West Virginia Senate
2018 General Election Poll
November 16-17, 2016

Electoral Environment

Generic Ballot

A Republican candidate has a solid 8% lead over a Democratic candidate on the generic ballot for United States Senate in West Virginia (46-38%). Republicans are substantially more supportive of their party’s candidate (86% Republican) than Democrats (67% Democrat-19% Republican). Independents would generally rather vote for a Republican (45-19%, 20% someone else), while self-identified Moderate voters choose a Democrat (18-68%). A generic Republican leads among both women (44-41%) and men (49-35%). Considering the three largest media markets in the state, a majority of likely voters in Clarksburg-Weston choose a Republican (53-29%) while the generic ballot is essentially tied in Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill (44-45%) and Charleston-Huntington (41-42%).

Q: In an election for United States Senate, would you generally prefer to vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?

Trump Image

President-elect Donald Trump has an impressive 65% favorability rating among likely 2018 voters in West Virginia (65% favorable/32% unfavorable). This includes a near-majority of voters who have a very favorable view of him (49%). Trump’s image is a solid positive with both women (59%/39%) and men (71%/25%). His favorability number improves in both the Bluefield media market (71%) and Clarksburg market (71%) and lowers only slightly in the Charleston-Huntington market (61%).

Sitting Senators

Republican Shelley Moore Capito (63%/31%) also has a very strong image, reaching about the same level of favorability as the President-Elect. The incumbent Republican is well-liked in the three largest media markets of the state (Bluefield: 67%/25%, Charleston-Huntington: 67%/30%, Clarksburg: 65%/33%). Democrat Joe Manchin is also viewed favorably by a majority of West Virginia voters (56%/42%). However, Manchin has a somewhat weaker image than Capito due to her relative strength with Democrats (48%/47%) compared to his -9% rating with Republicans (45%/54%). 

Looking Ahead to 2018

Potential Candidate Images

Congressmen Evan Jenkins and David McKinley have the strongest favorable-to-unfavorable ratings of the leading Republicans in the state. They also have comparable images across demographics. Patrick Morrisey has higher name identification than either of the two Congressmen. However, he faces an elevated unfavorable number, resulting in part from a weaker image with Moderates. Morrisey does have a better favorability rating and higher awareness than McKinley and Jenkins among Very Conservative voters. Please see Table 1 below for a further breakdown and comparison of the potential candidate images by various demographics. 

 Table 1- 2018 Potential Senate Candidate Image Comparisons

Q: Now, I am going to read you a list of names of people in the news. Please indicate whether you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each.

Ranked by Favorable-to-Unfavorable Margin, All Demographic Numbers are Favorable-Unfavorable Margin

Hypothetical Ballot Tests, vs. Manchin

All four Republicans start with a deficit to Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin. Evan Jenkins trails Manchin by 12%, David McKinley by 20%, Patrick Morrisey by 23% and Alex Mooney by 30%. Jenkins, McKinley and Morrisey all have solid advantages over Manchin among Very Conservative voters. Jenkins leads with Somewhat Conservatives while the other potential Republican challengers trail. Evan Jenkins leads in his home Congressional District by 1% but trails Manchin by double digits in the other districts. McKinley follows a similar pattern, tying Manchin in his district, but trailing in the others. Please see Table 2 below for a further breakdown and comparison of the potential candidate performances by various demographics.

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Joe Manchin OR Republican Evan Jenkins?

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Joe Manchin OR Republican Patrick Morrisey?

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Joe Manchin OR Republican David McKinley?

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Joe Manchin OR Republican Alex Mooney?

Table 2- 2018 Hypothetical Ballots vs. MANCHIN

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Joe Manchin OR Republican _______?

Ranked by Margin, All Demographics are Margin vs. Manchin

Hypothetical Ballot Tests, vs. Goodwin

Three of the four Republicans tested lead Democrat Carte Goodwin in hypothetical match-ups for U.S. Senate. Jenkins, McKinley and Morrisey all earn a majority of the vote among Very Conservatives and Somewhat Conservatives against Goodwin. Please see Table 3 below for a further breakdown and comparison of the potential candidate performances by various demographics. 

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Carte Goodwin OR Republican Evan Jenkins?

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Carte Goodwin OR Republican Patrick Morrisey?

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Carte Goodwin OR Republican David McKinley?

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Carte Goodwin OR Republican Alex Mooney?

Table 3- 2018 Hypothetical Ballots vs. GOODWIN

Q: If the election for United States Senate were held today, who would you vote for: Democrat Carte Goodwin OR Republican _______?

Ranked by Margin, All Demographics are Margin vs. Goodwin

Results & Methodology

METHODOLOGY:
The sample size for the survey is 500 likely voters in West Virginia and the margin of error is +/-4.38%. Responses were gathered via landline interviews conducted with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. The survey was conducted November 16-17, 2016 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

For Primary Results, go here.

Harper Polling