Joe Manchin is the second most popular governor that Public Policy Polling has polled all year, next to Louisiana's Bobby Jindal. So why did PPP find Tuesday that he's 3 points behind Republican John Raese in the WVa Senate race?
Because Mountaineers dislike their president more than most other states do.
At the same time West Virginians couldn't be much more down on national Democrats. Barack Obama's approval rating in the state is just 30% with 64% of voters disapproving of him. Even within his own party barely half of voters, at 51%, like the job he's doing. Support from Republicans (91% disapproval) and independents (73% disapproval) is pretty much nonexistent.
. . . 22% of voters in the state have the competing impulses of both liking Manchin and wanting Republicans to control the next Congress. With those folks Raese leads 57-29 and that's fueling his slight overall advantage.
Despite Manchin's 42% approval rating with Republicans he's getting only 14% of their votes. And in spite of a +8 approval spread with independents, he trails Raese 56-30 with them. Raese also leads 47-41 with another key group- the Democrats that disapprove of Obama.