One reason Senator Robert Byrd always won re-election is that no one ever believed his opponent had a chance of beating him.  Popular politicians benefit from a sense of inevitability; it weakens challengers by discouraging their supporters.

Democrat Natalie Tennant faces that obstacle in her campaign to upset Republican Shelley Moore Capito in this year’s U.S. Senate race.  Capito is not Senator Byrd, but she does enjoy a perception among many that she’s going to win.

Tennant is a credible candidate, a solid retail politician and a voracious campaigner, but her efforts are somewhat undermined by a public perception that Capito is going to win. That scenario was bolstered even more by the newest poll numbers.

The West Virginia Poll, conducted for the Charleston Daily Mail by Repass Research, found that if the election were held today, 54 percent would support Capito, 37 percent Tennant and nine percent undecided or other.  (The poll surveyed 401 likely voters between August 15-23. It has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.)

The West Virginia Poll numbers are similar to the findings of a Rasmussen Poll taken at about the same time.  It had 50 percent supporting Captio and 33 percent for Tennant—still a 17 point lead.   Both polls show Capito expanding her lead.

The double-digit deficit is bad enough for Tennant, but the poll shows other challenges for the current Secretary of State.

Her approve/disapprove numbers are not as strong as Capito’s.  The poll shows 37 percent of voters approve of Tennant, while 50 percent approve of Capito.  29 percent of voters disapprove of Tennant, while 25 percent disapprove of Capito.

But the real albatross for Tennant is President Obama.  The West Virginia Poll shows his approval rating in the state is at just 25 percent while 63 percent disapprove.

Tennant and Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio are constantly trying to remind voters that Obama is not on the ballot. That’s technically accurate, but it doesn’t mean the President isn’t a major factor in the midterm election.

Real Clear Politics Senior Elections Analyst Sean Trende says, “Presidential job approval is still the most important variable for how his party fares in midterm elections.”  Many voters use the midterm elections to express how they feel about the direction of the country.

Of course the President’s overall numbers could improve, especially if the economy gets better, but it’s hard to imagine much change in West Virginia.  The coal industry is struggling, especially in the heavily democratic southern half of the state, and Obama is taking considerable blame for that.

The liberal Huffington Post political blog also gives a decided edge to Capito.  The HuffPost Model Estimate of nine polls by seven pollsters concludes the probability that Capito will beat Tennant is 92.3 percent.

We only have two months before the election, but as the most recent polls show, time is not Tennant’s biggest problem.



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  • Shadow

    Isn't NT an example of Ego over accomplishment? She has so little to offer in terms of experience. And then, there is Obummer.

    • John

      Tennant is the same person who smiled and endorsed Obama, isn't she?

  • Gary

    The vote is about Obama and the left wing democrats. She brought one of them that stands against about everything WV stands for to campaign for her. She showed her true obama democrat colors. I'm not crazy about capito but I think she's the lessor of the two evils.

    • BOHICA

      I will vote against Tennant because of her relationship with Manchin, and for anyone whom will get rid of Reid, Pelosi, Holden and Obama.

  • Pickle Barrel

    Let's remember that she's the third or fourth-string candidate…some big names were approached by Reid and Pelosi and all wanted no part of taking on Shelley.

    My guess is that there are several leading Democrats in the state who hope she goes down in flames, wrecking any chance she has for Governor in 2016.

    • Monty Burns


  • Raging Moderate

    There is no subtlety or nuance to this campaign. The candidates' positions on the issues are irrelevant. The GOP has tied Tennant to the unpopular Obama and that is the beginning, middle, and end of story.

    • Aaron

      For many voters, control of the Senate is the only issue that counts. While I'm no fan of McConnell, Harry Reid very well could be the Anti-Christ. He is as much a reason for gridlock in Washington as any Republican.

  • Wowbagger

    Ms Tennant is on the wrong side of history. West Virginia one party rule is ending and there is little she can do at this point. The fact she has messed up the campaign is borderline irrelevant.

    • MTNR

      Tennant on the wrong side of history?

      You're joking, right?

      The Republicans will cease to be a major national political party by the end of President Hillary Clinton's second term in 2024.

      The GOP is going the way of the Whig. The best part is that since Fox News isn't covering it no one with an R beside their name knows it.

      • Wowbagger

        I don't recall stating anything specific about any political party, except that one party rule is coming to an end in West Virginia.

        Frankly I doubt that either major party will survive unchanged over the next few years. The old names might or might not survive, but then the party of Jefferson and Jackson no longer exists except as a name. If the elderly Hildabeast is elected it will just hasten the process, but I wouldn't bet a lot on her election if I were you. Fauxcahontas Elizabeth Warren has a better chance.

