COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Trump-endorsed venture capitalist and a sitting congressman are neck-and-neck in Ohio’s race for U.S. Senate.

With less than two months remaining until Ohioans select the Buckeye State’s next U.S. senator, a Suffolk University poll released Monday indicates Republican nominee J.D. Vance, 37, and Democratic contender U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, 49, are in a dead heat for the seat being vacated by Republican Rob Portman.

A Suffolk University survey of 500 Ohio voters over two days in early September indicated that if respondents voted in the November general election today, Ryan would earn 46.6% of the vote and Vance 45.6% – a 1% gap that falls within the poll’s 4.4% margin of error.

  • Vote/Lean Ryan – Democrat: 46.6%
  • Vote/Lean Vance – Republican: 45.6%
  • Vote/Lean Someone Else – 1.4%
  • Undecided: 6.4%

Of the respondents, a slight plurality, 37.4%, identified as Republicans, followed by 32.8% as Democrats, 26.2% as Independents and the remaining 3.6% listing party affiliation as either “other” or undecided.

Izzi Levy, a spokesperson for Ryan’s campaign, said the slim lead demonstrates Ohioans’ faith that Ryan will “always put them first,” taking a dig at Vance as a “San Francisco fraud [who] is only in it for himself.”

A spokesperson for Vance’s campaign declined to comment.

Though the candidates are neck-in-neck, the Suffolk University poll found that Ryan outperforms Vance when it comes to favorability. 46% of respondents said Ryan is generally favorable, as opposed to Vance’s 42% favorability rating.

The findings contrast with the results of The Trafalgar Group’s late-August survey that placed Vance, the Hillbilly Elegy author from Middletown, with a 4.6% lead ahead of Ryan, outside of the poll’s 2.9% margin of error. 

An Emerson College poll released in early August found the two in a dead heat, too, with Vance’s 3% lead within the poll’s 3.2% margin of error — even asking Ohio voters about Mar-a-Lago and monkeypox.

The Suffolk University poll also asked about voters’ perceptions of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Most Ohioans, or 53%, said they disapprove of Biden’s performance, but like the U.S. Senate race, Biden is viewed as slightly more favorable than his predecessor.

Although the latest poll questioned voters about their preferred picks in Ohio’s gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the results have not yet been disclosed.

Past polls conducted by The Trafalgar Group and Emerson College, however, positioned DeWine with about a 16-point lead over his Democratic challenger.

Like in most elections, Ohio State University emeritus professor of political science Paul Beck told Nexstar’s NBC4 in July that voters should take poll results with a grain of salt.

“It may not last, you know, the polls are sort of one-time snapshots of what the electorate may be thinking,” Beck said. “But of course, a lot of things can intervene between now and November to change that around.”