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Manchin Leads Potential Challengers in Poll

Newly minted Sen. Joe Manchin is still popular in his home state, the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling found. 

The West Virginia Democrat, a former governor, was elected to finish the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D) last year. In that race he defeated Republican businessman John Raese, 53 percent to 43 percent. He’ll run for a full term in 2012, and the poll found he’d beat the obvious potential Republican candidates if the election happened now.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito would be the best Republican candidate, the poll found. In a head-to-head matchup, the six-term Congresswoman finished 9 points behind Manchin. Against Raese, Manchin would win by 29 points. He’d also defeat freshman Rep. David McKinley (R) by 29 points.

Despite a few bobbles since he took office, Manchin is still popular. The poll found he had a job-approval rating of 52 percent and a disapproval rating of 32 percent. It also found he would cut significantly into Republican and independent support for his opponents. He has survived rumors that he would switch parties, a couple of missed votes on immigration and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and criticism for his efforts to repeal part of the health care law.

PPP surveyed 1,105 West Virginia voters Jan. 20-23. The poll had a margin of error of 2.9 points.

Roll Call Politics rates this race a Tossup.

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