Oct 6, 2011- Looking Ahead to 2012 in W.Va.

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

More results from the recent PPP poll in West Virginia give insight into the landscape in 2012 and who the most hated man in the state is.

In addition to the recent poll results showing how tight the governor's race was, Public Policy Polling is also releasing results about some other interesting political issues.

The full news release from PPP: 

-Earl Ray Tomblin's victory in the West Virginia Governor's race seemed to bode pretty well for Joe Manchin's reelection prospects next year, and his poll numbers confirm that.  Manchin has a 61% approval rating with only 23% of voters disapproving of him. That rankins Manchin as the 5th most popular Senator out of 87 currently in office that PPP has polled on.  In a head to head with Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, quite popular herself with a 53/28 favorability spread, Manchin leads 49-38. And although Bill Maloney may have come awfully close to winning the Governor's race this year he would be no match for Manchin- he trails 60-29 in a hypothetical Senate contest.

-2012's not looking great for West Virginia Republicans on the picking up a Senate seat front but 2014 might provide more promise. Jay Rockefeller's approval rating is 47/41, ok numbers but unimpressive compared to Manchin.  And he would trail in a potential bout with Capito by a 48-44 margin. Rockefeller does worse against Capito than Manchin does across the board but the disparity is particularly large with GOP voters- they support Capito by only a 43 point margin over Manchin (64-21), but would give her a 68 point advantage over Rockefeller (80-12). Rockefeller and Manchin are pretty similarly popular with Democrats but when it comes to independents/Republicans the disparity is wide.

-West Virginians want their Mountaineers to go to a different conference- there's just not much agreement on what that new conference would be.  32% want to stay in the Big East with 36% supporting a move and 32% holding no opinion.  But within that 36% that wants to go 13% want to head to the ACC, 12% to the SEC, 9% to the Big 10, and 2% to the Big 12.  Not a lot of agreement there.

-Last month I declared on Twitter that we had found the most unpopular man in West Virginia and asked people to guess who- the most common response was former Mountaineer football coach Rich Rodriguez. We were actually talking about Don Blankenship but we decided to test Rich Rod on this poll and lo and behold he is deserving of 'least popular' designation.  Only 15% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of him to 56% with a negative one.  That -41 spread is worse than the -31 spread Blankenship had at 13/44. (Full disclosure, I'm from Ann Arbor and I hate Rich Rod's guts for what he did to our football program, but we always play it straight with our numbers.)

-And finally out of staters never really seem sure whether to call West Virginia a southern state or not and the truth is West Virginians themselves don't really know either.  45% of people in the state consider themselves southerners, while 55% do not.  That's a pretty close division. There aren't any real obvious political divides in who considers themselves southern and who doesn't- 56% of Republicans don't identify as southern, almost identical to the 55% of Democrats who don't.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Healthy business activity is keeping West Virginia's budget ahead of its general tax revenue estimates for the year.

The state collected $417 million last month, or $34 million more than expected. That puts revenues nearly $44 million ahead for the budget year that began July 1.

Taxes paid by corporations and businesses accounted for $23 million of September's surplus. Officials say employers aren't relying as heavily as expected on stimulus-related write-offs. The collections also beat the estimate even after a scheduled cut to the business franchise tax.

Other signs of economic activity include revenues from sales, use and personal incomes taxes. Those together were $13 million above the month's projections.   

West Virginia expects to collect $4 billion from general taxes by June 30. Revenues so far total $1 billion.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is seeking West Virginians' ideas for cutting the federal deficit.

Manchin said Thursday in a news release that he has revamped his website to make it easier for people to submit their ideas and priorities to him.  

He says he will submit a formal letter containing the recommendations to the congressional deficit reduction committee on Oct. 14.     

The West Virginia Democrat says the new website also gives him the ability to hold online town halls in the future.


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia officials will soon end up in court over the redrawing of House of Delegates districts.     

Kanawha County lawyer Thornton Cooper says he hoped to file his lawsuit Monday. He filed the required advance notice after the first redistricting plan passed in August.

That plan was later vetoed because of technical errors. A replacement plan was signed into law last month. Cooper says it contains the same alleged constitutional flaws as the original plan, plus one new one.

The final plan distributes 100 House seats among 58 districts. While 47 are single-seat districts, the rest have between two and five delegates.

The Putnam and Mason county commissions have voted to sue as well. State officials believe the plan passes constitutional muster.

The 2010 Census prompted the redistricting.

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