West Virginia Senate: Pro-Life Raese Regains Lead on Manchin

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 21, 2010   |   12:53AM   |   Charleston, WV

The campaign has in West Virginia for the Senate seat formerly held by pro-abortion Sen. Robert Byrd has gone back and forth in recent weeks. Now, pro-life candidate John Raese has regained the lead he previously held against Governor Joe Manchin.

Raese held a lead in early October of about 3-5 percentage points, but Manchin came back during the middle of the month and polls showed him tied with the Republican or leading.

Now, three consecutive polls have shown Raese leading anywhere from 3-7 percent with voters in the Appalachian mountain state.

Raese has now opened up a seven-point lead over Manchin, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, and it is his biggest lead of the campaign.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely West Virginia voters finds Raese with 50% support to Manchin’s 43%. Two percent (2%) like some other candidate in the race, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

With a Rasmussen poll showing Raese leading by three percent over the last week, the polling firm now says it believes he has the edge in winning the seat.

The numbers give mixed news for Manchin but show he still has an uphill battle.

“Some 69% of the state’s voters approve of the job Manchin is doing as governor, and he remains more popular overall than his GOP opponent. A big problem for Manchin, however, is that only 30% of West Virginia voters approve of how President Obama is doing his job, while 69% disapprove, well below the president’s job approval ratings nationally,” the firm noted. “Support for repeal of the new health care law in West Virginia is the highest in the nation.”

Although Manchin endorsed Obama’s efforts and voiced support for the bill before and after its passage in March, Manchin is now calling for the partial repeal of the law.

“I believe in health care reform. I don’t believe in the way this bill was passed,” Manchin said last month. “Why they overreached, I don’t know.”
Manchin clarified that he favored “repealing the things that are bad in that bill.”

“Can’t you keep that as a good base?” he said of provisions he liked, adding, “It’s a great bill.”

West Virginians for Life announced in August that its political action committee decided to endorse Republican Senate candidate John Raese in the primary election. The endorsement was not related to the general election in November, but if the group weighs in for Raese or makes no endorsement, that could help his campaign.

Karen Cross, the president of the West Virginia pro-life group, said the pro-life movement needed a strongly pro-life senator to replace Byrd, who compiled an extensive pro-abortion record in Congress.

“We must have strong pro-life candidates in both parties to assure us of having a good pro-life winner in November,” said Cross. [related]

“John Raese is a strong pro-life candidate. He has turned in a 100% candidate questionnaire, including the addendum on the Obamacare issue,” Cross said about Raese before the primary election. “He has been pro-life and a supporter of ours for many years. We have always endorsed him in the past. We believe that he deserves our endorsement.”

The group has not yet issued an endorsement for the general election.