West Virginia Senate
2018 Republican Primary Poll
November 16-17, 2016

Sitting Senator Images

Capito Image

United States Senator Shelley Moore Capito is exceedingly popular with Republican primary voters as 85% report holding a favorable opinion of her (11% unfavorable), including a 55% majority that have a very favorable image of Capito. Her image remains extremely favorable among both self-identified Very Conservative (93% favorable/5% unfavorable) and Somewhat Conservative (85%/11%) voters. Looking at her image by media market, she improves in the Charleston-Huntington market (91%/8%) and sees her unfavorable number increase only slightly in the Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill (77%/19%) and Clarksburg-Weston (76%/17%) markets. 

Manchin Image

A notable 48% of Republican primary voters hold a favorable opinion of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (50% unfavorable). His unfavorable image grows among Very Conservatives (39%/62%) but he is viewed favorably by a majority of Somewhat Conservatives (56%/42%). Men have an unfavorable image of him (45%/55%) while women view him more favorably (51%/47%).   

Looking Ahead to 2018

Potential Candidate Images

Fresh off a re-election campaign for Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey has the highest name identification (97%) and strongest favorable-to-unfavorable margin (+51% favorable) of the leading Republicans in the state. Congressmen Evan Jenkins and David McKinley have identical images among likely Republican primary voters (+40% favorable). Morrisey has an image advantage among Very Conservative voters while Jenkins and Morrisey have comparable margins of favorability among Somewhat Conservatives. Morrisey enjoys a fairly stable image across Congressional Districts. Jenkins and McKinley see marked image improvement in their Congressional districts. Please see Table 1 below for a further breakdown and comparison of the potential candidate images by various demographics. 

Table 1- 2018 Potential Senate Candidate Image Comparisons

Q: Now, I am going to read you a list of names of people in the news. Please indicate whether you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each.

Ranked by Favorable-to-Unfavorable Margin, All Demographic Numbers are Favorable-Unfavorable Margin

Hypothetical 4-way Primary Ballot

On a hypothetical four-way primary ballot, Evan Jenkins narrowly leads with 28% of the vote, followed closely by Morrisey (24%) and McKinley (21%). The race tightens to a 2% lead for Jenkins over Morrisey among Very Conservatives (30% Jenkins-28% Morrisey, 23% McKinley). Somewhat Conservatives are divided between Jenkins (26%) and McKinley (25%, Morrisey: 20%). McKinley takes the lead among men (27% McKinley-25% Jenkins) while Jenkins expands his advantage with women (30-25% Morrisey, 16% McKinley). McKinley and Jenkins earn majorities of the vote in their respective Congressional districts (CD 1: 54% McKinley-23% Morrisey; CD 3: 63% Jenkins-20% Morrisey). Jenkins leads in two of the three largest media markets (Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill: 56-21% Morrisey, Charleston-Huntington: 44-22% Morrisey), while McKinley leads Morrisey in Clarksburg-Weston (38-22%).

Q: If the Republican primary election for United States Senate were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for: Evan Jenkins, Patrick Morrisey, David McKinley, or Alex Mooney?

Candidate Characteristics

When asked, “Thinking about a Republican primary election for United States Senate, which of the following candidate characteristics is the most important in determining your vote”, likely Republican primary voters are fairly divided between a candidate’s “Conservative values” (35%) and their “strong support for President Donald Trump” (34%), followed distantly by “ability to get things done for West Virginia” (22%). Very Conservatives place more emphasis on a candidate’s “Conservative values” (49%) than their “support for Trump” (41%) while Somewhat Conservatives are split over which is more important (30% Conservative values, 30% Support for Trump). “Conservative values” (35%) and “Support for Trump” (35%) are equally important to men, while women place slightly more weight on a candidate’s “Conservative values” (35%, 33% Support for Trump). Finally, the Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill media market is more concerned with a candidate's “Conservative values” (43%, 27% Support for Trump) while “Support for Donald Trump” is the top characteristic for voters in Charleston-Huntington (35%, 29% Conservative values) and Clarksburg-Weston (41%, 29% Conservative values).  

Q: Thinking about a Republican primary election for United States Senate, which of the following candidate characteristics is most important in determining your vote: Strong support for President Trump, Conservative values, A willingness to fight the Republican establishment in Washington, OR An ability to get things done for West Virginia?

Results & Methodology

METHODOLOGY: The sample size for the survey is 400 likely Republican Primary voters in West Virginia and the margin of error is +/-4.9%. Responses were gathered via landline interviews conducted with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. The survey was conducted November 16-17, 2016 by Harper Polling. The total percentages for responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.

For General Election Results, go here. 

Harper Polling