A new Fox News poll shows GOP senate John Raese five points ahead of Democratic candidate Gov. Joe Manchin. Currently supported by 48 percent of voters, Raese is developing a strong lead in a race that pundits had assumed would be a Democratic win just a few short weeks ago.
The results also highlight the trend that’s driving the race: voters love Manchin (he has 66 percent approval ratings for his job performance as governor) but strongly dislike President Obama (he has 65 percent disapproval ratings). The Raese campaign has pushed this angle, running ads that call Manchin “Rubber Stamp [for Obama] Joe” and talk about the difference between “Washington Joe” and “West Virginia Joe.” Considering that 60 percent of voters aim to make their vote an expression of opposition to the Obama administration policies, this looks like a smart strategy.
The poll also shows the state’s conservative leanings. Fifty-three percent of voters either strongly or somewhat support the tea-party movement. Sixty-three percent favor repealing Obama’s health-care plan — which might explain why Manchin recently came out in favor of partial repeal, despite having supported the bill in March. And a whopping 75 percent are either dissatisfied or angry about how the federal government is working.
Raese, who has argued that he has a good chance at becoming the 51st vote in the Senate, recently got a boost from the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s decision to spend $1.2 million on ads in the state. The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee spent about $500,000 running ads in support of Manchin last week.