WSAZ - Blogs - At the Capitol

Sep 9, 2011- Is Manchin a Lock in 2012?

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

A new poll shows Sen. Joe Manchin (D) will start his re-election campaign with a healthy advantage over any potential opponents.

Public Policy Polling released some more results of their recent foray into West Virginia that show Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is enjoying strong support from much of the electorate.

However, he's not as popular as when he was governor.

During the last poll PPP conducted during his time as governor, Manchin's approval rating was at a rather high 70 percent. Now, he has a 59 percent approval rating in his job as senator. Meanwhile, 26 percent disapprove.

PPP says that ties him for the fifth most popular senator in the country.

The pollsters found, he doesn't appeal strongly to voters who consider themselves "very liberal." However, he does well with independents and even Republicans, considering his party affiliation. So, that makes up for the defecit at the other end of the political spectrum.

PPP looked into how Manchin would do in several hypothetical match-ups against potential Republican challengers in 2012.

The one who came the closest is Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. But, she trails Manchin 52-36. Rep. David McKinley would fare much worse, with Manchin winning 60-24. John Raese, Manchin's opponent in the 2010 special election, also doesn't do well in this poll. Manchin would handily beat him 62-23.

Much of the speculation in Washington on the 2012 races puts Manchin's seat as a tossup next year. But, the pollsters conclude that for now, he doesn't have too much about which to worry.

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