Democratic poll: Manchin up double digits in West Virginia

- Mei 29, 2018

Senate Democrats didn’t get Don Blankenship as their GOP opponent in West Virginia. But they are nonetheless happy with the matchup between Sen. Joe Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

A Democratic poll taken after the GOP primary this month shows Manchin leading Morrisey, 52-40, in the critical Senate race, according to a summary obtained by POLITICO. The poll was paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and conducted by Geoff Garin of Hart Research Associates.

The poll suggests that Manchin’s effort to align himself as a Democratic ally of President Donald Trump is working. Manchin’s approval rate is 55 percent, compared to 41 percent disapproval, while Trump is viewed positively by 59 percent of West Virginians and negatively by 30 percent.

Manchin is widely viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators given Trump's 42-point electoral romp in West Virginia in 2016. A Manchin victory would portend a good year for the other nine Democrats defending seats in states that Trump won.

Morrisey is viewed positively by 30 percent of those polled and negatively by 36 percent, while 16 percent of those polled were neutral and 18 percent don’t know him.


There have been few public polls in West Virginia's general election, though the GOP firm WPA Intelligence found Manchin behind, 46-44, earlier this month. An internal poll released by Manchin's campaign showed him up 8 points.

Garin’s poll was conducted by phone with 602 likely voters on May 15 and 16 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Democrats battered Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) in the primary, viewing him as more electable than Morrisey, though they held out hope that coal baron Blankenship’s polarizing campaign as an enemy of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would succeed. J.B. Poersch, president of the Democratic Senate Majority PAC, said on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” on Sunday that he “felt a little sorry” for Republicans who ended up with Morrisey as their nominee due to his ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

“They had another problem on their hands and that’s the candidate that got nominated in Attorney General Morrisey,” Poersch said. “This isn’t the right candidate to put forward and it is likely Manchin remains senator in West Virginia.”

Senate Majority PAC has spent more than $2 million boosting Manchin, who has more than $5 million on-hand for his run against Morrisey. But Republicans say it won’t be enough and they expect Trump to eviscerate Manchin this fall.

At a private GOP Senate lunch earlier this month, Trump privately mocked Manchin for sucking up to him. And McConnell said in an interview last week that the GOP has a “good chance to win West Virginia.”

“While Manchin continues to tap dance around the fact that the president has made him a top target this November because of his opposition to the Trump agenda, it’s clear that the damage has already been done and Manchin’s days in Washington are numbered,” said Bob Salera, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


 

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