Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s campaign has released polling showing him eight points ahead of Republican challenger Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The poll has Manchin at 50 percent and Morrisey at 42 percent.
The poll was conducted by GlobalStrategyGroup and Jefrey Pollock, Manchin’s longtime pollster. They interviewed 600 voters by land lines and cell phones between May 13-16. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
The poll has Manchin’s favorables at 51 percent, while his unfavorables are at 44 percent. That’s a little close for comfort. The Senator is viewed favorably by 64 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of Independents and 37 percent of registered Republicans.
So Manchin has an issue with some folks in his own party, most likely from the progressive wing. That was evident in the Primary Election when Paula Jean Swearengin got 30 percent of the vote in the race against Manchin.
But Manchin may be buoyed by the numbers that show one in three likely Republican voters view him favorably. That’s a serious problem for Morrisey if approval translates into votes. Democrats outnumber Republicans 525,000 to 393,000. That makes it imperative for Morrisey to lock down all the Republican voters and do better than Manchin with Independents.
Morrisey is the Republican Party’s nominee and he’s going to get help from President Trump. Even Pollock’s poll says Trump is viewed favorably by 61 percent of West Virginia voters.
But Morrisey still has a lot of work to do. Pollock’s poll has just 36 percent viewing Morrisey favorably, while 42 percent view him unfavorably. Also remember that 65 percent of those who voted in the Republican Primary voted for someone other than Morrisey.
Twenty percent, or 27,460 voters, supported Don Blankenship and it will be interesting to see where they go. Blankenship has refused to support Morrisey and is even trying to get on the November ballot as the nominee of the Constitution Party. The state’s “sour grapes” law is designed to prevent a Primary loser from switching parties and running in the General, but Blankenship is expected to challenge that in court.
Now, in fairness, Republican pollster WPA Intelligence released a survey two days after the Primary showing Morrisey ahead of Manchin 46 percent to 44 percent. WPAI surveyed 400 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.
There’s more good news for Morrisey in that poll. It shows that 59 percent of Independents would vote for Morrisey compared with 28 percent for Manchin. The survey also found that 64 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents believe it’s time for a new person to represent them in the Senate.