Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Manchin retakes lead

Joe Manchin has reclaimed the lead in the West Virginia Senate race by a 48-45 margin. He trailed by 3 points in a PPP poll three weeks ago and his improved standing is a clear example of the biggest potential game changer nationwide for this year's election in the final three weeks- if Democratic voters wake up some of their candidates' fates could shift quite a bit.

In 2008 56% of the voters who came out for President in West Virginia were registered Democrats while 29% were registered Republicans. The poll we did in mid-September found that the folks planning to vote in this year's election were considerably more GOP leaning- only 51% Democrats and 37% Republicans. But Democratic interest has perked up quite a bit over the ensuing three weeks and the likely electorate is now composed of 55% Democrats and 33% Republicans, still slightly more GOP friendly than in 2008 but enough to put Manchin back into the lead.

Perceptions of where this race stands have changed dramatically over the last three weeks and could be the reason Democratic voters are now becoming more engaged. In mid-September a Manchin victory was seen as inevitable but since then it's become clear the race is actually a toss up. That realization that Manchin actually does need their votes to win seems to have produced a greater sense of urgency with the Democratic base about getting out and voting next month.

Manchin's 68% approval rating on this poll is the highest PPP has measured for any politician in the country in 2010. Majorities of Democrats (80%), independents (60%), and Republicans (50%) alike are happy with the job he's doing. John Raese on the other hand has seen his favorability numbers slide over the last three weeks to the point where now just 39% of voters see him favorably and 46% have an unfavorable opinion.

Manchin's net approval is 53 points better than Raese's net favorability yet this is still only a 3 point race because the political climate remains toxic for Democrats in the state. Barack Obama's approval rating in the state is only 33%. Out of 32 states PPP has polled in this year that is Obama's worst approval anywhere.

34% of voters in the state both approve of the job Manchin is doing as Governor and disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President. For those folks the dislike of Obama outweighs the affection for Manchin- they're supporting Raese by a 59-34 margin. There are a few other worrisome findings for Manchin in the poll as well- even though he leads 47% of voters would prefer he remained Governor to 38% who want him in the Senate. And 53% think the national Democratic party is too liberal, which should help with GOP arguments that even if Manchin himself is not too liberal his election would help keep the liberals in charge in Washington.

All things considered though things look a little sunnier for Manchin than they did 3 weeks ago. There's no doubt this is a toss up race but it appears that things have at least stopped getting worse for him as they were throughout the month of September.

Full results here

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

must have been that gun ad. where he shot the cap & trade bill. he looked a little hickey though, in the process. guess that will work in WV.

Eric said...

Though this is certainly good news for Manchin & National Dems the road to victory for the Governor is still very problematic. The hit Raese took for the NRSC screw-up will abet quickly & Manchin's photo op screw-up will help.

In the end none of these small issues won't make much difference, this race will be decided by the slim range of Dem voters who love Manchin & hate Obama. If Manchin can convince them he'll be an effective counter to Obama Democrats than Raese he'll win. If they don't buy that argument, they have an easy moral "out" in keeping him as Governor (so they don't have to feel like they're "hurting" the guy they like).

In the end I think it's just too hard a sell with Obama's numbers being so bad and Raese wins solidly, probably about 53-47.

wt said...

Manchin's ad where he shoots the cap and trade bill might be a game-changer here. The ad is getting plenty of attention, and shows Manchin means business.

But the one way Manchin could seal up this race is if he promises to vote for Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader, and then promise to vote with McConnell on all major bills. Then he'd definitely beat the Republican. End sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

Your last snapshot of this race had a sample that was 51D, 37R. This time, your sample was 55D, 33R. So there does not appear to have been any change in voter preferences; all that seems to have changed is the partisan make-up of the sample.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

Can I ask, what was your screen for Likely Voters?

Thanks

Chuck T said...

PPP get ready for the inevitable "but every other poll shows Raese in the lead"--even though every other poll also shows it close and a toss up. I think thte last week or so has been a turning point for Manchin with the "hicky'ad fall-out and the fact that Raese owns 2 homes outside of WVA and his wife can't even vote for him. Also Manchin has taken the offensive attacking the Obama energy program which is very unpopular in the state. I agree it's close and dems aren't out of the woods yet in WVA, but if they win this race it is hard to see how the GOP wins the senate.

