CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jim Justice won Tuesday night’s debate, but barely, according to a MetroNews focus group.

The 12-member group made up of Democrats, Republicans and independent voters went with Justice 7-5 after watching the debate together at West Virginia Radio Corporation offices in Charleston.

Roger, an independent, said he’ll vote for Justice because of his new ideas.

“I think in West Virginia we need to look at other states around us and somebody needs to be creative—-and I think Jim Justice has a better idea of what that is,” Roger said.

Katie, a registered Republican, wasn’t sure about Cole until she heard his answers Tuesday night.

“He explained the issues and where to go forward with them. Jim Justice, I felt, talked more around the issues,” she said.

Justice’s likeability came out strong to the focus group, pollster Rex Repass of Repass Associates and the MetroNews West Virginia Poll said.

“One thing that came across consistently with Jim Justice is that he is very personable, very relatable, very West Virginian and whether you are for him or not that’s a very common thread,” Repass said.

For Cole, the state Senate president, it was the command of the facts, according to Repass.

“Those facts that he talked about tended to resonate with the supporters and those who were trying to make up their mind,” he said.

Other comments the focus group made:

–Cole became angry at times

–Justice’s clothes didn’t fit well

–Justice loves West Virginia

–Cole was well-dressed

There will be another MetroNews West Virginia Poll focused on the governor’s race before the Nov. 8 General Election.

Citynet sponsored the focus group event.