is in Ohio. A Baldwin Wallace University poll gave Ryan with a 3-point lead over Vance (48 to 45 percent), with 7 percent still undecided.

Just prior to that survey being released, an Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll of Ohio voters showed Vance with a 4-point lead over Ryan (44 to 40 percent), with 13 percent of voters still undecided.

Vance also had a 3-point lead in a Civiqs survey of 780 likely voters in Ohio from September 10-13, with Ryan having a 3-point lead in a Montrose Group Opportunity survey conducted around the same time.

Ryan led the first two polls released in September from Suffolk University and Change Research by 1 point and 5 points respectively.

Newsweek reached out to Representative Ryan for comment.