Morrisey and Moore Capito are in dead heat in governor’s race home stretch: MetroNews West Virginia Poll

Gubernatorial candidates Patrick Morrisey and Moore Capito are running neck and neck, according to the latest MetroNews West Virginia Poll.

Morrisey has support of 31% of registered Republican voters and independent voters who will request a Republican ballot, while Capito has 29%, according to the poll results released today.

Chris Miller came in with 16% support while Mac Warner was at 12 percent. The poll had 10% of Republican voters still unsure, with the remainder saying they favor some other candidate.

The bottom line is, the race for the Republican nomination for governor is tight, too close to call, said Rex Repass, president of Research America, which conducted the MetroNews West Virginia Poll, sponsored by The Health Plan.

“Votes are being spread around,” Repass said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll surveyed 400 likely Republican voters between April 3 and 9. Respondents in all 55 counties were included in the sampling frame. The data collection was online and by telephone.

The overall confidence level is +/- 4.9 percentage points.

The competitive nature of the governor’s race illustrates voter appetite for the primary election, Repass suggested.

Rex Repass

“I do think there is a high level of enthusiasm,” Repass said in a telephone interview today.

“Particularly the governor’s race is a very important election in this state, and there’s probably more enthusiasm about this primary than there will be about the general election.”

The West Virginia Poll snapshot differs from a separate poll of the race released late last month. That poll, conducted by Nexstar broadcasting and Emerson College, showed Morrisey ahead with 32.9%. Next in that poll came a large number of undecided voters, 28.9%. Following that were Miller at 16.2%, Capito at 14.4% and Warner at 6.2%.

Repass said those differences could be explained by polling methodology. He said the West Virginia Poll was geared toward finding people who are serious about the election and planning to vote — and then exploring their voting preferences.

West Virginia’s primary election is May 14. The early voting period for the primary election starts on Wednesday, May 1, and ends on Saturday, May 11.

Morrisey is a three-term attorney general. Capito is a former House Judiciary Committee chairman, son of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and grandson of three-term Gov. Arch Moore.

Miller runs his family’s network of businesses including car dealerships, and he’s the son of incumbent Congresswoman Carol Miller and grandson of longtime Congressman Sam Devine of Ohio. Warner is a two-term secretary of state and Army veteran whose brothers have also been involved in state political activity.

The only Democrat in the race is Huntington Mayor Steve Williams.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll shows Morrisey with an advantage among registered Republican voters. Capito, while still strong with registered Republicans, gain an advantage among independent voters requesting the Republican ballot.

Repass concluded the election will be decided based on turn-out of strong conservative Republicans (who are more likely to support Morrisey and Miller) and independents who are more likely to support Capito.

Morrisey has characterized himself as “a proven conservative” who has consistently battled the Biden administration during his time as attorney general. Miller has described his commitment to “boldly defending West Virginia values” and “standing up to the woke” agenda.

Morrisey and Miller appear to be fighting it out for strong conservatives – likely taking votes from each other, Repass said. The Morrisey and Miller campaigns each have a strong financial position and heavy campaign advertising rotations.

“The wildcard is Miller and $3 million heavy ad buys – what effect will that have, and when? In all likelihood, that effect will come in the last two weeks of the campaign,” Repass said.

Capito has described himself as “a get-it-done conservative” who has highlighted some culture issues like banning sanctuary cities. His campaign has also drawn support from other areas, including an endorsement last week by the United Mine Workers of America.

“If Republicans turn out strong and independents are less than, say, 25 percent or less than 20 percent of those who vote Republican, then I think Morrisey ahs a very good chance to win,” Repass said.

“On the other hand, if independents who request a Republican ballot turn out greater than 25 percent of the total vote then I think Moore Capito may have a better chance to win.”

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