May 12, 2018

Midterm watch: Manchin falls behind GOP challenger

GOP candidate Patrick Morrisey (L) and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (R). Photos: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call; Drew Angerer via Getty Images

After Tuesday's West Virginia primary, red-state Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is now trailing Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey by two points in his re-election race, according to a new poll conducted by WPA intelligence.

Why it matters: That's within the margin of error, but the poll is a sign that the GOP has improved its chances of defeating Manchin since Don Blankenship lost the primary this week. Manchin is in an especially vulnerable position given that President Trump won West Virginia by 42 points 2016.

Meanwhile, several Republican leaders and outside groups are looking to West Virginia as a sign of what to expect in places where red-state Democrats face similar struggles.

By the numbers:

  • 46% of West Virginia voters surveyed said they would vote for Morrisey in the November general election, while 44% said they would vote for Manchin. 11% were undecided.
  • 51% said it was “time for a new person to be in the U.S. Senate," 37% said Manchin "deserves reelection," and 13% refused to answer.
  • Among undecided voters, 59% have an unfavorable view of Manchin, while 30% have a favorable view.

Methodology: WPA conducted the study in West Virginia on May 10 among 400 likely voters. The margin of error is 4.9 percent.

Go deeper: Takeaways from the Tuesday night primaries

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