-Democrats aren't likely to win a Presidential race in West Virginia any time soon. But their best chance of it based on our polling right now is if Ted Cruz was the Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Cruz leads Clinton just 44/41 in a state that Mitt Romney won by 26 points last fall. The rest of the Republicans we tested all lead Clinton by much more substantive margins- 47/38 for Chris Christie, 49/39 for Rand Paul, 50/38 for Paul Ryan, and 52/38 for Jeb Bush.
-West Virginia is the state where we find Barack Obama the 2nd most unpopular in the entire country. Voters there support impeaching the President by a 49/37 margin. So you would think if there was anywhere that would be pining to shut down the government unless Obamacare is defunded it would be the Mountain State. But even there only 40% of voters support a shutdown with 37% opposed. For there to be only 40% support for a shutdown in one of the most Obama hating states in the country shows how little of an appetite there is for that overall. A shutdown does play well with the GOP base though- there's 56/20 support.
-Earl Ray Tomblin is West Virginia's most popular politician, with a 47/35 approval rating. Those numbers are pretty much identical to the last time we polled the state two years ago when he was at 44/32. Jay Rockefeller's approval is in slightly negative territory at 45/46, suggesting this seat would have been a tough hold for Democrats even if he'd run for reelection.
The official whose numbers have fallen a long way since 2011 is Joe Manchin- the last time we polled him he had a 61/23 approval rating, but that's fallen all the way to 46/44. There may be some temptation to blame that on his push for expanded background checks on gun purchases, but that concept has 67/23 support in West Virginia, and by a 33/29 margin voters in the state say his efforts on gun issues make them more likely to vote for him in the future. He may be more generally feeling the effects of being a Democratic Senator in a state that wants to impeach the Democratic President.
-Most of our poll was conducted before West Virginia's football team got slaughtered by Maryland on Saturday, but even still we found coach Dana Holgorsen's favorability rating at just 18%, with 25% expressing an unfavorable opinion of him. For sake of comparison the last time we polled on the late Bill Stewart he had a 35/15 favorability. Holgorsen at least does better than former Mountaineer coach Rich Rodriguez whose numbers stand at 11/47, suggesting a lot of animosity still remains toward him more than 5 years after his departure. Bob Huggins has a 45/12 favorability rating, only slightly down from 49/7 three years ago despite last season's struggles.
-And finally 21% of West Virginians are taking the Hatfields' side to 9% for the McCoys.
Full results here