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#WVSen: Should Natalie Tennant call the White House and demand her political career back?

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Published on September 24, 2013

CapturePPP tries to put the best face on its new poll of West Virginia’s open-seat Senate race. In theory, this race should be competitive. Why isn’t it?

The new PPP poll finds that Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, D, is competitive (47 to 44 percent) with Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito among voters who already know who she is. But President Obama (Ben Smith took this photo of her campaigning for him in 2008) is an enormous drag on her candidacy, which she couldn’t have picked a worse time to announce than last week. She announced Tuesday, and the Obama administration’s new carbon regulations came out Friday. The administration’s “war on coal” isn’t the only reason West Virginia’s economy is being destroyed — the ascendancy of cheap, abundant natural gas is playing at least as large a role — but Obama is getting nearly 100% of the blame, and that isn’t going to change.

Only 28% of voters approve of [Obama] to 67% who disapprove, the worst numbers we’ve found for him anywhere in the country other than Wyoming. He has a negative approval rating even with Democrats at 45/49, and that all adds up to this race starting out on friendly terrain for Republicans.

This explains in part why Capito is drawing more than 30 percent of Democratic vote and wins independents two-to-one. The other thing is that although Capito leads by “only” 14 points at the moment, and has “only” 50 percent support, she is also going to have an enormous financial advantage in this race, with $2.8 million on hand at the end of the last filing period. It’s going to be very difficult for Tenant to overcome the millions that will be spent portraying Tennant as Obama’s handmaiden.

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