CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a 17-point lead over President Barack Obama among West Virginia voters, according to new results from The West Virginia Poll.
The poll found Romney would garner nearly 54 percent of the vote in West Virginia and Obama, nearly 37 percent. Nearly 10 percent of respondents said they were undecided.
But the poll found the clear Republican edge at the top of this fall's ticket didn't extend to Republicans John Raese and Bill Maloney, who are running for U.S. Senate and governor, respectively.
The West Virginia Poll, conducted for the Charleston Daily Mail by R.L. Repass & Partners, surveyed 410 likely voters between April 25 and 28. The margin of error is 4.8 percent.
It found U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., holds a commanding lead over Republican businessman John Raese in their rematch of the 2010 election.
The poll found voters prefer Manchin over Raese by a 74 to 22 percent margin. Only 4 percent of those surveyed considered themselves undecided.
Manchin's 52 percent lead over Raese is a significant widening of the margin from the first time the two faced off. Manchin bested Raese 53 to 43 percent in 2010.
While Maloney lost to Tomblin by 2.5 percent - or 7,546 votes - last October, the poll shows Tomblin would beat Maloney by 60 to 32 percent if the election were held today. Only 8 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided in that race.
The poll found the leading candidates in each race were able to draw a large amount of support from the opposite party.
Romney was favored by 36 percent of registered Democrats, while registered Republicans offered cross-party support for Manchin and Tomblin.
Tomblin got 38 percent of Republican support in the poll, while nearly 65 percent of GOP voters picked Manchin over Raese.
Pollster Rex Repass has been monitoring state voter trends since he helped launch The West Virginia Poll in 1980. He said the numbers for Romney, Manchin and Tomblin weren't entirely surprising.
"I think that reflects to the growing conservative trend in West Virginia," he said.
While Manchin and Tomblin are Democrats, both have supported more conservative fiscal and social policies. Repass said those policy positions, not just party, connect more with voters these days.
"Elections are much more about personal identification today and less about party identification," Repass said. "It's the relationship voters have with candidates and how they align with candidates on issues, than on the party.
"The brand is much less important than it was 20 years ago," he said.
State Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio said the poll results showed the GOP tactic of tying Manchin and Tomblin to national policies unpopular with West Virginians was flawed.
"We have a very intelligent voter in West Virginia," Puccio said. "They know these two office holders - Gov. Tomblin and Sen. Manchin - and they have seen how they have performed.
"Our voters want the very, very best for the state of West Virginia, and they're voting on those gentlemen's performance," he said.
Republicans disagreed with the poll results.