      • Mitch

        @ MTNR,

        Keep whistling past that graveyard.

      • Patchy

        This type of post is becoming de rigeur here and elsewhere. Originality left the station long ago so bluster is all that remains. Anger over watching a lost-cause campaign begets an attempt to demoralize the winning side.

        The recipe is fairly simple:

        1) Express fake incredulity that anyone can oppose your strident, far-reaching 'prediction.'

        2) Offer a Hiroshima-scale prediction of elimination of one of the two (count them) major political parties despite the fact that the parties, despite shifting memberships and internal alliances, have remained since at least the Civil War.

        3) Slip in a self-consciously clever reference to President X, Chief Justice Y or Governor Z where X, Y or Z is a lightning rod for the opposition in order to infuriate the opposition. Ignore the fact that X, Y or Z is already at an advanced age and may not even be walking the earth in the year predicted.

        4) Insert metaphor for extinction. Political choice (Whig) preferred, but examples drawn from nature (dodo, dinosaur) also acceptable for this hoariest of cliches.

        5) Take bitter swipe at intellect and independence of opposition. Attribute their views not to experience or education but to imaginary 'instructions' from a cable network which, despite trouncing its competitors, still doesn't have the viewership proportional to the influence claimed by its detractors.

        6) Ignore results of recent elections already in the books that indicate a large-scale abandonment of a political party, candidate or ideology.

        Repeat as necessary.

        • GrouchoNotKarl

          Excellent summary! Well said!

      • WVU 74

        No joke. Tennant is on the wrong side of history, for this election cycle.

        Many in the GOP know, Bush laid the groundwork for the many disasters that Republicans are now blaming on Obama .Disasters that they happily helped create while "W" was in office. Voters aren't stupid. We know that Illegal Immigration had a holiday during the Bush years. The EPA was on a tight leash. Our tax dollars grew wings and headed to war-torn Iraq. Our businesses and jobs went overseas, all courtesy of the Bush administration.

        I'll concede that today, the Republican brand is a tattered, discredited and essentially a worthless mess. Any credible poll will confirm that.

        Its not a given that Republicans will claim the Senate this year. 2016 may be their last chance to win the upper chamber for a very long time due to shifting attitudes and demographics, which are rapidly evolving nationwide. How's this for shifting attitudes? West Virginians elect one Republican US Senator, and three GOP members to the House of Representatives.

        If Republicans do well, and take the Senate, they'll surely lose control in 2016. Holding on to the Majority in the House in 2016, is going to be a nightmare for the GOP.

        Bet you won't hear about that on FOX.

        • Shadow

          What would you have done if you had a 911 disaster? There were no good choices, just the best of the worst. At least, he made a decision and we have been safe for a few years.

        • Aaron

          With the way congressional districts have been micromanaged the likelihood that we will see a significant change in the House of Representatives is slim.

          Additionally while it is true that liberals have taken a distinct advantage in the popular vote nationwide do largely to Metropolitan voting blocks, when you look at the Governorships and the Congressional representation there is no doubt that there is still a conservative majority throughout this country.

          Perhaps Republicans will go the way of the Whig but history tells us that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, once the Whig party appeared they were quickly replaced by the Republican Party, which gained control of government largely due go policy fractures within the Democratic Party.

          • Hillboy

            Absolutely, the Democrats are just as guilty when they get the opportunity. Illinois and Maryland are good examples. Since I am an Independent I have a problem with this regardless of which party it benefits. To me this is not about partisan advantage; it's about fair elections.

            The 1.4 million votes was nationally, not just in NC. The urban vote probably did account for a lot of the surplus Dem votes. However, if districts were split between urban and rural areas that would result in more strictly urban districts and you would still end up with more urban representatives, so there is more to it than that. Gerrymandering has become practically a science. Take a look at the shape of NC's congressional districts at this link:


          • Aaron

            I don't disagree with that sentiment other than to say that Democrats are just as guilty as Republicans and gerrymandering districts. Look at California and how their districts are divided up.

            You point out that in North Carolina democrats picked up 1 million more votes than Republicans but won only four of 13 seats. I would be interested in seeing how the voting breaks down by district and the percentage of the votes each candidate got within those districts.

            I don't know for sure but I have a sneaking suspicion that Democrats sustained large victories in metropolitan areas accounting for the bulk of that 1 million vote advantage whereas the races were more closely contested in other districts.