Mark said...

Well, it does seem like Manchin has stopped bleeding.

However, I am slightly concerned about this poll because it shows that African Americans seem very conservative: they split equally between Raese and Manchin; they prefer GOP to control Congress by greater margin than white voters; and they only approve Obama 35-60, just slightly better than whites. So, it seems a bit srange to me. I wonder how it compares with exit polls in 2008 or other polls. I wonder if Tom has any comment.

Jeff Jackie said...

What a joke those internals are Tom. If you think that the final breakdown of LVs is going to be a 22% split, you are drinking some strong KOS Kool Aid.

Remember folks, PPP works for the crazies over at KOS now. So take PPP with a grain of salt. It'd be like if Rasmussen partnered up with the free republic crowd. All credibility is lost.

Anonymous said...

From a 58-35 McCain to 50-39 one, that is a huge difference. I find it very hard to believe that the electorate will be more Dem-friendly this year than in 2008 when McCain won by 13 points. I'd have to think the breakdown will be somewhere in the middle. And the fact that Manchin is only ahead by 3 points in that type of electorate is definitely worrisome.

Shadrach said...

PPP has great accuracy, so attacking the poll is silly. It's clear that Manchin's work in the past few weeks is paying off and bringing more support for him into the fold. Plus, the hicky ad hasn't done the Republicans any favors and Manchin has called out Raese as an outsider.

Anonymous said...

There is no wave. There is no enthusiasm gap. Democrats will win all the tossup races. Democrats are surging nationally.

42% of this sample thinks national Democrats are just right or not liberal enough. An astonishing 61% of the sample is moderate or liberal(!!!) in one of the most conservative states in the nation. (For comparison, Illinois 63% moderate/liberal, North Carolina 55% moderate/liberal.

The sample voted 50-39 for McCain with 11% saying someone else / don't remember(!)

Chuck T said...

Jeff Jackie said...
What a joke those internals are Tom. If you think that the final breakdown of LVs is going to be a 22% split, you are drinking some strong KOS Kool Aid.

Remember folks, PPP works for the crazies over at KOS now. So take PPP with a grain of salt. It'd be like if Rasmussen partnered up with the free republic crowd. All credibility is lost.

Do you honestly think a pollster would put all credibility to risk just because they have a certain client? If they doctored polls to give D's a better advantage? then why would people hire them? Actually Rasmussen did work for crazies once--FOX News.

Ryan said...

This has an electorate that is more pro-Obama than 2008. Look at who they voted for in the cross-tabs. Looks like PPP carrying the kool-aid for the depressed Kos folks.

Anonymous said...

Joe Manchin is probably pleased with this new poll,but he suffers from the Rep.Alan Mollohan syndrome.

Manchin was like most West Virginia "career" politicians,they cannot lose a election. And since Alan Mollohan lost in the state primary election this caused great concern for Joe Manchin.

He knows attitudes has changed with the voters with "career" politicians and he must portray that he is a different "career" politician and does not agree with president Barack Obama, with most voters know that is a Joe Manchin campaign false statement !

Timothy said...

6-point swing. Wow...?

joel said...

Manchin needs to do everything but call Obama a Kenyan just so he gets elected. If democrats hold this seat the senate should be safe.
He has to run again in 2 years so democrats will have to tolerate him until he can get a full term and hopefully moderate.
I think the people realize they would be punishing themselves if they elect Raese.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Your last snapshot of this race had a sample that was 51D, 37R. This time, your sample was 55D, 33R. So there does not appear to have been any change in voter preferences; all that seems to have changed is the partisan make-up of the sample."

Yeah, Tom talked about that. But Manchin has closed a bit with independents, as mentioned in the press release.

"However, I am slightly concerned about this poll because it shows that African Americans seem very conservative: they split equally between Raese and Manchin; they prefer GOP to control Congress by greater margin than white voters; and they only approve Obama 35-60, just slightly better than whites. So, it seems a bit srange to me. I wonder how it compares with exit polls in 2008 or other polls. I wonder if Tom has any comment."

