Sen. Joe Manchin (D) remains a popular figure in West Virginia and leads potential opponents in hypothetical 2012 Senate matchups in poll released Thursday.
Fifty-five percent of West Virginia voters approve of Manchin’s job performance, whereas only 31 percent disapprove, according to a Public Policy Polling survey.
In hypothetical matchups with potential Republican opponents, Manchin’s closest rival was Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. He would beat her 48 percent to 40 percent. Against freshman Rep. David McKinley, Manchin would win 63 percent to 25 percent.
PPP surveyed 850 West Virginia voters. The margin of error is 3.4 percent.
Since beating GOP businessman John Raese in November, Manchin, who was previously the state’s popular governor, has positioned himself as conservative Democrat and sometimes-critic of President Barack Obama.
In an interview earlier this month on ABC News, Manchin was asked if the president was showing enough leadership. “It’s a different form of leadership then I’ve ever seen,” Manchin said. “It’s not what I’m used to and it’s not what I’ve seen to be effective.”
In a floor speech on the budget last month, Manchin said Obama had “failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts.”
Roll Call Politics rates this race as Leans Democratic.