|Poll||Date||Sample||Manchin (D)||Raese (R)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||60.6||36.5||Manchin +24.1|
|PPP (D)||9/1 - 9/4||708 LV||62||23||Manchin +39|
|PPP (D)||4/21 - 4/24||850 RV||61||29||Manchin +32|
|PPP (D)||1/20 - 1/23||1105 RV||60||31||Manchin +29|
Like Kentucky, West Virginia is technically part of the 13 original Colonies by way of its initial attachment to Virginia. Unlike Kentucky though, which was separated from Virginia after the first Congress, it took West Virginia until 1863 to achieve independent status. When the Civil War arrived, West Virginians no longer needed the consent of the mother state to break off, and so 55 counties formed the state of Kanawha -- named after the Kanawha River; a month later it was renamed "West Virginia" and was subsequently admitted to the Union.
The state initially leaned toward the Republican Party, but during the Great Depression the arrival of the United Mine Workers caused a re-alignment. Since then, it has elected almost exclusively Democrats to the Senate and House, although it has moved toward Republicans at the presidential level in recent years.
In 2010, voters elected Gov. Joe Manchin, a popular social conservative who fits the state well, to replace legendary Sen. Robert Byrd. Manchin now has to run again for a full term. However, given his relatively conservative voting record, as well as his strong victory against the same opponent in a bad Democratic year like 2010, he starts out in a strong position.