Blacks are only 9% of the electorate, for a MOE of about 9.3%, far higher than the overall 2.8%. Internals with small subsamples will be flukey. You can bet blacks are much more supportive of Obama and Manchin than the crosstabs here suggest. But we don't fudge the internals like that. We can't guess how how their support actually is. But if Manchin were to win just 80% of the black vote to Raese's 10%, and still won whites 48-45, he'd win 51-42, a 6-point shift. If all the undecideds moved to Raese, he'd still only get 49%, obviously.

"What a joke those internals are Tom. If you think that the final breakdown of LVs is going to be a 22% split, you are drinking some strong KOS Kool Aid."

You obviously know nothing about WV. As Tom highlighted, even in a year when McCain won the state by 13 points, 56% of the voters were Democrats. They're conservative "Southern" Democrats; the same thing is true in states like KY, TN, and NC--people are still registered as Democrats and vote for Democratic governors even if they vote Republican in federal races. In days not long ago, WV was a reliably blue state, going for Robert Byrd at the same time as it went for JFK, two very different Democrats but Democrats none the less. It hasn't gone for a Democrat for president since Clinton won it twice, but it also went for Dukakis in '88. In fact, between 1932 and 1996, the only times it went Republican were for Eisenhower in '56, Nixon in '72, and Reagan in the '84 landslide. And they still have two Democratic Senators and two out of three Democratic congressmen (though that may change this election).

"Remember folks, PPP works for the crazies over at KOS now. So take PPP with a grain of salt. It'd be like if Rasmussen partnered up with the free republic crowd. All credibility is lost."

Rasmussen did work for the Bush campaign, and Scott Rasmussen does do columns and punditry for Fox, National Review, etc.

Kos doesn't even dictate our methodology for the polls we do for them, let alone any of our other polls, which have proven more accurate than Rasmussen and just about any other pollsters in the last two cycles.

DBL said...

In 2006 Blacks were 1% of the WV electorate. In 2008 they were 3%. Your poll has them at 9%. The numbers are weird probably due to small sample called.

DBL said...

Dustin, West Virginia Democrats aren't like Democrats in North Carolina, although they are like Democrats in Kentucky. While some southern Democrats still vote Democratic they are fairly conservative on most issues. Eventually either they or their children will be Republican.

West Virginia Democrats are big government union types who vote Republican because they feel like the Democratic Party has stopped emphasizing the working man's issues for issues like abortion and global warming. Not only do they not have much in common with Northeast limosine liberals and resent when people in New York City tell them that they know better about issues like healthcare.

Anonymous said...

I am disturbed to think the people of WV would give Robert C Byrd's seat away to Rasae, when Joe Manchin has done so much for our state! We better vote for the right person this time and not by party! I am tired of people voting against their own best interests! They believe anything on those nasty ads instead of thinking and looking up the facts!

Anonymous said...

Well great. All the "Dem leaning" polls are showing Dems slightly ahead. And all the "Rep leaning" polls are showing the Republicans slightly ahead. Coincidence? HA.

Anonymous said...

" Dustin Ingalls said...
"Your last snapshot of this race had a sample that was 51D, 37R. This time, your sample was 55D, 33R. So there does not appear to have been any change in voter preferences; all that seems to have changed is the partisan make-up of the sample."

Yeah, Tom talked about that. But Manchin has closed a bit with independents, as mentioned in the press release."


Your LV model is now +8 more Democrat than the one before. It's a given that WV has a strong D self-ID, but it's entirely due to your LV screening that produced a partisan gap that suddenly widened from +14 to +22, a whopping 57% change in the gap. That sure as hell enough to create a 3 pt. lead for Manchin.

wt said...

Wait, did you poll the Mountain Party candidate, Jesse Johnson, this time?

This is just wishful thinking, but if Manchin keeps moving ever farther right, I wonder if the true blue Dems in WV will be tempted to vote for the Green Party affiliated Mountain Party.

Anonymous said...

I think you mislabeled "Other" as "African-American" in the report - the question doesn't match the responses. Also, are your party numbers registration? It looks like you're asking so that would be ID and not something you can compare to 2006 registration numbers...

