Now that state legislators have officially approved a special Senate election this November to replace the late Robert Byrd, the state’s Democratic governor still earns majority support to win the job.
The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Governor Joe Manchin picking up 51% of the vote when matched against businessman John Raese, who picks up 35%. Five percent (5%) would prefer a different candidate and another nine percent (9%) are undecided.
Though five candidates have filed for the Republican nomination, Raese is the most notable. He ran a close race for Senate in 1984, and later challenged Byrd for his seat in 2006. He lost handily.
Third time's the charm for Raese? Manchin's lead doesn't seem insurmountable this early on, especially considering the fact that Rasmussen shows the Republican candidate getting the support of only 56% of Republicans:
While Manchin earns support from 78% of Democrats, Raese attracts only 56% of Republicans. But the Republican holds a twelve-point advantage among voters not affiliated with either major political party. If Raese is to make the race competitive, he will have to start by finding a way to win over the 29% of Republicans who currently support Manchin.