The new survey of the West Virginia Senate race from Public Policy Polling (D) shows a serious danger for Democrats — with Republican businessman John Raese with a narrow lead against Dem Gov. Joe Manchin in the race to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd.
The numbers: Raese 46%, Manchin 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±2.6% margin of error. There is no previous PPP survey for direct comparison. The TPM Poll Average gives Manchin a lead of 48.4%-42.2%
Manchin is without a doubt the strongest candidate Democrats could have recruited, as he is a very popular two-term governor. However, Manchin’s pitfall is very obvious: He is a Democrat in a historically Dem state that has nevertheless been trending to the Republicans, and President Obama is very unpopular here.
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes:
Manchin is the second most popular Governor PPP has polled on all year, behind only Bobby Jindal, with a 59/32 approval spread. He breaks almost even with Republicans as 42% of them approve of the job he’s doing with just 44% disapproving. In a highly polarized political climate the list of politicians with that kind of crossover popularity is very short.
At the same time West Virginians couldn’t be much more down on national Democrats. Barack Obama’s approval rating in the state is just 30% with 64% of voters disapproving of him. Even within his own party barely half of voters, at 51%, like the job he’s doing. Support from Republicans (91% disapproval) and independents (73% disapproval) is pretty much nonexistent.
Given the President’s high degree of unpopularity it’s no surprise that 54% of voters in the state want Republicans to control the next Congress with just 37% wanting the Democrats to stay in charge.