West Virginia Senate Still Tossup Between Raese, Manchin

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 26, 2010   |   1:33PM   |   Charleston, WV

The West Virginia Senate race continues as one of the closest elections in the country as pro-life candidate John Raese takes on Governor Joe Manchin, who is pro-life but endorsed the pro-abortion ObamaCare bill.

A new Fox News poll of likely voters continues the trend of new polls showing Raese leading as it has him with 8 percent of the vote, the same as the two previous Fox News polls.

However, the survey shows Manchin gaining ground, as Democrats who were undecided appear to be moving his direction. he now receives the support of 46 percent of West Virginia voters compared with the 43 percent he had at the beginning of the month.

The race continues as a referendum on pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in the state with a low 28 percent approval rating. Manchin is seen as close to the governor and West Virginia voters are looking for change — this time away from Obama and the Democrats who control Congress.

Manchin, who is now airing an ad that calls Raese “crazy,” faces some loss of support because of his high gubernatorial approval ratings and the poll shows twelve percent of Raese supporters said their votes were entirely intended at keeping Manchin as governor.

Unfavorable views about Raese are up to 45 percent from 37 percent on October 2 as a result of a barrage of negative television ads against him.

 Meanwhile, a new PPP ad of likely voters finds Manchin leading by a 50-46 percent mark — indicating the race is likely very close as two new polls show differing results.

“Manchin continues to be the most popular politician PPP has polled on anywhere in the country this year with 69% of voters in the state approving of his job performance and only 23% disapproving. The reason his standing has improved over the last two weeks is that he’s increasing his support from conservative voters in the state,’ the polling firm indicates.

But the anti-Obama vote and the desire to have Republicans control Congress can’t be underestimated.

“Obama’s approval rating in the state is only 31% with 65% of voters disapproving, the worst numbers PPP has found for him anywhere in the country this year. By a 52-40 margin voters in the state want Republicans to be in control of the next Congress, and 55% think that the Democratic Party is too liberal,” it indicates.

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.