          • Hillboy

            It is not all due largely to metropolitan voting blocks. Republicans, because they have more governorships, have been more effective at gerrymandering their states—statewide, not just limited to urban areas.

            In the 2012 House elections, Democratic candidates got 1.4 million more total votes than Republican candidates yet the Republicans won 234 seats to 201 for Democrats. In North Carolina, which is known as the most effectively gerrymandered state in the country, Democrats got 51% of the two-party popular votes to 49% for Republicans yet only won four seats while Republicans won nine.

            It is true that there are more conservatives than liberals nationally---keeping in mind that there are still a lot of conservative Democrats but very few liberal Republicans. However, if you're looking at it just from the party perspective the election outcomes are not necessarily indicative of the national sentiment.

            For all the attention being paid to voter fraud, gerrymandering is a way bigger issue, amounting to widespread systematic disenfranchisement of voters.

        • WVU 74

          Correction: " Holding on to the Majority in the House after 2016, is going to be a nightmare for the GOP."

          Tactile keyboards are my nightmare!

  • george

    uh excuse me Hop: but this isn't just about Obama: Since the Democrats have occupied the leadership in Charleston we are ranked 48 and 50th in every good poll taken. Our State has fell backwards big time. its time for new leadership.......

  • Independent View

    As a registered independent, I cannot vote for a candidate that clings to some of the root causes of this state's downward economic spiral such as supporting coal as the keystone of your campaign, marching in lock-step with the UMW and seeking their endorsement, support and donations; hiring a Buffoon like Alan Tackett as your campaign manager, standing shoulder-to shoulder with an avowed anti-coal Left-Wing Senator, seeking support of the WV Teachers' Unions and a total lack of focus, positions and direction in her campaign.
    And, this voter requires more of resume' than wearing buckskins as the WVU Mascot, and a news reader at two TV stations.

  • Senior Fellow

    Campaign advice for Tennant, get off the coal/Obama topics and repeat these things over and over.

    1. Capito voted to shut down the gov't

    2. Captio voted to remove regulations that led directly to the financial collapse of '08, she gets an A+ from Wall Street

    3. Capito voted for Iraq War, cost us a trillion dollars

    4. Capito wants to remove the basic reforms put in place after financial meltdown

    5. Capito votes to help large corporations use loopholes so they can avoid taxes by using fake companies overseas.

    She has to attack on issues Capito is vulnerable on, make WV's aware of these things not try to be a bigger friend of coal, that is hopeless.

    • Aaron

      "Capito voted to shut down the gov't"

      Why do you not place the blame on Democrats and the Senate for either failing to submit a budget to Congress or for not acting on any of the House budgets passed and sent to the Senate. The reality is that continuing spending resolutions are the reason for the shutdown.

      We are told time and again that the house Republicans are obstructionist but they are not the one saying on their laurels and refusing to act on bills.

      Candidate Obama promised to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans but the truth is, if Republicans do not cave to his demands, he refuses to act and the embarks on public campaigns meant to discredit and demean all Republicans.

      The President has the leadership pulpit thus the failure to lead falls at upon him, not Congress.

    • GregG

      All excellent points Senior Fellow, but this election is only focused on a black man as President and the media propagated "War on Coal". As I have stated many, many times I'm not a fan of President Obama (because he hasn't been as tough on issues that I see as needing dealt with) but sadly it seems the media is doing the thinking for the voting public. Plus, many seem to believe that the giving big business free reign (which they already have) is the answer to the nations problems.

    • Molon Labe

      I see nothing wrong with any of these.

      1) The govt shuts down every weekend and what....stop living off the govt.

      2) Govt regulates everything; give the private sector breathing room.

      3) Iraq? Done the right way, it would have been worth it, but as far as costing the US trillions? has Obamacare. What website costs half a BILLION Dollars?

      4) Those same reforms that led to the meltdown in the first place? ex. "The bank qualified me for a $250,000 house and I only make $28,000 a year".

      5)Why not? The US places higher tax rates on the shoulders of large companies to fit the bill for those who DON’T pay taxes. I for one applaud Burger King for saying goodbye to the high US tax rate in exchange for the lower one found in Canada.

      • Jason412

        "3) Iraq? Done the right way, it would have been worth it"

        Haha, that is the funniest thing I have heard on this site in quite a while. "If it was done right" we would have rode in their with unicorns and space ships and captured Bin Laden on day 1 and ended it, that is the absolute only way it doesn't end in the absolute catastrophe it did.

        ", but as far as costing the US trillions? has Obamacare. What website costs half a BILLION Dollars?"