Anonymous said...

It's bizarre to have a sample where only 50% claim to have voted for McCain when he got 56% - and 11% for other/don't know??!?

It's hard to defend Democrat turnout several points more favorable than 2008. If anything it'll be the opposite.

September poll:
McCain voters: Raese 70-18-12
Obama voters: Manchin 84-9-7
Don't recall: Manchin 49-32-18

October poll:
McCain voters: Raese 77-16-7
Obama voters: Manchin 87-9-4
Don't recall: Manchin 49-33-19

Looks like Manchin picked up a few straggling Obama undecideds while Raese continues to consolidate the McCain vote.

Anonymous said...

P.P.P. has produced some very reliable polls in past elections, such as the Special Election that elected Scott Brown. The problem I have with this poll, is that the sample assumes that the Democrat Base exceesds two unlikely assumptions. First, this sample assumes that the 2008 total sample of registered Democrats is above the 2008 presidential numbers that gave John McCain a 12.8% lead.

One could say "yeah but" that race was for a presidential election not a senate race, and West Virginia always votes Republican for president and Democrat for Senate.

Here is the flaw if one takes this line of reasoning in producing their confidence for this argument.

First, Obama is "the president" and this contradicts reasoning that says West Virginia votes for Republicans, yet wants a Democrat in the Senate who is almost certain to support an unpopular President in Obama.

Second, the electorate can not have changed much from just two years ago because their has been not enough time for new people moving "into" or "out of" the state. I personally think the middle moderate voters, are the ones who have strongly shifted in their opinion of Obama more negatively, which would argue a loss for any candidate who the electorate at large perceives will vote with Obama.

The second major problem I have with this sample, is that it assumes that not only is this larger than the total of Democrats that comprised the 2008 numbers, it also assumes that Democrats will make up 55% of all registered voters in 2010 and this is extremely unlikely for 3 reasons.

One, voters in all other polls show Democrats are "disillusioned" with how Obama has led the country and this is what we in polling call the enthusiasm gap.

Second, based on this polls numbers, it predicts Democrats are going to make up an even larger number of the electorate than in 2008 (this is what really makes me doubt this polls credibility.)

Finally, the third reason this polls sample seems so suspect, is because it assumes that Joe Manchin's ad and Obama's late rally of the Liberal Base has made them decide to get excited to the point that the Democrat base has increased by 4% since the last PPP poll just a few weeks ago.

If this were in fact true, it would mean that the increase of 4% since the last PPP poll, produces a little over 72,000 new Democrats to vote for Joe Machin, and eliminates the enthusiasm gap that is so hurting Democrats around the country this election cycle.

If anyone really believes this you are going to be very surprised on election night when the returns are reported.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"West Virginia Democrats are big government union types who vote Republican because they feel like the Democratic Party has stopped emphasizing the working man's issues for issues like abortion and global warming."

OK, but socially and economically, they're quite similar. They're blue-collar, largely rural and small-town, and socially conservative. If NC had a more industrial history and didn't have right-to-work laws, North Carolinians would be more pro-union too.

"Wait, did you poll the Mountain Party candidate, Jesse Johnson, this time?"

No, or we would have put it in this release.

"I think you mislabeled "Other" as "African-American" in the report - the question doesn't match the responses"

Yeah, good catch. We always ask white, African-American, and other (plus Hispanic first in states with significant Latino populations), and then sometimes lump in all the non-white respondents into one category after the poll is taken in very white states like WV.

"Also, are your party numbers registration?"

It's self-ID.

"not something you can compare to 2006 registration numbers..."

We weren't comparing anything to 2006. I might have forgotten, but was some other commenter?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"First, this sample assumes that the 2008 total sample of registered Democrats is above the 2008 presidential numbers that gave John McCain a 12.8% lead."

Huh? We don't assume anything about 2008.

"Second, the electorate can not have changed much from just two years ago because their has been not enough time for new people moving "into" or "out of" the state."

It's not a matter of population shifts. It's a matter of who's actually going to turn out and vote. In many states, and in WV previously, we've been seeing Republicans far more excited to vote than even in usual midterms, when they always have a turnout advantage anyway, and Democrats somewhat less so.

