PARKERSBURG - A new post-primary poll released Monday shows Republican John Raese narrowing the gap with Gov. Joe Manchin.
Rasmussen Reports said Manchin was favored by 48 percent of respondents compared to Raese's 42 percent.
Manchin and Raese are running for the unexpired term for the U.S. Senate, a vacancy created when Robert C. Byrd died in June.
A Rasmussen poll earlier this year said Manchin was favored by 51 percent of respondents to Raese's 35 percent.
The poll released Monday also said 4 percent supported another candidate and 7 percent were undecided. A third candidate, Jess Johnson of the Mountain Party, is also on the ballot in the Nov. 2 special general election.
The results of the poll puts West Virginia in the leans democratic category in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power Rankings. The state previously was in the solid democratic category.
"We knew this race would tighten up," said Jim Dornan, Raese campaign manager.
Manchin still has an approval rating of 70 percent as governor (36 percent who strongly approve and 34 percent who somewhat approve.)
"However, there's a gap in support for the governor's Senate run between those who strongly approve of his performance and those who somewhat approve," the poll said. "While Manchin holds a dominant lead among voters who strongly approve of his performance as governor, the race is a virtual tie among those who somewhat approve of Manchin's job."
The poll in an explanation of the difference said among those who somewhat approve of Manchin's performance, 64 percent strongly disapprove of President Obama's performance.
Other poll results:
* 70 percent of voters in West Virginia disapprove of Obama's performance.
* 65 percent rate the economy has poor.
* Manchin leads Raese three-to-one among voters who believe the economy is doing better and Raese has a 14-point lead in the group that believes the economy is worsening.
* 69 percent oppose the provision in the health care plan that everyone must buy or obtain health insurance.
* 40 percent believe Manchin is somewhat politically conservative; 36 percent consider him moderate; 20 percent say he's liberal.
* 60 percent believe Raese is conservative, 16 percent say he's moderate.
* 65 percent believe Manchin's views are mainstream and 17 say they are extreme. 18 percent are undecided.
* 46 percent believe Raese is mainstream, 32 believe his views are extreme and 22 said they didn't know.
* 37 percent view Manchin very favorable and 10 percent very unfavorable.
* 23 percent view Raese very favorable, 16 percent very unfavorable.
The poll was taken on Sunday and questioned 500 likely voters with a margin of error is 4.5 percent? The number of people with strong opinions are more significant than the total favorable or unfavorable numbers, Rasmussen said.