        While Obamacare is certainly a disaster, it didn't cost the lives of 3,258 American soldiers and injuries to 100,000+ more. The cost of lives alone far outweighs any damage done by Obamacare and that's not considering the $7.5 million dollars a day the Iraq war is still costing taxpayers, or how many terrorists we've created with our acts.

        Now we're about to start another war because ISIS is "the greatest threat we've ever faced". Funny last year people like McCain were calling Assad "the greatest threat we've ever faced" and now he's saying "we need to team up with the greatest threat we ever faced from last year, to beat the greatest threat we ever faced currently."

        Oh and lest I forget, last year McCain, and a lot of others in Congress, wanted to arm Syrian rebels, the same rebels who now make up ISIS.

        I wonder what "the greatest threat we've ever faced" will be in 2015

        • Jason412

          that should have said "rode in there" not their

      • Senior Fellow

        where do you get your reasoning? Regulations put in by FDR served us well for 70 years, 8 years after they were removed we had a total financial meltdown. Is that good? Do you not remember Bush standing in front of the White House saying, "today we face the worst financial crisis since the great depression"? I'm sure you think that was good as well. WOW!!!

        2. Iraq done right? Most of the trouble currently bubbling in the Middle East is the result of bone headed thinking like yours. Yea! There was not way it could be done right and no reason to do it in the first place.

        3. Capito's votes helped facilitate the lending of $250,000 to people making $28,000, that's exactly what I'm talking about.

        4. Burger King, and every other company in US, are able to be successful because of the vast infrastructure and first world standard of living we have. Someone has to help pay for the military, roads, judicial system, FDA, etc... How backwards can your mind be that the very people who benefit the most should only enjoy their millions/billions in profits and not help pay for the things that make it possible??? My guess is you voted for MITT because that's the way he thinks.

        The Republican mind is truly a study of insanity.

        • Aaron

          I'm not sure how you get that given that GWB tried to rein in FM/FM in 2003 and was halted by Congress.

          • Aaron


            What were you saying?

          • Senior Fellow

            Aaron, go to youtube and type Bush talks about Fannie and Freddie in the search bar. There you will see him explaining how average people can now buy "really nice homes". Now I know you think somehow it was all Barney Franks fault, jsut take a moment to educate yourself instead of continuing to believe propaganda.

    • WhgFeelin

      Isn't BO and many other democrats guilty of doing the same things you describe?

  • Senior Fellow

    It was an uphill battle from the beginning but she has also ran a terrible campaign. She has to offer solutions for clean coal and point Captio's record on things like voting to shut down the gov't, being an A+ rated congressman for the banking industry and Wall Street (Captio's votes to deregulate those industries led directly to the financial collapse and she is vulnerable), how the ACA has helped WV, her strong support for the Iraq war, etc...

    I'm not a professional politician but if she can't see these simple things and attack Capito on her years and years of voting, she is missing her only chance. She can't win by parroting Capito how much she loves coal and dislikes Obama, she has fallen right into the trap any skilled politician should have avoided.

    • Fiscal Conservative

      Out of all of that the statement "the aca has helped wv" is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard.

  • Jim N Charleston


    Well thank you Captain Obvious! Nothing gets by you. You are the Woodward & Bernstein of this was over as soon as Natalie announced except you waited 6 months to print it.

    Dude! Simple truth is nobody likes Natalie & her politics and allegiences make it worse running in WV. Add her campaign & campaign manager being so ridiculously run by a group of boobs, its almost like they're using JR's guide to running for US Senate. After this race, she'll never get serious funding for another statewide campaign again.

    All I got
    I'm Jim N So Charleston

  • David

    Keep schilling Hoppy...

    Credible candidate... LOL...

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, Obama is more than just an 'albatross' around Natalie's neck, he's political 'kryptonite' for Democrats seeking election in West Virginia. Not only is Tennant having to deal with the 'shadow of Obama', Nick Jo Rahall will as well. Nicky Jo successfully distanced himself from the President in 2012, the big question is, can he do it again in 2014? It's true Obama's not on the ballot but in WV, Obama's still fresh on voter's minds.

    • Monty Burns


  • Wirerowe

    Natalie Tenant came in a distant third in the 2011 special election democratic primary for Governor with 17% of the vote. I think that she will lose in November by at least 10%. Hard to see how she remains a viable candidate for statewide races going forward. The cutting off the lights to the White House was a dumb ad. As for the UMWA endorsement of her " suicide is painless but it brings on many changes".

