WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The author of the West Virginia Poll says those state residents who are most passionate about voting in this year’s midterm election are strong on conservative issues resulting in support for Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito in the race for U.S. Senate.
Pollster Rex Repass said the latest edition of the poll showed Capito with a 17-percentage point lead over Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, 54-37. He said there’s passion among voters for issues Capito backs.
“They’re motivated,” he said. “So if you look at the data and you look at the likelihood-to-vote segments of the population–that’s what’s driving the enthusiasm for her. You’ve got a very strong base of conservatives, business conservatives, steadfast conservatives and younger people who on some issues tend to lean slightly to Republicans, but not on social issues, who are motivated.”
Capito’s lead over Tennant in the West Virginia Poll in May was 11 points. Repass said the new poll mirrors other looks at the race.
“If you look at some of the national researchers she’s been up anywhere from 10 to 17 points,” Repass said.
A Capito campaign spokesperson told the Charleston Daily Mail the poll shows Capito’s message is resonating with voters. Tennant’s campaign said polls don’t win elections people do.
Repass said he also attempted to drill down deeper in this version of the poll to find out the significance of West Virginia voters becoming more conservative.
“Who are they? What do they identify with? And we identified 7 segments and those segments that are closest to conservative points of view are significantly larger than the rest of the nation,” Repass said. “We compared it to national data and those segments of conservatives particularly on social issues, family issues, also on some business related and economic issues, at least with likely voters in this midterm, they are driving enthusiasm for change in this election.”
Repass said West Virginia and Arkansas are the two states that have become more Republican in the last 14 years.
The WV Poll was released Friday in the Charleston Daily Mail and at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Business Summit.