Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) is in trouble in a potential matchup against his newly declared opponent, West Virginia governor Jim Justice (R.), a new poll suggests.
Justice has the support of 43 percent of likely general election voters to Manchin’s 29 percent, according to a poll conducted last week by National Journal. Twenty-eight percent of those polled said they are undecided. The poll's release comes a week after Justice, a former Democrat, announced his candidacy. He is widely seen as the strongest challenger to Manchin.
A Morning Consult poll last month found Justice has more support among Democrats in West Virginia than Manchin. Justice’s overall approval rating in the state is at 66 percent, while Manchin is at just 38 percent.
Justice doesn’t look likely to lose his primary either, despite being relatively new to the Republican Party. Forty-five percent of likely Republican voters said they back Justice, compared with 17 percent who support Rep. Alex Mooney. Thirty-eight percent remain undecided. Justice first ran for governor as a Democrat and beat his Republican opponent in 2016. He then announced his party switch at a rally with then-president Donald Trump in 2017.
Manchin's poor polling may explain why he's changed his tone on issues. He’s positioning himself as an opponent of President Joe Biden’s high spending—despite putting together Biden's trillion-dollar Inflation Reduction Act. The Democrat helped negotiate its terms last summer and is considered the bill’s "chief architect."
Manchin attacked Biden for trying to "liberalize" the act, which spends billions on climate-related issues. Just two months ago, the senator said he did not regret voting for it "at all."