West Virginia put a lot of faith in Donald Trump in 2016 and he won the state by 42.1% (68.6% to 26.5%). Today Research America’s poll shows Trump leading Joe Biden by only 14% (53% to 39%) a decrease of two thirds of his margin.
One might rush to say West Virginia doesn’t matter, and it’s electoral votes do seem inconsequential. However, West Virginia has similarities to much of Pennsylvania outside the urban areas as well as southeast Ohio, all mostly Republican regions. And Pennsylvania is the key state.
The Mountaineer State also has affinities to east Kentucky and all the southern Appalachian region, (parts of Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama). That’s something that could cause discomfort to Mitch McConnell if east Kentucky has seen a similar falloff in support for Republicans. McConnell has never been personally popular and is depending on long coattails from Trump to carry him again to the Senate. The last poll showed McConnell with a lead of 7%, but that was mid-September before the debate.
Of course, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama all have key Senate races as well.
The Senate race in West Virginia still looks solidly Republican and the Governor’s race almost as solid. But the mountain region may not be quite as Republican as many might think.