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Natalie Tennant Leads List of Potential Democratic US Senate Candidates

MBE Voter Opinion Poll also finds Congresswoman Capito maintains significant lead in General Election match-up; Senator Manchin’s approval rating lower than normal but strong.

Embargoed until May 8, 2013 For Interviews and Questions Contact: Mark Blankenship 304.343.1500, mark@markblankenship.com (Charleston, W.Va.) – A commanding 40% plurality of Democratic primary voters in West Virginia indicate they would vote for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in a primary election against Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis (12%), attorney Nick Preservati (1%), and attorney Ralph Baxter (1%). according to a new MBE Voter Opinion Poll released by Mark Blankenship Enterprises (MBE). More than two in five Democratic primary voters are undecided in the potential Democratic Primary Election. The survey also finds Congresswoman Capito has a significant 19% point lead over potential Democratic challenger and Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis. More than half (51%) of voters indicate they would vote for Congresswoman Capito in a match-up with Davis. Thirty-two percent say they would vote for Davis, and 18% indicate they are undecided. Senator Joe Manchin’s job approval among all West Virginia voters remains strong at 63% but has decreased noticeably by 7% since March of 2013. The results of the survey do not reflect the opinions of MBE and are meant only to provide insights into public opinion. Democratic Primary Election for US Senate – Ballot Should West Virginia’s Secretary of State Natalie Tennant decide to enter the Democratic primary campaign for US Senate, she would be a very formidable opponent for all other potential Democrats. Tennant receives 40% of Democratic voters surveyed, compared to Davis who receives 12%. “Tennant polls very well among self-described liberal democrats and across all three congressional districts” said Mark Blankenship, CEO of MBE. ”The Democratic field hasn’t taken shape yet, but among the most discussed potential candidates, Tennant certainly should be considered to hold the position of strength.” he said.

The MBE Voter Opinion Poll Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC

If the Democratic Primary Election for US Senate were held today between … who would you most likely vote for? Natalie Tennant Robin Davis Nick Preservati Ralph Baxter Undecided No Answer

Aggregate

40% 12% 1% 1% 38% 8%

General Election – Ballot In a head to head match-up between Democrat Robin Davis and Republican Shelley Moore Capito, Capito leads Davis by nearly 20%. More than half (51%) indicate they would vote for Capito compared to 32% who name Davis. Another 18% of voters are undecided. “On our last survey, we tested Capito against Congressman Rahall, who has since indicated he would not seek the senate seat, and Capito had a strong lead then, too” said Mark Blankenship. “When positioned against another prominent Democrat in Justice Davis, Capito’s lead is very similar and that indicates to me she will be a very strong candidate regardless of her Democratic opposition in 2014” he said. Job Approval Ratings More than three in five voters (63%) approve of the job Senator Joe Manchin is doing, down 7% points from a survey conducted by MBE in March of 2013. His approval ratings are down 5% among Republican voters, 8% among Democratic voters and 10% among Independents. Governor Tomblin receives a 69% job approval, unchanged from the March MBE survey. More than half (54%) of all voters surveyed approve of the job Congresswoman Capito is doing and 17% are unable to rate her performance. While nearly half (47%) are unable to rate the job performance of newly inaugurated Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, he is approved by 38% of voters and less than 15% disapprove. “Manchin’s approval rating remains solid at 63%” said Blankenship. “but a 7% decrease during the last two months is noteworthy” continued Blankenship. “The question now becomes whether the decrease is the beginning of a downward trend for Senator Manchin or a momentary dip in his numbers” he said. Among the three elected officials with the highest job approval ratings, only Capito has never run for statewide office and represented one-third of the population. “Capito’s approval rating is impressive when one considers her numbers in the two parts of the state in which she has never run a campaign or served the citizens” Blankenship said.

The MBE Voter Opinion Poll Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC

“Congresswoman Capito remains a popular political figure in West Virginia with over half of all voters approving of the job she is doing in Congress but 17% indicate they are unable to rate her job performance” said Blankenship. “Because she has never run for statewide office voters outside of the district she represents are still somewhat unfamiliar with her” he continued. “In her race for US Senate, she will need to let voters, primarily in the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts, get to know her and her positions in order to increase her approval ratings in those areas” he said. Issues Job Losses - According to recent reports (,http://wpcarey.asu.edu/bluechip/jobgrowth/jgu_states.cfm) & (http://www.bls.gov/lau/ststdnsadata.txt) West Virginia lost more jobs than most other states during the previous year. Voters were asked who they believe is most responsible for these job losses. Nearly half (49%) of all voters believe President Obama is most responsible for these job losses while 15% name the West Virginia Legislature. Only 10% believe West Virginia’s Members of Congress are most responsible and just 3% name Governor Tomblin. “Voters have consistently prioritized job creation as an issue in the state and nearly half believe the president is most responsible for recent job losses ” said Blankenship. “Undoubtedly, voters’ perception on this issue of job losses has a direct and negative impact on the president’s total approval among West Virginia voters” he said. Gun Control – Voters were asked if they supported or opposed Senator Manchin’s recent gun control proposal which includes extended background checks for gun buyers. Nearly seven in 10 (67%) support the proposal while 30% oppose and 3% indicate they don’t know. The issue has a strong partisan divide with 43% of Republicans and 34% of Independents indicating they oppose the proposal compared to 19% of Democratic voters. “Voters of his party mostly approve of his gun control legislation while Republicans and Independents are less likely to support it” said Blankenship. “This is interesting because Senator Manchin has typically enjoyed strong numbers among Republicans and Independents and if he loses support among those two groups, his overall approval number is likely to decrease” he said. Methodology
Some totals may not equal 100% as a result of rounding. 406 interviews were completed among voters in West Virginia. 406 interviews yield a maximum sample variation of +/- 4.87% at a 95% level of confidence. Interviews were conducted between May 1st and2nd, 2013. The average length of the interview was 10 minutes and respondents.. Each interview was conducted by a live telephone interviewer with the assistance of CATI software. Both high use cellular and landline respondents were interviewed. The survey was sponsored, funded and conducted by MBE Research.

