CHARLESTON — The number of West Virginians who disapprove of the job performance of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin remains unmoved, according to the most recent quarterly rankings.
Morning Consult, a national polling firm, released its quarterly poll Monday of job approval rankings for all 100 members of the Senate covering April 1 through June 30. In West Virginia, 2,112 registered voters were polled with a 2% margin of error.
According to the poll, 55% of respondents said they did not approve of Manchin’s job performance, with 39% saying they approved of Manchin’s job performance and 7% either unsure or had no opinion.
Those numbers are nearly unchanged from Morning Consult’s first quarter rankings covering January through March when Manchin’s job approval rating was 38% and his disapproval rating was 55% with 8% unsure or having no opinion. Manchin declined to comment for this story.
Manchin, D-W.Va., ranked as the second most unpopular senator behind Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Manchin’s disapproval numbers were worse than Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who has a 48% job approval number, a 36% job disapproval number, and 17% unsure or having no opinion.
Manchin’s approval numbers have been down ever since he backed President Joe Biden’s $737 billion Inflation Reduction Act at the end of last summer. Morning Consult poll numbers between January-March 2022 after Manchin rejected the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better social spending bill proposed by Biden showed Manchin with a 57% job approval number and a 35% disapproval number.
West Virginia’s senior senator has yet to announce his intentions to run for a third six-year term. Manchin won a 2010 special election to succeed the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd and secured victories in 2012 and 2018 against Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Four Republican candidates are running for Senate in 2024, including U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney and Jim Justice, the Democrat-turned-Republican two-term governor of West Virginia whom Manchin backed in 2016. That relationship soured after Justice switched parties in 2017 at the behest of former president Donald Trump with Justice booting many Manchin-connected staff members and firing former First Lady Gayle Manchin as secretary of the renamed Department of Arts, Culture and History.
According to Morning Consult’s quarterly rankings of all 50 governors released last week, 62% of respondents approve of Justice’s job performance as governor, with 33% expressing disapproval and 5% unsure or expressing no opinion. When compared to other governors, Justice was at the bottom of the top 10 most popular governors in the U.S.
Justice also has polled ahead of Manchin in theoretical head-to-head match-ups should Justice secure the Republican nomination for Senate in 2024. According to a May poll conducted by East Carolina University, Justice leads Manchin 54% to 32%, a 22-point difference with 13% undecided and 1% preferring another candidate.
Mooney leads Manchin more narrowly, with respondents preferring Mooney to Manchin 41% to 40% with 18% undecided and 1% preferring another candidate.
It is also possible that Manchin could be part of an alternative presidential ticket next year. Manchin was the keynote speaker in July for an event sponsored by No Labels, a bipartisan political organization founded in 2010 to promote political moderates in both the Republican and Democratic parties, along with Jon Huntsman Jr., a former governor of Utah, Republican presidential candidate and ambassador.
Earlier this year, No Labels launched what it calls “Insurance Policy 2024,” an effort to field a unity presidential ticket in 2024.
The group is raising money and working to gain ballot access in key states, though it claims it will only push its own presidential ticket depending on who the Republican and Democratic nominees for president are.
Manchin has declined to say whether he would run for reelection to the Senate or run on a unity presidential ticket, stating in past interviews that he will make a decision at the end of 2023.
But Manchin has said he will win whatever race in which he chooses to run.