"I personally think the middle moderate voters, are the ones who have strongly shifted in their opinion of Obama more negatively, which would argue a loss for any candidate who the electorate at large perceives will vote with Obama."

Well, WV has turned against Obama sharply in two years, but Manchin is incredibly popular, so he's just slightly up because more Democrats are turning out than projected in the last poll, and because he's slightly overcoming the urge to vote against Obama with his own popularity.

"The second major problem I have with this sample, is that it assumes that not only is this larger than the total of Democrats that comprised the 2008 numbers"

It's not; they were 56% then, and 55% here.

"it also assumes that Democrats will make up 55% of all registered voters in 2010"

No, again, not registered voters, but LIKELY voters--the people who will likely actually vote.

"One, voters in all other polls show Democrats are "disillusioned" with how Obama has led the country and this is what we in polling call the enthusiasm gap."

"You" in polling? You don't know much for a supposed pollster.

Also, no, polls don't show that. Obama still has 80%+ job approval rating with Democrats in most states. There is depressed turnout, but part of it is that Obama's surge voters, blacks and young people particularly, are fine with the way things are going and are not enthused to turn out because they don't feel a sense of urgency. Angered voters are more likely to vote than satisfied or complacent ones. And that's why the real gist of the enthusiasm gap is not depressed Dem turnout but hugely intense Republicans making up more of the electorate. But, again, it's not uniform in every state. In Alaska, for instance, we're actually seeing a slightly pro-Dem enthusiasm gap without Palin on the ballot, and in CA and TX, we're seeing about a zero gap compared to 2008 because Democrats are turning out to help the governor's mansions switch parties.

DBL said...

If North Carolina had an industrial history and didn't have right-to-work laws the state would be called Rhode Island.

North Carolina was part of the Confederacy. Like other former Confederate states, North Carolina was largely Democratic. No Republican won Re-election to Congress between 1898 and 1954. The first Republican senator elected after that was a former Democrat. Many Democrats switched due to Johnson's civil rights' legislation and then with the rise of Christian conservatism 25 years later.

It was an agrarian state that has remade itself partially with numerous financial services companies and the research and development in the aptly named Research Triangle. Some of today's Democrats are in R & D and academia, different from old time Democrats.

West Virginia was founded because it didn't want to join the Confederacy. The state is industrial but its true riches are the natural resources it has like coal. This is a lunch pail state that doesn't have major private universities like North Carolina.

West Virginia had a long period of Republicans in charge until the 1930s, but it'll always be working class. That used to be the core constituency of the Democratic Party. While North Carolina might continue to become more Republican, West Virginia won't. Some of their Democrats will continue to look like Republicans. This is the state where a congressman lost a Democratic primary from the right! Could that happen in North Carolina?

Capitalist Infidel said...

You poll a whopping 57% more democrats than the last poll and you could only come up with a 3 point lead for the dem? Bwahahahaha!!! I wonder if your next "poll" will be 100% democrats what do you think the spread would be then, 6 points? With that kind of blatant fraud I expect Raese to win by double digits

Dustin Ingalls said...

"While North Carolina might continue to become more Republican"

The old Southern Dems are becoming Republicans as generations pass, but the state itself, as the Triangle and Charlotte metor areas grow, is becoming more modern Dem. And there are still a lot of older Dems who remain Dems, even self-ID'd Dems, but will vote for Burr, Bush, McCain, etc.

Good assessment, and I can't say I disagree with most of it, but there are similarities between the guys who supported Robert Byrd and Jesse Helms, who once upon a time, had more common ground than most Democrats and Republicans would today.

"This is the state where a congressman lost a Democratic primary from the right! Could that happen in North Carolina?"

Ha, no, not likely. The disgruntlement in the base here tends to be much like in other parts of the country--their Dems are too Blue Dog. Kissell and Shuler got some backlash for voting against health care; McIntyre less so because I guess it's just expected he votes against his party on several big pieces of legislation a year, as he's been doing for years. Kissell and Shuler were elected in the Dem waves of '08 and '06, respectively, with a lot of progressives support, so there's more hope and expectation that they'll do the "right thing."

