Sen. Joe Manchin, long one of the state's most popular politicians, has suffered a precipitous decline in popularity over the last few months, according to the newest edition of the West Virginia Poll.
The poll is a non-partisan study conducted for the Daily Mail by R.L. Repass and Partners. This most recent edition was conducted Aug. 15-22, sampling 400 voting-age West Virginia residents. It has a 4.9 percent margin of error.
Of those surveyed, 43 percent said they approved of the job Manchin is doing in Washington. Thirty-seven percent disapprove of Manchin's job performance, and 21 percent said they aren't sure.
That's far better than President Obama's 28 percent approval rating in West Virginia, but Manchin's rating is significantly lower than the approval ratings of other prominent state politicians.
Fifty-one percent of respondents approved of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's job performance. Sen. Jay Rockefeller had a 52 percent approval rating while Rep. Shelley Moore Capito was at 50 percent.
Manchin's drop in popularity is particularly dramatic, however, when compared to previous polls.
In April 2011, a survey by Public Policy Polling, a national polling firm based in North Carolina, found Manchin was one of the nation's most popular senators.
It found Manchin enjoyed a 55 percent approval rating among West Virginia voters, "putting him in the 80th percentile for popularity out of senators (Public Policy Polling) has polled on in the last couple years," the firm wrote.
Other more recent polls have shown even higher ratings for Manchin.
Republican pollster Mark Blankenship found Manchin's approval rating was 70 percent in March. Three months later, another Blankenship poll found Manchin's approval rating had slipped to 63 percent.
Rex Repass, principal owner of R.L. Repass and Partners, said the results are a "blip" in Manchin's traditionally high performance ratings.
He said Manchin remains very popular in West Virginia. The June edition of the West Virginia poll found 24 percent of residents surveyed said Manchin was the best state governor of their lifetime.