Poll: Joe Manchin’s Political Future May ‘Hinge on Defense of Filibuster’

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) listens during a Senate Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) political future may hinge on his “continued defense of the filibuster,” according to a poll released by Honest Election Project on Tuesday.

A majority of Manchin’s supporters are against ending the filibuster, something far-left Democrats are keen on and have been pressuring both Manchin and fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to support. According to the poll, 56 percent of West Virginians (including 59 percent of Manchin supporters) would be less likely to support him for reelection if he votes to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.

Fifty-six percent of West Virginians (including 67 percent of Manchin supporters) also agree with Manchin that the filibuster is a “critical tool to protecting” democracy. Sixty-three percent of those polled (including 70 percent of Manchin supporters) agree with Manchin that weakening the filibuster worsens “political dysfunction” and fuels “hateful rhetoric and violence,” according to the survey.

“Joe Manchin’s political future may hinge on his continued defense of the filibuster. Leftwing activists and dark money special interests are pressuring Manchin to renege on his pledge to protect the filibuster. But in West Virginia, the filibuster is more popular than Joe Manchin,” the poll report states, noting that Manchin is underwater in West Virginia with an approval rating of 36 percent and a disapproval rating of 55 percent.

West Virginians are also largely against the federal takeover of elections, with 73 percent of  those polled  (including 79 percent of Manchin supporters) disagreeing with the statement that the federal government should dictate West Virginia’s voting laws.

Those numbers spell trouble for Manchin, who has positioned himself as a co-sponsor of the “Freedom to Vote Act” — arguably a watered-down version of the “For the People Act,” which sought to federalize elections.

“Calling this bill slimmed down, though, is like touting your healthy choices after you order a Diet Coke with four Big Macs. The revised text is 592 pages, and it wraps up many of the same ideas that made H.R.1 a nonstarter,” according to analysis from the Wall Street Journal.

 According to the poll report, most West Virginians reject the major provisions of Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposed legislation. For example, 78 percent of West Virginians and 87 percent of Manchin supporters favor voter ID laws.

“Manchin’s bill eliminates photo ID requirements nationwide, while continuing to allow states like California to use no voter ID at all,” the report noted in contrast.

Eighty-three percent of West Virginians and 87 percent of Manchin supporters also oppose using taxpayers’ dollars to finance campaigns, something his legislation would facilitate through a “Democracy Credit” program.

The poll report continues:

• Encourages political lawsuits: 74 percent  of West Virginians and 82 percent of Manchin supporters do not believe Congress should encourage activists to sue the state to weaken election laws. Manchin’s bill lowers legal standards to make it significantly easier for progressive activists to win lawsuits and overturn voting laws and safeguards they oppose.

• Blocks election safeguards: 72 percent of West Virginians and 77 percent of Manchin supporters oppose legislation that blocks West Virginia’s voting safeguards. Manchin’s bill hinders West Virginia’s current program to identify and remove ineligible voters from the voter rolls and imposes same-day voter registration on the state.

Ultimately, Manchin is being pulled in two directions. His supporters seemingly want their elected leader to maintain moderate positions on hot button issues. The rest of his party simply wants him to comply with their more radical agenda.

The poll was conducted with 400 registered voters in West Virginia between September 8-12 and has a  ± 4.9 percent overall margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level.

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