New polling shows Manchin trailing in U.S. Senate race

CHARLESTON — If U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin decides to seek re-election in 2024, new polling shows both of his major Republican opponents leading him.

According to a poll released Tuesday by East Carolina University, Manchin, D-W.Va., trails both Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., though respondents prefer Justice to Mooney in the Republican Senate primary next year.

The poll, conducted May 22 and May 23 with 957 registered West Virginia voters by both landline interactive voice response (IVR) and an online panel, shows Justice leading Manchin 54% to 32%, a 22-point difference with 13% undecided and 1% preferring another candidate. Mooney leads Manchin more narrowly, with respondents preferring Mooney to Manchin 41% to 40% with 18% undecided and 1% preferring another candidate.

“Gov. Justice has delivered results for West Virginians, and he is the strongest candidate in this race,” said Roman Stauffer, Justice’s campaign manager. “We are pleased to see voters have confidence in his leadership, and he will continue to build on his record of tax cuts, investing in roads, highways, broadband and so much more that has helped create a strong economy and more jobs for hardworking West Virginians.”

According to the poll, Manchin is in trouble with registered Democrats and independents. Manchin’s numbers also are being pulled down by the unpopularity of President Joe Biden in the state, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for a second term in 2024.

“Deeper analysis of the approval numbers shows barely half (51%) of self-identified Democrats in West Virginia approve of Senator Manchin’s job performance. The senator’s approval drops to 37% among independents and to just 22% among Republicans,” according to the poll. “Further complicating matters for Manchin, only 26% of West Virginians express approval of President Joe Biden’s job performance, compared to 68% disapproval.

Manchin has yet to announce his plans to seek re-election to a third six-year term in the Senate, waiting until the end of the year to make an announcement.

His political future could also include a third-party run for president.

Manchin declined to comment on the poll, referring to an April statement.

“I am laser-focused on doing the job West Virginians elected me to do, lowering health care costs, protecting Social Security and Medicare, shoring up American energy security and getting our fiscal house in order,” Manchin said. “But make no mistake, I will win any race I enter.”

In the Republican primary, respondents preferred Justice over Mooney 53% to 12%. Former coal miner Chris Rose has 4%, while 31% of respondents are undecided.

According to the poll, Justice has a 70% approval rate among Republicans and a 52% approval rate among independents, both of which can vote in primary elections.

A request for comment from the Mooney campaign was not returned.

The poll also looked at the support for multiple Republican candidates for president.

According to the poll, 54% of respondents support former President Donald Trump in 2024, with 9% supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 5% supporting former Vice President Mike Pence, 4% supporting South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, 3% supporting former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, 2% supporting tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, 2% supporting former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and 20% undecided.

“Although it is still early, Jim Justice is the clear favorite to win in West Virginia’s 2024 U.S. Senate election,” said Peter Francia, director of the ECU Center for Survey Research.

He is a popular Republican governor challenging an unpopular Democratic incumbent in a heavily Republican state.

Likewise, our poll results make clear that Donald Trump would easily win the West Virginia Republican presidential primary if the election were held now.”

The East Carolina University poll’s margin of error and credibility interval were both plus/minus 3.7%.

The survey polled 587 IVR respondents and 370 respondents for the online panel.


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