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West Virginia Senate: Raese (R) Holds Smaller Lead Over Manchin (D)

Democratic Governor Joe Manchin, after recent moves to highlight his independence from the Obama agenda, is now once again in a near tie with Republican challenger John Raese in West Virginia’s special election for the U.S. Senate.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Raese edging Manchin 49% to 46%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The latest numbers move this race back from Leans Republican to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power.

Last week, Raese, a businessman and unsuccessful Senate candidate in 2006, pulled ahead of Manchin 50% to 44%. The race in which Manchin was the overwhelming initial favorite appears to be pitting his popularity as governor versus President Obama’s unpopularity with West Virginia voters. In the previous survey, the number of voters who wanted Manchin to remain as governor also crossed the 50% mark for the first time.

The unexpected closeness of the race has prompted visits to the state by former President Bill Clinton and ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 750 Likely Voters in West Virginia was conducted on October 12, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

How do West Virginia voters feel about "cap-and-trade" legislation favored by President Obama and senior Democrats in Congress? What do voters in the state think of political heavyweights Clinton and Palin? Become a Platinum member to find out.

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