Three candidates make up the top tier in West Virginia’s Republican Senate nomination contest, according to a Fox News Poll released Tuesday.
Congressman Evan Jenkins garners 25 percent among West Virginia likely GOP Senate primary voters, while the state’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey receives 21 percent and businessman Don Blankenship takes third with 16 percent. The edge Jenkins holds over Morrisey is within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and the same is true for Morrisey’s edge over Blankenship.
No other candidate gets more than four percent support: Tom Willis (4 percent), Bo Copley (2 percent), and Jack Newbrough (1 percent).
The race appears fluid. In addition to the sizable group of undecideds (24 percent), another 41 percent of those currently backing a candidate say they could change their mind before the May 8 primary.
Fox News is hosting a West Virginia GOP Senate primary debate Tuesday, May 1 with co-moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum at the Metropolitan Theatre in Morgantown, West Virginia from 6:30-7:30PM/ET.
The three candidates chosen to take the debate stage will be Jenkins, Morrisey, and Blankenship, Fox News announced late Tuesday.
The new poll, conducted April 18-22, was completed prior to a Monday evening debate hosted by The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
These GOP primary voters say the opioid addiction crisis (20 percent) and the economy (19 percent) are the most important issues facing the country today, followed by immigration (16 percent) and health care (14 percent). Gun policy (6 percent), abortion (5 percent), energy and environmental issues (3 percent), and taxes (3 percent) are lower priorities.
Among the subgroup of just those who say they will “definitely” vote, Jenkins tops Morrisey by 25-23 percent, and Blankenship stays at 16 percent.
Jenkins tops Morrisey by three points among evangelical Christians (25-22 percent). Blankenship receives 16 percent.
Blankenship does a bit better among white men without a college degree. He garners 21 percent, which puts him one point above Morrisey (20 percent) and three points behind Jenkins (24 percent).
The Mountain State gave Donald Trump one of his biggest wins in the 2016 general election, capturing 69 percent of the vote vs. Hillary Clinton’s 27 percent. And he won the state’s GOP presidential primary with 77 percent support (May 2016).
They still like him. Fully 87 percent of GOP primary voters approve of Trump’s job performance, including 67 percent who “strongly” approve.
For comparison, 35 percent approve of the man Republicans hope to unseat in November -- Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted April 18-22, 2018 by telephone (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among 985 West Virginia likely Republican primary voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Republican and unaffiliated respondents were randomly selected from a statewide voter file of registered voters identified as likely to vote in the primary.