Another week, another set of contradictory poll data in West Virginia’s tossup Senate race. A Fox News poll
of likely voters shows Republican John Raese in the lead with 48 percent support, a figure that has held steady in two previous surveys, while Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin is now polling at 46 percent, up from 43 percent earlier this month.
The Fox News analysis points out that Raese’s 2-point advantage is within the poll’s 3-point margin of error, “but his steady support in the face of a barrage of attack ads and media scrutiny must concern Democrats.”
Not so, if you accept the latest figures from the Democratic Public Policy Polling organization
. The PPP’s poll has Manchin leading Raese 50-44, up from a 3-point lead two weeks ago and 3 points behind last month.
PPP attributes Manchin’s improved showing to increased support from conservative voters, up 7 points to 24 percent. Manchin has stepped up his efforts to distance himself from President Barack Obama and Democratic policies that are deeply unpopular in the Mountain State, as in a recent ad depicting him “shooting” the cap-and-trade bill.
Manchin’s gain over the last five weeks is “an indication of an effective campaign that’s been able to ease the fear of voters that he’d be just another vote for the agenda of a president they don’t like,” says PPP president Dean Debnam.
Both polls were conducted last weekend, before the latest ads hit the airwaves. Raese’s new clip, which debuted Tuesday, emphasizes his assertion that Manchin would be a “rubber stamp” for Obama. Manchin released an ad on Monday that calls Raese’s ideas “crazy” and quotes some of his more provocative statements.
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