The Campaign Spot

In West Virginia, John Raese . . . Leads?

Even if Christine O’Donnell never comes close to beating Chris Coons, control of the Senate is still in play this year. Public Policy Polling gives Democrats perhaps one of their most depressing results yet this cycle:

PPP’s first look at the West Virginia Senate contest finds a very tight race with John Raese up 46-43 on Joe Manchin, a result within the poll’s margin of error.

The contest provides a fascinating choice for voters in the state who love their Democratic Governor but hate the party’s ranks in Washington DC that he would be joining.

Manchin is the second most popular Governor PPP has polled on all year, behind only Bobby Jindal, with a 59/32 approval spread. He breaks almost even with Republicans as 42% of them approve of the job he’s doing with just 44% disapproving. In a highly polarized political climate the list of politicians with that kind of crossover popularity is very short.

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.

Yesterday Rasmussen found Raese down seven. Either way, this is a good chance for a GOP win in a state where Democrats thought they had it in the bag.

With this poll, John Raese leaps to the top, or near the top, of GOP Senate candidates who need help from the grassroots right now.

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