WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ohio Senate race between Republican JD Vance and Democrat Tim Ryan could not be much closer.

What You Need To Know

  • An exclusive Spectrum News/Siena College Poll shows the Ohio Senate race is tied

  • Republican JD Vance is running against Democrat Tim Ryan in a race triggered by GOP Sen. Rob Portman’s retirement

  • The poll, conducted in mid-October, shows a slight change in the race compared to the first Spectrum News/Siena College poll released in September

Article - Your Voter Guide

An exclusive Spectrum News/Siena College Poll released Monday shows Ryan and Vance tied at 46%, with a +/-5.1% margin of error. The poll was conducted Oct. 14-19 and surveyed 644 likely voters.

In a Spectrum News/Siena College Poll published last month, Ryan had a slight three-point lead over Vance that fell within the margin of error, meaning the race was statistically tied. The new poll shows Vance has made up some ground. 

“Closing the numbers a little bit might be Republicans coming home, and even if he’s not their favorite, he’s the Republican. And that might be it,” said University of Akron political scientist Cherie Strachan. 

Strachan told Spectrum News that pollsters are still trying to learn how not to under count voters who were drawn to former President Donald Trump and may also be drawn to Vance.

It’s something Vance brought up while campaigning with Donald Trump Jr. earlier this month.

“This guy’s dad was supposed to lose Ohio to Joe Biden by one point. Of course he won by eight-and-a-half points,” Vance told Spectrum News while standing next to the former president’s son. “If you look at the energy in our crowds, if you look at our own polling, if you look at the direction of the independent polling, I don’t think this race is that close.”

But independent poll after independent poll shows Ryan keeping the heat on Vance, while Republican Gov. Mike DeWine polls far ahead of his Democratic opponent, Nan Whaley.

Ohio Northern University political scientist Robert Alexander found similar results in a poll he recently conducted.

He said it’s a reminder that candidates matter, and Vance has struggled to pitch himself to a general election crowd after winning a brutal Republican primary.

“The state is set up for Republicans right now, and Vance is not polling where Mike DeWine is. There’s a reason for that,” Alexander told Spectrum News.

The Spectrum News/Siena College Poll shows Ryan has lost some ground with independent voters, a key voting block he’ll need a lot of support from. In the new poll, Ryan has support from 45% of independents compared to 40% for Vance. In the previous poll, Ryan earned 47% while Vance earned 35%.

Kyle Kondik, an Ohio native who analyzes elections for the University of Virginia, said because Ohio voters have drifted right in recent years, he expects more independents to break Vance’s way.

“I think a lot of people, myself included, have thought that Tim Ryan has run a really credible race, but that ultimately you’d rather be Vance down the stretch here. I still feel that way,” Kondik told Spectrum News.

Ryan remains confident his aggressive campaign schedule and TV ad blitz throughout the summer will win over potential Vance voters who value hard work.

“We’ve been to every corner of the state, we’re meeting with every community, and he’s been asleep at the switch. So it’s all paying off now in the last few days,” Ryan told Spectrum News at a recent campaign stop in Columbus.

Election Day is on Nov. 8.