The MBE Voter Opinion Poll Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC

About MBE
Mark Blankenship is president and chief executive officer of Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC (MBE). Located in Charleston, West Virginia, MBE is a national communications and opinion research firm. Blankenship’s surveys, commentary and insights have appeared in a range of national and regional media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Drudge Report, Fox News, Roll Call, The Hill, Politico and others. MBE provides a range of actionable and reliable research methodologies to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, prominent law firms, media organizations, associations and non-government organizations. If you seek further comment on these survey results, or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact Mark Blankenship at 304.343.1500 or by email at mark@markblankenship.com

Voter Opinion Survey Job # - N/A MBE May 2013 Project Contact – Mark Blankenship

Questionnaire with Results

• 406 completed interviews among registered, likely voters in West Virginia
INTRO: INTRO: Hello, my name is _______ with Opinion Access, a national public opinion research firm, located in Charleston. We are conducting a short survey on some important local issues. This is not a telemarketing call and you will not be asked to buy or order anything, we are only interested in your opinions. May I please speak with (INSERT NAME FROM SAMPLE)? .

WHEN CORRECT RESPONDENT IS ON THE LINE REPEAT INTRO IF NECESSARY AND SAY: This is a scientific survey of households in your area regarding state and local issues. This is not a sales call. We obtained your number by using a random digit dialing procedure and you cannot be identified by name. Now, would you be kind enough to answer a few questions for me this evening?

(RECORD FIPS CODE)

1. First of all, are you registered to vote in the State of West Virginia?
The MBE Voter Opinion Poll Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC

(100% ) Yes (0% ) No (TERMINATE) (0% ) Dk/Na (TERMINATE) TERMINATE BY SAYING: “I’m sorry, we’ve already filled our quota in that category. Please excuse the interruption. Good-bye.”
2. And how are you registered to vote? (Party quotas to be determined based on

election turnout)

(51%) Democrat (32%) Republican (17%) Independent/other (0%) Dk/Na/Refused (Terminate)
3. In which county do you currently live? (Record as actual punch)

Warm-up/Political Issues
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the following individuals are doing in their elected

position? (Read and Rotate)

Strongly Approve

Some Approve

Some Disapp.

Strongly Disapp.

Dk/ Na

Senator Joe Manchin Governor Earl Ray Tomblin Attorney General Patrick Morrissey (MOR-IS-EE) Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito

(33%) (25%) (11%) (27%)

(30%) (44%) (27%) (27%)

(13%) (13%) (7%) (11%)

(18%) (9%) (8%) (17%)

(6%) (9%) (47%) (17%)

5. (Ask only of registered Democrats) If the Democratic Primary Election for US Senate were held

today between (Read and Rotate Names)Natalie Tennant, Robin Davis Ralph Baxter and Nick Preservati (PREZ-AH -VOT-EE), who would you most likely vote for? n=207 (1%) Ralph Baxter (12%) Robin Davis (40%) Natalie Tennant (1%) Nick Preservati (PREZ-AH -VOT-EE) (38%) Undecided (Do Not Read) (8%)Na/Rf (Do Not Read)

The MBE Voter Opinion Poll Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC

6. If the election for US Senate were held today between (Read and Rotate Names) Republican

Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Robin Davis, who would you most likely vote for? (51%) Republican Shelley Moore Capito (32%) Democrat Robin Davis (14%) Undecided (Do Not Read) (4%)Na/Rf (Do Not Read)
7. West Virginia lost more jobs than most other states last year. Of the following elected officials, who

do you think is most responsible for these job losses? (read and rotate) (10%) West Virginia Members of Congress (15%) West Virginia State Legislators (49%) President Barack Obama (1%) The State Supreme Court (3%) Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (22%) Dk/Na/Rf
8. Finally, do you support or oppose Senator Joe Manchin’s gun control legislation that includes

extended background checks for gun buyers? (48%) Strongly Support (19%) Somewhat Support (7%) Somewhat Oppose (23%) Strongly Oppose (3%) Dk./Na/Rf End of Interview, say: “That’s all the questions I have for you this evening. Thank you very much for helping us with this survey. Good-bye.”

The MBE Voter Opinion Poll Mark Blankenship Enterprises, LLC