"You poll a whopping 57% more democrats than the last poll"

I'm not sure how you're doing your math, but going from 51% Dems to 55% is an increase of less than 8%.

Jonathan said...

WV exit polls:

In 2008, the party spread was D: 48, I: 19, R: 34.

In 2006, it was: D: 51, I: 16, R: 32.

The PPP numbers in West Virginia now show a partisan spread of D: 55, I: 12, R: 32.

Is the electorate really going to be more Democratic in 2010 than it was in 2008 or 2006? Seems unlikely.

Anonymous said...

See article in Charleston Gazette by Mr. Kincaid
"October 8, 2010
Bob Kincaid: Jesse Johnson gets my vote
By
Advertiser
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Some wit, wag or psychologist once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result." If true, then most of the minority of West Virginians who bother to vote at all should probably be doing so in straight-jackets.

Democrat or Republican, liberal or fundamentalist, we go to the polls to return slates of candidates no more likely to do our bidding than the average Poland China hog is to take wing and soar majestically over the blasted remains of our mountains.


The necessity to vote imbued in me by those who have died for the right to do so faces its toughest challenge yet in this election season.


In the contest between Joe Manchin and John Raese, I'm faced with choosing as a replacement for the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., either a man who despises the very idea of every American having access to health care or a man who privatized our Workers Comp system; between a man who admits he's not like us (Raese: "I earned my money the old-fashioned way: I inherited it") and a man (Manchin) whose unvarnished, quivering ambition put a political sock-puppet in Sen. Byrd's chair pending a riotously expensive, ego-driven special election; between a pair of Wall Street blue-bloods; between two men whose greatest challenge is winning the race (one in which we have no vote) to kiss the naked, wriggling toe of an out-of-state industry bent on the destruction of our homes and communities.


Where mountaintop removal, the greatest single issue facing West Virginia, is concerned, there is absolutely NO difference between Mr. Manchin and Mr. Raese. Neither can see our hills and hollers demolished quickly enough to suit either them or their out-of-state (and, in some cases, out-of-country) owners.


That creates a genuine conundrum for the people in this state (a majority) who recognize how wrong it is to destroy our children's patrimony, leaving them billion-gallon seas of toxic waste, heavy metals in their drinking water and cancer in their futures. Isn't it interesting, given that reality, that both candidates call themselves "pro-Life?"


Many general elections leave us with a Hobson's choice ("You may have either the horse by the door or no horse at all"), but Nov. 2nd's plebiscite is the sorriest example ever I have seen. It grieves me to be presented with such miserable alternatives in our Senate race.


In neither the Democrat nor Republican ballot position is there so much as the whiff of greatness, of dedication to service, even a faint comprehension of the Senate as anything but a vehicle for personal aggrandizement. Neither Mr. Raese nor Mr. Manchin is fit to carry the many tomes authored by Sen. Byrd, let alone don his mantle. It is sad that both parties have reached such a nadir.


I can no longer abide the notion of enabling such grasping, grubbing mediocrity. Casting a vote for either Mr. Raese or Mr. Manchin would be a confession to my children that there is nothing left of this state's civic heritage but the hollow thump of dirty politics. My vote will be a plain rejection of their hateful advertising and an unadorned disavowal of their politics of poison.


My vote will be for the Mountain Party. My vote will be for Jesse Johnson.


Kincaid, a ninth-generation Appalachian, is a broadcaster, writer and activist in Fayette County"

al Pippin said...

WOW - the Senatorial race in West Virginia has certainly gotten an awful lot of attention and comments.

In most cases I find myself refuting much of what PPP is reporting - both in polling numbers and commentary. This will be one of few times that I won't.

Though the many polls read out there (and I've read many) are providing differing numbers on this race - some favoring Manchin and others Raese. There also exists a good many relative factors, individually supporting the logical and varying reason(s) supporting evidence why each candidate should ultimately win in November.

This race, in my opinion, will go right down to the wire - no doubt about it. The next couple of weeks will be most critical for both candidates. We'll all have to just have to wait an see as to who will ultimately wins.

 
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