EDITORIAL: PPP Poll Strikes Again With an Agenda, This Time for Tomblin


Last year, Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Raese was climbing so high in the polls against then-Governor Manchin that for a full week or two, Raese was actually doing the unthinkable, namely leading Manchin.   Raese achieved this by focusing on the issues and running a positive campaign.

Then two important dynamics occurred.   First, Manchin let fly a huge purchase of ultra-negative, personal attacks on Raese and his family.  Secondly, a liberal Democratic pollster from North Carolina, heretofore unknown to West Virginia political observers, started zapping Raese's ascent with questionable polls that helped to blunt the Republican's progress.

That pollster was the now famous PPP group, and in retrospect, it sure seemed to benefit Joe Manchin. Manchin may not have paid for the poll, but would it really surprise us if someone close to Manchin influenced its release?

Now PPP has decided to inject itself once again in West Virginia politics, this time in the Governor's race.  And, once again, the PPP poll is questionable, even as its results are spread around by a gullible West Virginia press who, apparently, doesn't know how to discern between a reputable, credible poll that is worth relaying versus a garbage poll that is laden with an obvious political agenda for someone who is running.

Figuring out why PPP has come in with a poll that shows both Earl Ray Tomblin and Betty Ireland ahead by double digits in their parties' primaries may not be all that hard, once you remember that Manchin was the beneficiary last year.   Who might our junior U.S. Senator want to be Governor? Well, Earl Ray Tomblin already owes Manchin for Tomblin's brief tenure in the Governor's Mansion;  after all, Tomblin is only there because of Manchin's ambition for the U.S. Senate.

Are the Charleston politicos correct when they assert that Manchin wants Tomblin to stay put so as to keep the bones buried from the Manchin Administration?  Could be.  After all, Manchin and his Administration is still under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office.  Having a good friend like Earl Ray in there as Governor can only benefit Manchin, the man of a thousand secrets.

So the PPP poll shows Tomblin winning the Democratic primary, even if the truth may well be something much different.  And as for the Republican primary, PPP couldn't even try hard to make their poll look credible, polling only 274 likely Republican voters.  A credible poll needs at least 500 likely voters.

But who would a liberal Democratic pollster, one that has already proven friendly to Democratic incumbents here, want to promote for the GOP nomination for Governor?   Clearly, the one who can't raise money, i.e. Betty Ireland.  If Ireland can't even raise a buck for her own party's primary, what are the odds that she can raise sufficient funds to beat a Democratic incumbent like Tomblin?

PPP was reasonably transparent in 2010 in the Raese/Manchin contest.  They're downright crystal clear in this race.  But at least we know who the decrepit State Democratic Party leadership prefers for Governor on both sides of the aisle this year.  They want Earl Ray Tomblin and a weak Republican, whether that means Betty Ireland or Bill Maloney.

But do we?





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