A Real Raese in the Mountain State?

A Real Raese in the Mountain State?

By Sean Trende - August 30, 2010

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll (8/29/10, 500 LVs, MOE +/- 4.5%) shows Governor Joe Manchin's lead over businessman and two-time Senate candidate John Raese down to single digits. The Governor, who is vying with Raese to replace the late nine-term Senator Robert Byrd, leads Raese by a slim 48 percent to 42 percent margin. This is down from a 51 percent to 35 percent margin earlier in the year. It should be noted that the poll was taken immediately after the primary contests, and that such polls frequently show bounces for the primary winner, especially if that winner is less well-known than the other candidate.

This race looks like it will come down to two competing trends. Seventy percent of West Virginia voters approve of the job that Governor Manchin is doing, with 36 percent strongly approving. At the same time, 70 percent of West Virginia voters disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing. If Raese can convince voters that Manchin's Democratic ties will force him to cast votes in support of the President's agenda, he may well win. On the other hand, if Manchin's likely message that he will be an independent vote in Washington wins out, then expect him to come out ahead.

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

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