PARKERSBURG - Rep. Shelley Capito leads any Democrat in statewide office for governor if the election was today, a recent MindField Poll done by R.L. Repass and Partners of Charleston says.
The survey taken Aug. 6 indicates no other Democrat in West Virginia has the same popularity as Gov. Joe Manchin in a gubernatorial race against Capito including Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, who becomes acting governor if Manchin is elected senator in the special election to replace the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.
The poll also said Manchin would dust off Republican John Raese for the Senate should they win their party's nomination in the Aug. 28 special primary and progress to the special general election in November.
Capito, the daughter of former Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr., has not committed to any race in the 2012 elections.
"It's very encouraging," said Kent Gates, spokesman for Capito's congressional campaign. Capito has been in the House of Representatives since
The poll questioned respondents in gubernatorial election scenarios between Capito and Tomblin, House Speaker Rick Thompson, Treasurer John Perdue and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, and between former Republican Secretary of State Betty Ireland against Tomblin, Thompson, Tennant and Perdue. Tennant came the closest to Capito, 3 points, but Ireland would lose to all four, some worse than others, the poll said.
"The poll clearly shows the congresswoman would do well for any statewide office," Gates said.
The results were: Tomblin v. Capito, 29 percent Tomblin, 43 percent Capito, 28 percent unsure, Thompson v. Capito, 29 percent Thompson, 44 percent Capito, 27 percent unsure; Perdue v. Capito, 32 percent Perdue, 44 percent Capito, 24 percent unsure; Tennant v. Capito, 37 percent Tennant, 40 percent Capito, 23 percent unsure; Tomblin v. Ireland, 34 percent Tomblin, 26 percent Ireland, 40 percent unsure; Thompson v. Ireland, 32 percent Thompson, 28 percent Ireland, 40 percent unsure; Perdue v. Ireland, 37 percent Perdue, 27 percent Ireland, 36 percent unsure; Tennant v. Ireland, 44 percent Tennant, 24 percent Ireland, 32 percent unsure.
According to the poll, Manchin, whose approval rating is 65 percent, leads Raese, the head of Greer Industries in Morgantown, by 22 points. The governor was supported by 54 percent of respondents to Raese's 32 percent while 14 percent were undecided.
"The data suggests he will be hard to beat, but given the unease among voters this year, Mr. Raese has a fighting chance if he can connect with voters and if West Virginians truly want different leadership in the Senate," said Rex Repass, president of the research firm. "As expected, Mr. Raese has a strong lead among Republicans, but Gov. Manchin's approval ratings are high and he is in a positive position with independent voters."
Manchin Thursday didn't attend a forum in Martinsburg for Senate candidates because of a scheduling conflict with Governor's Day at the West Virginia State Fair, said Sara Payne Scarbro, Manchin campaign spokesman.
He didn't attend the candidates forum in Parkersburg on Aug. 9 also because of a scheduling conflict, she said.