A new Orion Strategies/Marshall University poll of the West Virginia Senate race has some good news for Democrats — with Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin sporting a double-digit lead against Republican businessman John Raese in the contest to succeed the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd.
The TPM Poll Average now gives Manchin a lead of 46.8%-45.2.
Manchin had been trailing in many recent polls. Although surveys have all shown him being very popular as governor, the same polls also showed President Obama’s serious unpopularity in the state dragging Manchin down.
However, the GOP made a serious fumble in the race recently, when it was revealed that an ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee was produced using a casting called for “hicky” looking actors — seriously undercutting the party’s claims to better represent West Virginia’s rural, working-class voters.
Manchin has also strongly distanced himself from the national Democrats, going so far as to shoot a cap-and-trade bill with a hunting rifle in a TV ad of his. And if this poll is to be believed, recent events are going his way.
The polling firm Orion Strategies is owned by Democratic strategist Curtis Wilkerson, but it has also conducted non-partisan polls for state news organizations. In addition, one of the poll’s consultants was West Virginia Wesleyan College professor Robert Rupp, a registered Republican.