According to a new Rasmussen poll, the West Virginia Senate race has significantly tightened up:

In the first Rasmussen Reports post-primary survey of West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin attracts 48% of the vote while Republican businessman John Raese earns 42%.

Democratic governor Joe Manchin was the strong favorite to succeed the late Robert Byrd when Rasmussen first polled the race in July. Manchin got 51 percent against businessman and two-time Byrd opponent John Raese's 35 percent last month.

Rasmussen notes that Manchin is still wildly popular as governor in the state and provides an explanation for why that popularity isn't translating. Hint: the (D) next to Manchin's name isn't helping.

Manchin still earns high reviews from voters for his job as governor. Seventy percent (70%) approve of his job performance, which includes 36% who Strongly Approve and 34% who Somewhat Approve.

However, there’s a gap in support for the governor’s Senate run between those who Strongly Approve of his performance and those who Somewhat Approve. While Manchin holds a dominant lead among voters who Strongly Approve of his performance as governor, the race is a virtual tie among those who Somewhat Approve of Manchin’s job.

Perhaps one explanation for this divide is that among those voters who Somewhat Approve of Manchin’s performance, 64% Strongly Disapprove of President Obama’s performance.

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