Though he should be enjoying the advantages that typically come with incumbency, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is currently trailing Republican Gov. Jim Justice in the race for his seat in the upper chamber, as Just the News reports, likely stoking a new wave of frustration from his Democratic Party colleagues.
The outlet cited a recent Emerson College poll, which found that Justice holds a 13% lead over Manchin.
According to the survey, Manchin came in with 28% support, while Justice pulled an impressive 41%.
The Emerson poll also took a close look at the primary battle in which Justice finds himself squaring off against Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV).
Independent voters voiced support for Justice over Manchin by a margin of 43% to 18%, but in a contest with Mooney, that same group of voters was evenly split at 32%.
The Emerson survey queried 539 voters in the state during the period spanning Oct. 1-4, and reported a “credibility interval” of +/- 4.2%.
Another dimension to Manchin's political prospects in West Virginia and elsewhere stems from the fact that he has yet to officially declare himself a candidate for re-election to the Senate seat that was the subject of the aforementioned poll.
Indeed, Manchin has long been the subject of much speculation about a possible third-party presidential run, scuttlebutt that he has done little to squelch.
As the AP recently noted, Manchin has floated the various possibilities of retirement, of a bid to hold onto his current Senate seat, or of a campaign for the Oval Office, but he is still keeping his cards close to the vest.
Over the summer, Manchin appeared at an event held by No Labels, a political group that has promoted the concept of a third-party candidate entering the 2024 race, further fueling rumors about his possible aspirations.
Remarks made by the senator last week evinced his growing sense of exasperation regarding the current state of America's electoral framework.
“I'm having a hard time – I really am. The two-party system, unless it changes, will be the downfall of our country,” Manchin lamented.
Maintaining that he will make a decision about his future by the end of this year, Manchin did not directly address whether he plans to leave the Democratic Party, which some have suspected he may.
“Don't worry about the 'D' or the 'R,' worry about the person – who is that person?” Manchin advised, adding his belief that “there can be a good D and a bad D and a good R and a bad R, but the identity – I like more the independent identity.”
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