West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s recent moves to highlight his independence from the Obama agenda may be paying off, as he has pulled back into a near tie with Republican challenger John Raese in the state’s special election for the U.S. Senate.
Raese edges Manchin 49 to 46 percent in the new Rasmussen Reports survey, while 2 percent prefer some other candidate, and 3 percent are undecided. Last week, Raese, a businessman and unsuccessful Senate candidate in 2006, had pulled ahead of Manchin, 50 to 44 percent.
The new numbers, from a phone survey of 750 likely voters on Tuesday, pushed the contest back from leans Republican to tossup on the Rasmussen political scale.
The race in which Manchin was the overwhelming initial favorite continues to appear as though it pits his popularity as governor against President Barack Obama’s unpopularity with West Virginia voters. In the previous survey, the number of voters who wanted Manchin to remain as governor also crossed the 50 percent mark for the first time.
The unexpected closeness of the race has prompted visits to the state by former President Bill Clinton and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee.
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