Poll: Tennant leads Democratic field for W.Va. Senate

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The survey, from pollster and Republican strategist Mark Blankenship, give Tennant 40 percent support in the Democratic field, leading state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis by 28 percentage points. Attorneys Nick Preservati and Ralph Baxter both receive only one percent support.

Capito topples Davis by 19 percent, with more than 50 percent support, while 18 percent said they were undecided.

But Capito's job approval is now at 54 percent, a decline since Blankenship's February poll of the race, when 63 percent of those polled approved of the job she's doing in Congress. Overall, 28 percent disapprove of Capito's job performance, and 17 percent still don't know enough about her to decide.

It's unclear what bloc of voters is shifting, or whether this reflects undecided voters becoming more familiar with her as she establishes her campaign. 

Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) job approval has declined seven percentage points since a March poll, possibly an indication his work stewarding a failed gun control bill through the Senate hurt him in his home state. He still maintains 63 percent job approval, however.

With no Democrat yet to announce a run for retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat, Capito has time to improve her standing among West Virginia voters. And her early start in the race — she announced last year — has given her time to establish a substantial fundraising lead.

The survey was conducted among 406 West Virginia voters from May 1-2 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.87 percentage points.