Poll: Manchin leads challenger in special Senate election

The first poll out in the special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) shows Gov. Joe Manchin (D) with a solid lead. 

A Rasmussen poll released Friday has Manchin up 51 percent to 35 percent over Republican businessman John Raese. Five percent of likely voters said they prefer a different candidate and 9 percent remain undecided.  

Raese is one of five Republicans who filed to run, but he is widely considered the leading candidate to face Manchin. Raese ran and lost to Sen. Byrd in 2006. A primary will take place August 28.

The survey polled 500 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points.

Manchin's approval rating is still sky high. The poll found 71 percent of likely voters approve of the job Manchin is doing, while just 28 percent disapprove.