Some very early polling numbers on the 2014 U.S. Senate race in West Virginia are out.  The survey by Republican-leaning Harper Polling is little more than a snapshot on name recognition and popularity, since the race hasn’t taken shape yet, but some of the findings are interesting discussion points.

First, Shelley Moore Capito has to be pleased.   The Republican 2nd District Congresswoman polls strong in hypothetical match-ups and approval ratings.  Fifty-five percent of those questioned statewide have a favorable opinion of Capito, while only 28 percent view her unfavorably.

Those numbers compare with Senator Joe Manchin, whose favorables are nearly identical, 57 percent.  However, Manchin’s negatives are higher, at 36 percent. That could be because Manchin was criticized by his Republican opponent John Raese in the 2012 election or because the poll was taken after Manchin made statements about gun control that did not sit well with many West Virginians.

In a hypothetical Primary Election race between Capito and 1st District Congressman David McKinley, Capito is favored by 71 percent, compared with just 15 percent for McKinley.  Additionally, Capito even has a significant advantage (46%-33%) in McKinley’s district.

Another hypothetical has Capito favored 51 percent to 32 percent (with 18 percent undecided) in a race against Democratic 3rd District Congressman Nick Rahall.   Capito has already announced she’s running for the seat being vacated by the retiring Jay Rockefeller.  Rahall says he’s thinking about it.

The poll finds, however, that Rahall has been hurt by ads against him by the National Republican Congressional Committee.   Pollster Brock McCleary says the Charleston-based ads in the last election “bled into the district just north of his (Capito’s 2nd district).”

That contributes to a higher unfavorable rating against Rahall in the 2nd (29% favorable, 38% unfavorable).   Statewide, Rahall’s favorables and unfavorable are nearly identical, meaning if Rahall does run, he has some work to do in the 1st and 2nd districts where he is less well known.

The poll asked questions about other possible Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Carte Goodwin and state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis.  What the survey tells us is that most West Virginians simply don’t know Goodwin, even though he filled the U.S. Senate vacancy for four months in 2010 after Senator Robert Byrd’s death.

Voters know a little more about Davis, probably because she ran a successful statewide campaign for re-election last year.  Still, 38 percent have never heard of Davis, while another 20 percent have heard of her, but have no opinion.

Despite numbers that seem to give Capito a decided edge in the 2014 race, the respected Cook Political Report’s first take has it as a toss-up.  That’s likely because while poll numbers today are fun to talk about, they are little more than indicators of name recognition and general perceptions.

A lot can and will change before the campaign begins in earnest.

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  • wvtomd

    hoppy. get a women in your life. come on now election 2016? get a life, learn to fish or bowl. no one cares except you at this time. sorry guy but a very boring, dry piece of work.

  • Austin Haynes

    Also add Bill Maloney to the Republican Primary!

  • Austin Haynes

    I strongly feel there will be a Republican Primary. In that Republican Primary will be Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, Rep. David McKinley, and John Raese. The eventual nominee will be Rep. Shelley Moore Capito with John Raese coming in a close second, and Rep. David McKinley coming in third. As far as a Democratic Primary, it will consist of Rep. Nick Rahall, former Senate appointee Carte Goodwin, West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis, West Virginia State Senate President Jeff Kessler, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue, former Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard Allen Tackett, State Senator Corey Palumbo, former State Senator Jim Humphreys, and former WV Democratic Party Chairmen Mike Callaghan and Nick Casey. I think the eventual nominee will be Rep. Nick Rahall, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, or Treasurer John Perdue. I am from the Third District and I would support Shelley Moore Capito over Nick Rahall.

  • Wowbagger

    Joe Manchin will be a Republican when pigs fly. He has two faces, one for you and one for his buddies in the Democratic caucus. A couple of weeks ago he slipped on Talkline and showed you the DC face. Keep a close eye on him!

  • Roland

    Can we catch our breath from this election cycle first, please? Throw us something like this about this time next year.

