West Virginia Governor Poll
General Election
April 9-11, 2015

In a series of hypothetical West Virginia Governor General election match-ups, our survey found Senator Joe Manchin leading all three potential Republican nominees. 

Electoral Environment

Almost two-thirds of West Virginia voters say things in West Virginia are on the wrong track (64%). On the generic gubernatorial ballot, a generic Democrat has a narrow one-point lead over a Republican (43-42%). A Republican leads in the Bluefield media market (45-43%), a Democrat leads in Clarksburg (46-36%) and they are tied in Charleston (42%). A Republican earns stronger party support (79% of Republicans) than a Democrat (72% of Democrats). A Republican also leads on the generic ballot among Independents (32-29%).

Q: Would you say that things in West Virginia are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

Q: In an election for Governor of West Virginia, would you generally prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

Candidate Images

Early in the race, all of the potential gubernatorial candidates have positive images statewide. Senator Manchin has the strongest image, reaching 62% favorable. Republicans David McKinley (40% favorable, 31% unfavorable) and Patrick Morrisey (46% favorable, 32% unfavorable) are the only other candidates to reach 40% favorable. These three candidates are also the candidates with the highest hard name identification, the driving factor behind image ratings at this early stage.

General Election Ballots

Manchin Ballots

Senator Manchin leads all three potential Republican nominees by significant margins. David McKinley trails Manchin by the smallest margin of the three, at -17% (35-52%). He garners stronger support from Republicans than Cole and Morrisey, and thus is able to narrow the gap. He leads Manchin 60-30% among Republicans, while Manchin leads McKinley 70-18% among Democrats.  

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: David McKinley, Republican or Joe Manchin, Democrat?

Manchin leads State Senate President Bill Cole 54-32%. Cole’s lack of hard name identification (image: 34% favorable, 30% unfavorable, 37% not sure) is a factor in this deficit. Cole does receive support from a majority of Republicans (leads Manchin 54-31%) but Manchin leads among Democrats 74-16%.

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Bill Cole, Republican or Joe Manchin, Democrat?

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey faces the steepest deficit (-29%), largely due to lack of Republican support (only leads Manchin 47-38% among Republicans). 

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Patrick Morrisey, Republican or Joe Manchin, Democrat? 

If no Manchin, GOP Holds the Advantage

On the remaining ballots, all three Republicans either tie or lead the other two potential Democratic nominees, Jeff Kessler and Booth Goodwin. Goodwin seems to be slightly more of a threat to the Republican candidates, trailing Cole by 2%, McKinley by 5% and pulling even with Morrisey. In comparison, Kessler trails Cole by 4%, McKinley by 10% and Morrisey by 3%. 

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Bill Cole, Republican or Booth Goodwin, Democrat?

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Bill Cole, Republican or Jeff Kessler, Democrat?

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: David McKinley, Republican or Booth Goodwin, Democrat?

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: David McKinley, Republican or Jeff Kessler, Democrat?

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Patrick Morrisey, Republican or Booth Goodwin, Democrat?

Q: If the election for Governor were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Patrick Morrisey, Republican or Jeff Kessler, Democrat?

METHODOLOGY:
The sample size for the survey is 702 likely voters in West Virginia and the margin of error is 
+/- 3.7%. Reponses were gathered through land line interviews conducted using Interactive Voice Response (IVR).  The survey was conducted April 9-11, 2015 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Harper Polling