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Please begin with an informative title:

I can't say that I'm thrilled about the West Virginia U.S. Senate poll Public Policy Polling put out today but I also can't say that I'm surprised:


Capito's up 50/36 on Natalie Tennant. She's actually not that much more popular than Tennant, sporting a +9 favorability rating at 45/36 compared to the Democrat's +7 at 39/32. Capito's net favorability has declined a good deal from our last West Virginia poll in 2011 when she was at +25 (53/28).

But perhaps more important in defining the race at this point than the candidates themselves is how voters in the state feel about Barack Obama. Only 28% of voters approve of him to 67% who disapprove, the worst numbers we've found for him anywhere in the country other than Wyoming. He has a negative approval rating even with Democrats at 45/49, and that all adds up to this race starting out on friendly terrain for Republicans.

The key to Capito's early lead is winning over 30% of the Democratic vote, while losing only 11% of Republicans to Tennant. She's also up by almost a 2:1 margin with independents at 54/28. Capito has the early edge with both women and men and voters in every age group.

West Virgnia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant listens as arguments are presented in front of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia regarding whether or not a special election should be held for the governor's seat vacated by Joe Manchin when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Bob Wojcieszak, Pool)
There are a couple silver linings in the results for Tennant. Capito has an 11 point name recognition advantage on Tennant, but among voters who have an opinion about the Secretary of State she only trails Capito 47/44. Those numbers suggest she could get closer as she becomes better known. - PPP, 9/24/13
Keep in kind, Capito jumped into this race towards the end of 2012 so of course she has a head start in fundraising and name recognition but once Tennant becomes more well known in the state, hopefully this race will tighten.  Of course Tennant will have to do some distancing from Obama in order to get the conservative Democratic voters over to her side.  Tennant stated in her announcement speech that she and the President don't see eye to eye when it comes to coal.  PPP also points out that West Virginia voters can easily change their minds over who to vote for:
West Virginia, more than other states, has also seen some races shift dramatically in the last few years. In the 2011 Governor's race Earl Ray Tomblin started out with a 33 point lead over Bill Maloney but ended up winning by only 3 points in the end. And Joe Manchin followed up a 10 point win over John Raese in 2010 with a 24 point victory in the 2012 rematch. So Mountain State voters have shown a willingness to change their minds.- PPP, 9/24/13
Tennant will have no problem winning her party's nominee.  51% of Democratic voters want her to be the nominee while 34% remain unsure.  The other no-name candidates in the Democratic primary are practically getting nothing in terms of numbers.  8% for Sheirl Fletcher, 4% for David Wamsley and 3% for David Harless.

As for Capito's primary, right now she looks like she's going to win her party's nominee.  Capito gets 75% of Republican voters while 5% for Rick Lemasters, 4% for Pat McGeehan, 2% for Edwin Vanover, and 1% for Scott 'Cody' Regan with 17% of voters undecided.  So it looks like the Tea Party isn't really a threat to her but again,West Virginia voters can easily change their minds.  I still believe Tennant can win this race, she just needs to catch up to Capito in fundraising and name recognition.  Lets help Tennant close that gap by donating and getting involved with her campaign:


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Originally posted to pdc on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 09:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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