Fourteen points separate Capito and Tennant in U.S. Senate poll

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A national pollster calls the challenge Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is facing with her U.S. Senate campaign an “uphill climb.”

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows 49 percent of likely West Virginia voters will support the likely Republican candidate, Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, while 35 percent will support the likely Democratic candidate, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

In that poll, four percent prefer another candidate in the race while 12 percent said they were undecided.

“Capito is the congresswoman, she’s probably got better name recognition at this point, from what our numbers show, and so, to some degree, it’s hers to lose ground and Tennant’s to gain ground,” said Fran Coombs, managing editor of Rasmussen Reports.

On Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” he said, for better or worse, national factors are affecting Tennant’s campaign.

“Right now, in your state, our numbers show the president is very unpopular and his health care law is very unpopular and that is helping the Republican and hurting the Democrat big time,” said Coombs.

The poll of 500 likely voters in West Virginia was conducted on Feb. 19 and 20.  The margin of sampling error is 4.5 percentage points.

The spokesperson for the Tennant campaign dismissed the poll’s results and questioned the credibility of Rasmussen Reports.

“It’s no surprise Congresswoman Capito would have her Washington friends try to buy support with a flawed poll, when it’s clear West Virginians are rallying around Natalie’s campaign to put West Virginia first,” said Jennifer Donohue in a statement.

A recent poll from Clarity Campaigns showed a six point difference between Capito and Tennant.  The poll of 1,727 West Virginia registered voters was conducted on Jan. 29 and 30.

In that poll, Capito received 45 percent of the potential voters, Tennant received 39 percent and 16 percent said they were “unsure.”  The margin of error was about two percent.

The 2014 Primary Election in West Virginia is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13th.

In addition to Capito, Larry Butcher of Washington, W.Va. and Matthew Dodrill from Parkersburg are seeking the Republican nomination.

In addition to Tennant, Dennis Melton from Buckhannon and David Wamsley from Williamstown are seeking the Democratic nomination.

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