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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  • Raritan Sailor

    It's interesting to see that so many of you are eagerly waiting, hoping, and voting for the Banks, Big Biz, and the Koch Bros. to take over our Govt., State, and the country! You folks must really like having no economic future, and being ruled by plutocrats! Talk about voting against your own best interests! Keep drinking the Kool-Aid you rubes!

    • Tom

      That is right, big banks and big business run our county. Much better than a bunch of crooked lawyer's and govt beurcrat s running it. The reason why, because big business and big banks know how to be profitable. They keep you employed, and the American public ownes them. So who was it again that you wanted to run our county? Crooked politicians, or you me and the big business's and banks?

    • PMQ

      Big banks, big money, war on women, racism, gay rights; the DemocRAT party is so sad. Is this best you have?? Grow up.

  • Clint Kish

    Tennant is an empty suit and a pawn for Obama! Obama wants to destroy the coal industry and further promote solar and windmill power where his financial backers have invested heavily! If you think otherwise you are drinking kool-aide! Jobs are created by private investors, not by government edict! Do you really think Tennant would be independent of Obama and the other socialist loons who live off the taxpayers?

    • Larry

      If this is true why is the coal industry supporting tennant,wake up!!!

    • Eric

      The coal industry is doomed regardless of what politician is in office. We need people who look in to the future and not live in the past. WV shipped three billion dollars in coal last year yet are one of the least developed states. Why don't you quit being a pawn for a dying

  • Thomas Moore

    Natalie Tennant is by far the better candidate. She needs to bring back Elizabeth Warren and lead a strong progressive campaign among coal miners and others in economically depressed area, advocating for more federal programs to address West Virginia's economic and environmental problems, no just say she isn't Obama.

    • PMQ


  • greg moles

    Hoppy, what a shame to hear you endorsing same sex marriage. It would seem that one would understand that futher public approval does not speak well of a society that condones activity such as Sodomy. Look at the number of diseases transmitted by this "unnatural" act. Emphasis on unnatural.
    I'm afraid you have mistaken love with lust for the inconvient. These cannot reproduce, which should be an obvious indication it is not "normal". You have taken this unnatural act and endorsed legitimizing it. Allowing for adoption: instead of reproducing they recruit. Shame brought on normal society, If I had property for rent should I not be allowed the privelege to decide who rents it? Why would I rent to a sodomite when I have small grandsons? The prop[ensity to commit an act against a child is too great, only a step from "homosexual". Shame on you Hoppy, too many liberal professors have scuttled your eqiliberium.
    Sincerely, Greg

  • Jason

    She is the same person that smiled and endorsed Obama, isn't she?

  • Jason

    She endorsed Obama, didn't she?

  • Randy

    Obama IS on the ballot. Sometimes you are judged by the company you keep. If you endorse him and go to bat for him, then you either drink his kool aid, or you say whatever benefits you at that particular moment. And to whoever wins. Please submit a bill outlawing automatic spell check. Sometimes I want to tell someone to stick it where the sun doesn't shine and after posting I look to see that I wished them a nice Yom Kippur.

    • richard

      So, by your logic, Capito should be judged by Bush?? I'll take Obama any day

  • Dave

    West Virginians who vote for Tennant are providing support to Obama who through the EPA is trying to destroy West Virginia. We can't live in the past but we can hope not to repeat it.

  • DP

    Hop'sHip-You should seek out a girlfriend/wife vs. your obvious love-the computer! If you could find a lady friend, maybe, just maybe, she would have a positive influence on you. Please note that I called you no names-I'm just trying to help a lonely fella out! You're more than welcome for my advice! Have a great day a work tomorrow HH.

    Most Sincerely Submitted,

    • Hop'sHip

      Thanks for the advice, but my current wife would object. She already puts up with a lot. I appreciate the concern. My job involves spending a lot of time at the computer and I think it would be surprised to learn that I was in love with it given some of the names I sometimes call it.

  • Hop'sHip

    Glad to hear you're still together, although I admit I thought maybe she was having a positive influence on you. It Is probably good for the long-term stability of your relationship that you see life through the same lens. I don't think I'm that thin-skinned. I think I figured out around high school that name calling revealed more about the name caller than the name callee. So feel free to call me wackjob or any of your favorite insults. Just make sure you don't get sent to moderationville!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Hop'sHip

      Meant as a reply to DP.

  • Debra

    Tried posting a comment on here twice and it never made it. Maybe I didn't please the moderator.

  • DP

    HH-I forgot to mention that I don't expect a reply from you until later tonight as I'm sure you are very, very hard at work!

    • Hop'sHip

      I was.

  • DP

    Hop'sHip-Thankfully, I sure do have my same little gal and hopefully we'll remain together for a long, long time! She wholeheartedly disapproved of my lines referencing living in mom's basement, etc. But, having to work with a couple of Obummer worshipers, she's becoming MORE FED UP with thin skinned Far Left Wackjobs (look in the mirror) than I am! I'm curious HH, is Obummer's thin skin contagious among all of you Lefties??? It must be like an STD amongst you and your Comrades!

    One of many differences between you and me HH is your futile attempt to use cutting humor in trying to make your Socialist points. Of course on other occasions you reference numerous Far Left Sites attempting to make your points. I'm quite sure you fancy yourself after your hero-the Wimp of all Wimps-Bill Maher. I, on the other hand, tell it like it is!!! I sure hope this answers your question HH as I would be devastated if it doesn't!!!

  • Debra

    I would like to remind everyone that four years ago John Raese was up by 10 points and was going to be our next senator. Fox News had him on their shows. Oh and WVU was gonna get beat by 25 to Bama. That's why you play the game, and have elections. It ain't over till, well, you know!

  • DWM

    Obama may not be on the ballot, but his political beliefs, the same beliefs held by Tennant are.

    It would be a mistake by West Virginia voters not to see this.