Manchin leads Republican challengers by double-digits in new poll

Manchin leads Republican challengers by double-digits in new poll

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination The Memo: Kavanaugh firestorm consumes political world MORE (D) holds a double-digit lead over his top Republican opponents, with the Democrat boasting high favorables even as his state tilts right. 

Republicans see Manchin as a top target in the 2018 midterm elections, pointing to President Trump's 42-point margin of victory in the state last year as proof that the seat is ready to flip. 

But a new poll released Friday by West Virginia MetroNews Network finds Manchin comfortably ahead of hypothetical match-ups with his two most likely primary challengers, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).

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Jenkins trails Manchin by 10 points in the polling, while Morrisey sits 14 points behind the Democratic senator. In each hypothetical matchup, 11 percent of likely voters sat undecided.

It's the second dose of good news for Manchin out of the MetroNews poll. Thursday's release scored his favorability rating at 51 percent, a number higher than both President Trump and Gov. Jim Justice, who recently switched parties to join the Republicans.  

Manchin has a primary challenge from environmental activist Paula Jean Swearengin, but he's expected to easily win the primary.

In the GOP primary, Jenkins and Morrisey are locked in a brutal primary for the right to take on Manchin.  

The new polling also helped to reinforce some of the race's key issues — the respondents said that they believe healthcare, natural resource development and construction will spur the most job growth in the state over the next decade. 

The Republican candidates are already linking Manchin to former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFord taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE's environmental regulations, which they believe were unfairly burdensome. Manchin has tried to walk a fine line between his party's broader policies and his more moderate views.