New voter poll shows incumbents Rahall, Manchin, Capito with str - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

New voter poll shows incumbents Rahall, Manchin, Capito with strong ratings

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Mark Blankenship Enterprises LLC released a new voter opinion poll Feb. 11 that starts to analyze West Virginia voters' early opinions about the potential match-ups for the 2014 U.S. Senate election.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced in November that she would run for Senate, and in early January, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced that he would not seek re-election.

According to the MBE poll, a 37 percent plurality of Democratic primary voters indicated that they would vote for incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., in a primary election for the seat in a race that includes current Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis, who received 16 percent of the poll sample. Former U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin, who was appointed to the seat immediately following the 2010 death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, received 6 percent of the poll, and attorney Ralph Baxter received 2 percent of the poll.

However, more than one-third of Democratic primary voters are undecided about a potential Democratic primary election, according to the poll.

MBE conducted a survey of 600 registered West Virginia voters through telephone interviews from Feb. 3-5 to both landline phone numbers and high-use cell phone lines. The average interview lasted 12 minutes. The survey has a 95 percent level of confidence.

The survey found that U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., had the highest job approval among all West Virginia voters, at 70 percent of the poll, and 64 percent said they approve of the job Capito is doing.

"At this early stage in the political cycle, and before any candidacy has been officially announced, Congressman Rahall enjoys a significant advantage," MBE CEO Mark Blankenship said in a news release. "Right now, there is Congressman Rahall in the Democratic field, and there's everyone else.

"His numbers across all three of West Virginia's congressional districts further underscore his early strength."

Blankenship said the poll numbers are interesting because both Manchin and Capito generate high approval ratings across party lines.

"Senator Manchin's approval rating among Republican voters is 60 percent, and Congresswoman Capito's approval rating among Democrats is 54 percent – something that has held fairly consistent during the last several years."

The poll also asked respondents about a few federal issues. When it comes to gun control, 56 percent of those surveyed said Rockefeller and Manchin should vote against President Barack Obama's gun control proposals, and 55 percent of those polled said the two senators should vote against Obama's proposals to increase taxes on energy companies based in the United States.

And 92 percent of those polled said jobs and the economy are "very important," but education came in as a close second, with 85 percent of those polled saying the issue was "very important."