  • Realistically

    If Nick Joe runs for the Senate, then Bill Cole runs for his House seat. Cole spent nearly $250,000 on his successful State Senate run in November and has retained his entire election staff. So he's immediately ready to file the moment Nick announces. Outcome: Cole wins, Nick Joe loses. End result WV goes 100% GOP at the National level . . . oh, sorry I forgot, Joe Manchin is a Democrat. Or so it says on the ballot.

  • Kathy

    What troubles me is..... your caller saying we should want the government to know.....
    If we (license guns) the government will tax us.... it will be like the transfer of cars, there will be personal property tax etc....

    Where does it end? Soon you will not have the freedom to smoke a cigarette in your own home!

    What I want is the government OUT of my face.... and still nothing done about Mental Health....the REAL problem in my opinin.

    Thanks Hoppe.... this probably would be betton on STEAM RELEASE!!

    • bulldog95

      Mental health is a touchy area and we should all be very careful what you wish for because it will be more than common sense. This is how I see it happening. I have no mental health issues, no anxiety, no depression. My wife on takes xanax for anxiety, which could be triggered due to a snow storm that is coming down the line and she is worried that we may be snowed in for a couple of days. Its nothing major but because she takes a medication for mental health, she is not allowed to have a firearm. Hence, anyone in the home is not allowed to have a firearm. That is what the government will do.

      • Shadow

        I offer my condolences for your wife. I am sure it is not a pleasant condition. What I don't know is what law prevents you from possessing a weapon? As I remember, the ATF form only asks if you are taking drugs for mental health.

        • bulldog95

          The law is not on the books yet, but I am quite sure that some over reaching will take place. There is a lot of talk about the mental health aspect of gun control. If people are not careful and really watch what is in the law, something along the lines of anyone on this medicine or that medicine has mental health issues, thus they are not allowed to have firearms in their residence. One of Obama's executive orders allowed the governement to have access to your medical records. Why else would they need this access? There are so many people on medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, you name there is a pill for it. The airwaves are full of commercials for it. Certain mental health issues could capture a lot of people not being allowed to have firearms.

  • Uncle Fester

    Best case scenario:
    Capito wins the Senate seat by drubbing Rahall. WV will have a Rep. Senator (Capito)and a Senator that is a Rep. in Dem's clothing (Manchin). A Rep. wins Capito's Congressional seat. McKinley wins his seat back. And a Rep. wins Rahall's seat.
    WV becoming more and more like a Red state and throwing its Blue state status out with the trash where it belongs.

  • CaptainQ

    Well Hoppy, though it might be a wee bit early to go into handicapping the 2014 WV Senate race, this is still a very hot news story.

    For the first time in DECADES, there's a real chance for the GOP to capture a U.S. Senate seat in the Mountain State. The virtual Democrat 'royal line' of Byrd, Randolph/Rockefeller could finally be broken. Of course, the Dems will NOT go down without a fight and they will give Capito a battle royal in 2014. Clearly, Shelley has the top name recognition of all of the projected contenders, but as we've seen in the past, many a 'unknown' Democrat has won elections in this state. Even if David McKinley and Nick Jo Rahall toss their hats into the ring, I can't see either of them defeating her.

    This will be Capito's race 'to lose', but she could still lose it if she's not careful. Hoppy, I know you can't help cheerleading from the sidelines on this race, but please try to remain objective. There's a LOT that can happen between now and November 2014.

  • mntnman

    Slow news day. I took a poll on who will be president in 2020. No one knew.

  • Perry

    If Manchin takes a position on gun control counter to the wishes of WV, it will make no difference who the (D) candidate is. They will lose.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    A slow news day. I am looking for someone that can compromise. Enough of this, "We're not bending to the left or right." Show me someone that realizes neither party is right all the time, and follows the old adage that a good piece of legislation is one that no one likes. They'll get my vote!

    Oh, and I wonder how much of a hit Senator Byrd would've taken on the gun issue. Based on his opinions in the latter years, I think they would've been along the same lines of Manchin and maybe even Rockefeller.

  • GregG

    I'm sorry for going off topic Hoppy, but this is an example of the point I was trying to make on yesterdays commentary.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Handicapping an election that's 650+ days away? A lot of tungsten steel reinforced concrete conclusions I'm sure.