MANCHIN LEADS IN POLLS - Undecided Voters Still Undecided

Secretary of State Joe Manchin leads the race for Governor, according to a Charleston Gazette/WCHS-TV poll conducted last week.

Manchin was supported by 37 percent of registered Democrats in the poll, followed by former state Sen. Lloyd Jackson with 13 percent, and Charleston lawyer Jim Lees with 5 percent. The margin of error is 5 percentage points.

A large number of Democrats are still undecided, according to the poll, about 43 percent, although other polls have shown the undecided to be only 20 percent.

In the Republician race - 75 percent of the voters are undecided.

The Gazette/WCHS poll has the same ranking of candidates as a poll released recently by the Manchin campaign, showing Manchin at 49 percent, Jackson at 20 percent, and Lees at 9 percent.

There is no clear Republican front runner, with no candidate having more than 6.5 percent support.

The Gazette/WCHS poll was conducted April 26-30 with 567 registered Democrats and 363 registered Republicans and independents. Participants were not asked if they were likely to vote. "This is Lees' third time around," said political professor Robert Rupp. "He's been around the track too much, in which he didn't get traction. A lot of voters are not taking him as seriously this time around."

The negative campaigning hasn't helped the Jackson campaign very much, he said.

The best news for Jackson is that a large number of voters still have doubts about Manchin, even though they aren't ready to support Jackson, he said.

They're moving to the undecided ranks," Rupp said.

Rupp indicated there will be last minute negative campaigning.