    • Hop'sHip

      Wire: I can't find on Cook any survey showing more people have been hurt by ACA than helped. I did find where the law remains deeply unpopular in especially red states but I think that is because of who they think the law helps. Many think it helps "his" people, and in a way they are right. Minorities have disproportionately occupied low compensation jobs that don't provide insurance so they probably have disproportionately benefitted. All I'm saying is Capito should be forced to say she will fight for full repeal of the law, not this "we'll keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad." The bad is what makes the good possible.

      • Aaron

        How about college students. Prior to ACA students at WVU could use heath clinics without being charged for insurance. Beginning this year students were required to provide proof of insurance or pay for insurance from WVU to use the WVU health care system.

        I opted out but my son was charged because he didn't get his form submitted in time to prevent the fee. Upon providing his proof of insurance, his $700 insurance fee was returned to him. He was told that next year if you did not provide the firm on time the fee would not be refunded.

        Many students including 2 of his roommates had no insurance so they were forced to pay for a service they were previously not charged for.

        Because of the ACA students are being forced to pay for services out of financial aid money regardless of whether they used the service or not. I don't know if WVU previously charged students on a per visit basis but I know of other schools that did not who are now required to charge for this service. I realize it's not a survey but it is a segment of society that has been hurt by the ACA.

        • Hillboy

          I'm not sure but I think there may have been a fee for student health services added into the WVU fee structure in the past. If that is so, health services were not technically free in the past.

          The question would be whether, now that WVU students are required to have insurance, whether that fee has been removed.

      • Wirerowe

        With all due respect" many think it helps " his people" " is unsubstantiated and I think is a wild shot in the dark. A number of people Los their insurance, had to give up their doctors, we're cut back to part time and a heck of a lot of people saw their premiums go up and will continue to see their. Premiums go up because of the act. And we will all have to pay for subsidies and increased Medicaid recipients. I am fine with subsidies for those in need and heavy subsidies for those in most need. Not for free care.

      • Wirerowe

        On his home page under the senate ratings map there is a section called " the 2014 political environment" it includes many polls and charts including the one I referred to. My instinct is that the act itself is a wash or maybe a net positive in West Virginia because of increased coverage. But because of the label of Obamacare overall it is a net negative.

  • DP

    Hop'sHip-I couldn't agree with you more about N.T.'s chances. But, when Obama lost by 13 points to McCain in 2008 and was becoming more unpopular by the day in WV, she should have seen the light. Obviously she didn't and again campaigned and supported him in 2012!

    Her refusal to answer questions about voting for Obamacare and supporting Dingy Harry for Senate President have all but positively guaranteed her defeat in this Senatorial race! As another regular poster on this site stated some time back, N.T. was nothing but a sacrificial lamb!

    The question now is has Natalie wrecked any future political aspirations she might have in the future???

    • WhgFeelin

      The only reason BO lost WV 2Xs is because we all is racist here in WV!! I saw so on that there MSNBC show.

  • Hop'sHip

    I would say 100% chance that Tennant goes down. But for her future it would behoove her to take a stand on something and force Capito to do so also. She could start with healthcare. The media like Hoppy will not force Capito to clarify her incomprehensible position on ACA so Natalie should. I think what the Republicans have planned will not bode well for a rural state like West Virginia and the population will eventually conclude so, and Natalie needs to establish herself as a different voice to take advantage when this awakening occurs.

    • Aaron

      Can you perhaps elaborate on some of these Republican policies do not bode well for rural states like WV?

    • Wirerowe

      Hops nation wide the Affordable Health care Act remains very unpopular particularly among independents. Polls that Charlie Cook has in his website indicate that more people have been hurt by the act than helped by the act. IMO rural states will get the short end of the stick with or without the Affordable Care Act. Rural hospitals that are dependent on low reimbursements form Medicaid will gravitate to primary care centers if they survive and we will end of with three to five full service holding companies that provide most of the surgeries, heart, and cancer work. Rural folks will have to drive a long distance for theses services.

    • The bookman

      What awakening? I think what we are witnessing is the awakening of the conservative American populace that we are not on a sustainable path. Yes the midterms are never kind to the President's party, regardless of affiliation. But really no one in DC is popular right now.

      The wheels are off the current administration, an amazing fall from what was a steamroller. NT is just another candidate who can't escape the impacts of her party's juggernaut over the last 6 years. Elections do have consequences, and so does the power and influence they provide. Obama has taken full advantage of his opportunities to institute his hope and change agenda. The lack of effectiveness in moving the country forward are now on full display, and the results of such failures will be demonstrated in November.