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Poll shows tightening races in West Virginia

CHARLESTON — With the 2020 general election 27 days away, new polling shows that many races are starting to tighten as Nov. 3 gets closer.

Jackson County radio station WMOV 1360 AM and Oregon-based Triton Polling and Research released the results of a poll Tuesday on the races for president, governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer.

The poll was conducted with 525 registered voters between Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 by automated telephone, also known as interactive voice response (IVR).

The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.3 percent and a 95-percent confidence level.

The poll results were weighted based on age, gender, and political party affiliation.

According to the poll results, 56.5 percent of respondents said they would support Republican President Donald Trump for re-election, with 38.6 percent supporting former Democratic vice president Joe Biden and 4.8 percent either not sure or undecided.

The poll was taken the same day and the day after the first presidential debate and before it was announced that Trump was infected by the coronavirus on Oct. 2.

For governor, 48.4 percent said they would support Democrat-turned-Republican Gov. Jim Justice for a second term as governor, while 37.6 percent said they supported Democratic Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, 4.1 percent supported Libertarian Party candidate Erika Kolenich, 3.7 percent supported Mountain Party candidate Daniel Lutz Jr., and 6.2 percent were undecided.

The poll shows a tightening race for governor. An internal poll released by the Justice campaign and conducted between Sept. 10 and Sept. 14 by Republican pollster Mark Blankenship showed a 27-point lead for Justice over Salango. When asked if the election were held today in West Virginia, who would they most likely vote for, Justice had 54 percent, Salango had 27 percent, the Mountain and Libertarian party candidates split 9 percent of the results, and 10 percent of respondents were undecided.

In the race for secretary of state, the poll shows that 50.8 percent of respondents support Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner for a second term, while 43.9 percent support Democratic former secretary of state Natalie Tennant and 5.3 percent were undecided.

Respondents supported Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for a third term by 53.4 percent, while Democratic challenger Sam Brown Petsonk received 41 percent and 5.6 percent were undecided.

Of the races polled, only the state treasurer’s race showed majority support for the Democratic candidate. Of those polled, 48.2 percent said they would support Democratic State Treasurer John Perdue for a record-breaking seventh term, while 44.3 percent said they would support Republican former lawmaker Riley Moore and 7.6 percent were undecided.

Looking at the poll demographics, 53 percent of respondents were women and 47 percent of respondents were men. The majority of respondents — 39.7 percent — were between the ages of 55 and 74. Of those who responded, 22.7 had a bachelor’s degree, 20.8 percent had some college, 20.7 percent had post-graduate experience, and 18 percent had a high school diploma.

Broken down by party, 40.8 percent of respondents were registered Democrats, 38.1 percent were registered Republicans, 20.1 percent identified as independent or unaffiliated, and 0.7 percent identified as another party. On ideology, 41.7 identified as conservative, 29.7 identified as moderate or independent, and 14.9 percent identified as liberal.

The poll did not include results for the agricultural commissioner or state auditor races.

(Adams can be contacted at sadams@newsandsentinel.com)

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