CHARLESTON, W.Va. — During an appearance on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” pollster Jefrey Pollock noted people should “take campaign pollsters with a grain of salt” when they present new poll results.
“It’s incumbent upon us to — when we go on programs like yours — deliver the data that we believe to be right and credible,” he told host Hoppy Kercheval. “At the end of the day, if we’re wrong, we’ve got business problems for a long period of time.”
Pollock appeared on the program to discuss a new Global Strategy Group poll on the U.S. Senate contest between Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Republican candidate and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
According to the Global Strategy Group survey, 48 percent of West Virginians support Manchin’s bid for another term in office compared to 36 percent in support of Morrisey. Four percent of respondents favor Libertarian candidate Rusty Hollen, while 12 percent remain undecided.
The poll’s margin of error is 4 percentage points.
Pollock, who is a founding partner and the president of Global Strategy Group, said undecided voters tend to be “low-information voters.”
“They’re less engaged,” he said. “They’re more likely to be younger voters who will pay attention when things get closer at the end of the race. Some of those are really looking for some level of communication over the closing weeks of the campaign.”
Pollsters conducted the poll between Sept. 19 and 23, before Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about allegations of sexual assault and President Donald Trump’s Sept. 29 rally in Wheeling. The poll had more than 600 participants.
Global Strategy Group is a political polling and research organization with clientele including corporations in multiple fields, universities and Democratic lawmakers, including Manchin.
Other clients include Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly — who like Manchin is a red-state Democrat running for reelection this year — Priorities USA, Senate Majority PAC, the Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Political analysis organization FiveThirtyEight gives Global Strategy Group a “C-plus” rating with a noted bias of 2 percentage points in favor of Democrats.
The Global Strategy Group poll is yet in line with other surveys; Manchin has led all but two polls taken since the May 8 primary election.
“The reality is the voters of West Virginia know Joe Manchin,” Pollock said. “They know his record as governor. They know his record as senator. They know that he’s been there for them.”
Pollock said Morrisey’s issue is favorability, noting a 44 percent unfavorability rating in his organization’s poll compared to a 34 percent favorability rating.
In Manchin’s case, 50 percent of respondents have favorable feelings about him, and 42 percent are unfavorable toward the senator.
“The voters of West Virginia have looked at him, looked at his record and frankly, they don’t like it,” Pollock said.
“Patrick Morrisey has been defined,” he added. “He’s been defined by the ridiculous actions he has taken as attorney general, for example, to take on the silly case of trying to overturn (coverage for) pre-existing conditions. These are the mistakes that he’s made that are coming home to haunt him.”
Morrisey is one of 20 state attorneys general suing the federal government arguing the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because of the repeal of the law’s individual mandate in December.
Manchin, in response, has introduced a resolution in the Senate asking the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in the lawsuit. He has also released an advertisement targeting Morrisey for the legal action.
Only one poll so far has Morrisey leading Manchin, and it was released in May just days after the primary election.1892 Polling conducted a poll for the Morrisey campaign in which Morrisey and Manchin are tied at 45 percent each with 10 percent of respondents undecided. The margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.
According to the 1892 Polling poll, Morrisey is leading Manchin 41-37 among independents with 22 percent of respondents undecided.
The poll’s findings were released last week. The poll was conducted on Sept. 24 and 25 with 500 likely voters.
Morrisey for Senate spokesperson Nathan Brand criticized the Global Strategy Group survey in a statement.
“Joe Manchin will say or do anything to distract from his record of opposing President Trump, supporting Hillary Clinton, pushing Obama-backed gun control and enabling Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s resist and obstruct circus,” he said. “This is just the latest reminder that Joe Manchin is a dishonest Washington liberal who will do anything for his political survival.”