According to a new Rasmussen poll, conservative Republican John Raese has pulled within 6 points of Democrat Governor Joe Manchin in West Virginia. Manchin now leads Raese 48%-42%, sharply lower than his 51%-35% lead just one month ago.
Also, this poll provides us with even better news. Obama has a 70% disapproval rating in the Mountain State! This is very significant because Manchin is trying to sell himself as a conservative Democrats in order to pander to his constituents. In a normal year, Manchin would probably be successful. (See our article on the successful dog and pony show of the blue dogs here.) However, this poll provides us with more solid evidence that the dog and pony show is over. Obama, with his 70% disapproval rating in WV, will make it all but impossible for Manchin to run as a Democrat, while successfully feigning to be culturally conservative.
I found it amusing how all of the political pundits wrote off this Senate race as a solid Democrat retention. They don't realize how profoundly different this election cycle is from all others. Just because the Republican challenger is not competitive from day one, doesn't mean that he won't ultimately make it a race. Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Washington are definitely proof of this. Keep in mind that Raese is still largely unknown throughout most of the state and he is only 6% behind the sitting governor, who has 100% name ID and an enviable approval rating. This will change quickly as West Virgina is a cheap advertising market and Raese can at least partially self-fund. John Raese is a solid red meat conservative on every economic and social issue. He came within a few thousand votes of knocking off Senator Jay Rockeffeller in 1984.
This race is just beginning and I believe we will win it. Everyone thought that RINO Congresswomen Shelly Moore Capito was our only hope of flipping this seat. They were wrong. Raese actually has a better chance of winning against Manchin, and it is clear that his voting record will be superior to Capito's dismal performance. This increases the number of Democrat seats in play to 13. That means that we no longer need to run the table in order to reclaim control of the Senate. A different sort of election year indeed!
Cross-posted to Red Meat Conservative