By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023
SenateWest Virginia: Poll: Justice Still Leading Manchin — Research America conducted a survey for MetroNews West Virginia that was presented at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce meeting (Aug. 16-26; 402 registered West Virginia voters; oversample of 337 likely Republican primary voters; live interview) just before the Labor Day break commenced.
The results again find Gov. Jim Justice (R) holding a healthy lead over incumbent Joe Manchin (D) in the Senate ballot test. A majority of 51 percent favors Gov. Justice versus just 38 percent who would vote to re-elect Sen. Manchin. If, however, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) were to defeat the governor in the Republican Senate primary, he would trail Sen. Manchin 45-41 percent in their hypothetical general election pairing.
In the Republican primary, though from a small polling sample (337 respondents), Gov. Justice would hold a substantial 58-26 percent advantage over Congressman Mooney.
The West Virginia Senate race continues to be the top Republican conversion target in the country. Though Sen. Manchin’s approval rating in the state has improved to 51:34 percent favorable to unfavorable according to this survey, a plurality of 40 percent would still like to see him retire as compared to 36 percent who believe he should run for re-election. A total of 24 percent said they feel he should run as a minor party candidate for president.
Florida Redistricting: Local Circuit Judge Strikes Down Cong Map — The Sunshine State congressional plan that elected 20 Republicans and only eight Democrats in 2022 has been declared unconstitutional. A Lee County state judge rendered the ruling, tying the map to the recently decided US Supreme Court decision pertaining to the Alabama racial gerrymandering case.
The crux of the disqualification was the elimination of then-Rep. Al Lawson’s (D-Tallahassee) 5th District that stretched all the way from Tallahassee to Jacksonville in order to create a majority minority district. The Republicans, citing the communities of interest argument changed the north Florida configuration into a more compact draw.
The state will likely appeal this ruling. Doing so will mean the final decision on this issue will eventually lie with the Florida Supreme Court justices. Whether a new map will be drawn before the 2024 election is unclear at this point.
Guiding the decision through the state’s appellate system may require a longer period than what remains in the current election cycle, even when considering Florida’s late primary (Aug. 20, 2024) and candidate filing deadline (April 26, 2024).
Mississippi: Gov. Reeves Rebounds in New Poll — Last week, we reported upon an Impact Research poll conducted for Democrat Brandon Presley’s gubernatorial campaign, which projected that he and Gov. Tate Reeves (R) have fallen into a 46-46 percent tie. Expected was a quick counter poll, and now we have seen such a survey. Siena College, polling for the Mississippi Today news site (Aug. 20-28; 650 likely Mississippi voters; live interview), reported their finding and, contrary to the Impact Research data, suggests that Gov. Reeves holds a 52-41 percent lead over Presley. The Mississippi gubernatorial election is scheduled for Nov. 7.
West Virginia: Poll: Capito Leading GOP Primary — The Research America survey for MetroNews West Virginia that posted Gov. Jim Justice (R) to a 51-38 percent advantage over Sen. Joe Manchin (D), also tested the open Republican gubernatorial primary. Gov. Justice is ineligible to seek a third term in his current position.
The Research America results are very different from a National Research survey conducted back in early March. At that time, the NR data found Attorney General Patrick Morrisey leading the Republican field with 28 percent support. State Delegate Moore Capito (R-Charleston), the son of US Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R), was second with 15 percent.
The new data finds the candidates transposed into an inverted order. Capito has now assumed the lead with 32 percent backing while AG Morrisey has slipped to 23 percent. No other contender even reaches the 10 percent threshold. The West Virginia primary is slated for May 14, 2024.