POLL: Joe Manchin’s Popularity Has Exploded in West Virginia

Joe Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) greatly improved his standing among his constituents during President Joe Biden’s first term in office, despite sparking a massive media backlash and being labeled an obstructionist by members of his own party, a new Morning Consult poll found.

“Mister President,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) jokingly greeted Manchin in recent months, a jest that made headlines and roasted media criticism of the conservative Democrat. Manchin, along with Arizona’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, has riled his fellow Democrats by refusing to go along with some of Biden’s key domestic legislative agenda items, a posture which has gained him immense negotiating power in D.C. given the fifty-fifty partisan split in the U.S. Senate.

Morning Consult’s Eli Yokley noted Monday that the senator’s posturing has paid off as “57% of West Virginia voters approve of Manchin’s job performance, up from 40% during the first quarter of 2021.”

Manchin’s soaring approval rating was the biggest jump of any U.S. Senator since Biden took office, with John Thune (R-SD) coming in second with an 11-point jump.

“Manchin’s double-digit approval rating improvement over the course of Biden’s tenure is a rarity when compared with other incumbents: Just three of them — John Thune (R-S.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) — have seen comparable improvement in their standing,” Yokley explains of Manchin’s rare achievement.

The driving force behind Manchin’s boost came from West Virginia Republicans. At the beginning of Biden’s time in office, Manchin held only a 35% approval rating with Republicans in his state – the largest voting block in a state Donald Trump won in 2020 by almost 40 points.

Today, Manchin’s approval rating with Republicans in West Virginia stands at 69%, his approval rating with Democrats, meanwhile, declined from 63% to 44%. Manchin’s improving fortunes in a seat he has held since 2010 have now landed him among the top ten most-popular U.S. Senators.

Thune, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John Barrasso (R-WY) are the three most popular, while Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are the three most unpopular senators.

Interestingly, Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) clock in with almost identical approval ratings, with 48% of their constituents approving of their job performance. Despite their very different approaches to the job and to former President Donald Trump, Romney has a 43% disapproval ratings, while Cruz has a 42% disapproval rating – an almost identical number in their respective conservative states.

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