Tighter Senate Race In West Virginia After Kavanaugh Vote

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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A poll taken immediately after the Senate voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court indicates a more competitive election for West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Manchin leads West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, by one point in the state’s U.S. Senate election, according to a survey released Wednesday by Public Opinion Strategies. The GOP contender polled at 40 percent to Manchin’s 41 percent.

The numbers indicate a quickly tightening race in the West Virginia election, where national Republicans believe the deep red state is a ripe pickup opportunity this November. President Donald Trump won West Virginia by an astounding 42-point margin in 2016, giving the GOP reason to feel bullish this midterm season.

“As West Virginia voters learn more about Joe Manchin’s record of being a dishonest Washington liberal who stood with Obama for gun control, and supported Hillary Clinton for President, they know he can’t be trusted,” Nathan Brand, a Morrisey spokesman, said in a statement. “This race will come down to who voters trust to stand with President Trump, and the choice is clear: Morrisey is the Trump endorsed candidate while Joe Manchin is one more vote for Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s resist and obstruct circus.”

Earlier polls showed a better environment for Manchin. In a Tarrance Group survey conducted from Sept. 23-25, the Democrat led Morrisey 47 to 43 percent. An internal survey by Manchin’s team on Sept. 19-23 showed him leading by 12 points. (RELATED: Manchin, Heitkamp Have A Lot To Lose By Opposing Kavanaugh, Poll Shows)

Many pundits believe the contentious battle over Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court has hurt Democrats — Manchin included. He was the only Democrat to buck his party and vote in support of Kavanaugh. However, he only did so after the Supreme Court nominee obtained enough votes from GOP senators — a move Morrisey called a “craven political calculation.”

The latest poll by Public Opinion Strategies questioned 600 likely voters, with 40 percent of interviews taking place over cellphone. The survey, conducted from Oct. 7-9, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Manchin’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication.

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