Blog Post

Message From The Field – Pennsylvania Snap Report 2022

Matt Morrison


Many of us who watched Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Senate debate between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz, or read the national coverage this morning, couldn’t help but come away worried. The trolls on social media went wild after Fetterman, still recovering from a stroke he suffered earlier this year, spoke haltingly at times. Fetterman failed to score a knockout hit on Oz, who had seemed a fatally weak candidate earlier this year. 

But if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that smug tweets aren’t votes in Pennsylvania. The only way to really understand the impact of a debate or anything else is to talk to the voters in that state themselves. So today, like every day, that’s what we did. 

We asked our canvassers on the doors in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia tonight to listen to how voters processed what they heard and saw (or ignored) of the debate. (Our research team had already contacted many of these voters before, so we knew their preferred candidate before the debate.) 

We are sharing a sampling of some of those reactions below, rather than waiting to give you our usual carefully analyzed take. It’s far too early to know for sure if this feedback will be indicative of the long-term impact of the debate, and we promise to keep you informed as solid trends emerge. But what we heard tonight was that voters already planning to support Oz saw the debate as justification for their choice and Fetterman voters expressed concern, but we had few reports that the debate actually swung any voters.

Here’s some of the raw feedback from the doors:


“It was embarrassing. He got schooled, like watching a six-year-old debate a college kid” — Dennis, 48, Northeast Philadelphia. Top issue: Public Safety. No change in vote choice.

“I just feel sorry for (Fetterman), he needs to recover” — Stephen, 80, Northeast Philadelphia. Top issue: Public Safety. Previously indicated no plan to vote in this race.

“Fetterman shouldn’t be in office with his condition” — Donna, 61, Pittsburgh. Top issue: Public Safety. Previous vote choice unknown. 


“Fetterman did not look good last night, but I’m still planning to vote for him.” — Amanda, 40, Pittsburgh. Top issue: Women’s Rights. No change in vote choice.

“I felt Oz won the public opinion with the debate, but it was sleazy” and it “solidified (my) support for Fetterman” — Doris, 84, Pittsburgh. Top Issue: Women’s Rights. No change in vote choice.

“The debate was fine. Oz showed he is a snake oil salesman. Democrats aren’t playing hardball, they have no balls. I just found out on CNN that Fetterman has advanced degrees from Harvard—are they getting the word out on his education? Why aren’t they attacking Oz for marrying into the biggest hirer of illegals in the country with Asplundh? The economy is the fault of the Republicans not the Democrats, show it! These could be dangerous times.” — Robert, 77, Philadelphia. Top issue: Public Safety. No change in vote choice.    

“(The debate) was tough, yeah, my family and I were on the phone about it. We all think maybe they should have had (Fetterman) out in the public more in the past four weeks to get us used to it. Because it was shocking. We are still voting for him. Debates don’t change what they stand for and I hope people see that.” — Stephen, 36, Philadelphia. Top issue: Jobs and the Economy. No change in vote choice.

“I think (Fetterman) shouldn’t have done the damn debate in the first place. End of story. I’m disappointed in the decision.” — Jeffrey, 83, Center City Philadelphia. Top issue: Jobs and the Economy. No change in vote choice. 

We’ll be in the streets and on the phones every day in Pennsylvania and other critical states from now until the election, working to persuade voters to support a working-class agenda. The campaign, the election, and the work are far from over. Thank you as always for your support. 

See you on the doors, 

Matt Morrison



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