-Joe Manchin might be one of the most popular Senators in the country, but his senior colleague Jay Rockefeller doesn't have nearly his level of support with West Virginia voters. Rockefeller's approval rating is 45%, with 42% of voters disapproving of him. Out of 87 current Senators PPP's done polls on that puts him in a tie for 60th in popularity.
Manchin and Rockefeller have pretty identical numbers with Democrats. But Rockefeller (16/73) doesn't have anywhere near as much crossover support from Republicans as Manchin (46/36). And Rockefeller lags with independents (41/53), compared to Manchin (55/28) as well.
If Republicans want to pick up a Senate seat in West Virginia it looks like they'll have a much better chance in 2014, whether Rockefeller runs again or not, than they have next year.
-A lot of the country is moving toward support for gay marriage, or at least civil unions, but not West Virginia. Only 19% of voters think gay marriage should be legal compared to 71% who think it should be illegal. Even among Democrats there's just 26% support to 61% opposed.
When you expand the discussion to civil unions 54% of voters are still against any form of legal recognition for same sex couples. The 43% who do support giving gays more rights break down 17% for whom marriage is their first choice and 26% who prefer civil unions. This is another state where independent voters (60/39) are actually more strongly in favor of increased rights for gay couples than Democrats (53/46).
-West Virginians are closely divided on their favorite major league baseball team. 27% each pick the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates with the Atlanta Braves coming in a distant third at 8% followed by the New York Yankees at 7%, the Baltimore Orioles at 4%, the Cleveland Indians at 3%, and the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals each at 2%.
There is no such division when it comes to the state's favorite NFL team. The Pittsburgh Steelers win by an overwhelming margin with 43% to the Dallas Cowboys' 9%, 7% each for the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns, 6% for the Cincinnati Bengals, 5% for the Indianapolis Colts, 3% for the Baltimore Ravens, and 2% for the Philadelphia Eagles.
-There is actually someone people in West Virginia like even less than Barack Obama- former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Only 13% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of him to 44% with an unfavorable one, giving him a net review of -31. That's just slightly worse than Obama's -30 approval rating at 32/62. Democrats certainly dislike Blankenship the most, rating him 8/57, but Republicans (19/26) and independents (19/37) don't think much of him either.
-Finally we polled on all the living ex-Governors of West Virginia no longer serving in public office. From most popular to least popular they are Gaston Caperton (+8 at 42/34), Bob Wise (+4 at 35/31), Arch Moore (-3 at 38/41), and Hulett Smith (-8 at 14/22). These numbers really show the extent to which Joe Manchin is in a class by himself popularity wise- no one in office past or present comes anywhere close to his popularity.
Full results here