CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is heavily favored by West Virginia voters in the race for Jay Rockefeller's seat in the U.S. Senate, according to a recent study by a national political polling firm.
In a poll conducted last weekend by the Raleigh, N.C.,-based firm Public Policy Polling, 50 percent of poll respondents said they would vote for Capito if she were the Republican candidate next November.
That includes 30 percent of surveyed Democrat voters and 54 of independents.
Meanwhile, 36 percent of respondents said they would vote for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who announced last week she also is running for Rockefeller's seat.
Fourteen percent said they were unsure whom they would vote for.
Tennant, a Democrat, received much less crossover support.
Only 11 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of independents said they would vote for Tennant in a race against Capito.
Most respondents -- 45 percent -- said they had a "favorable" opinion of Capito, while 36 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 19 percent were not sure.
Tennant fared a little worse, with 39 percent holding a favorable opinion of her and 32 percent having an unfavorable opinion. Thirty percent were not sure how they feel about the Secretary of State.
Chris Hansen, Capito's campaign spokesman, refused to comment on the results, saying the campaign would comment only on polls it commissions.
State Republican chairman Conrad Lucas said the results do not contain any surprises.
"We're well aware of Congresswoman Capito's strengths across all demographics," including Democrat voters, he said.
"Her performance over her service in Congress has earned her approval in all parts of the state, even outside of the district."
Larry Puccio, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he remains optimistic even though Tennant is trailing Capito by 14 points.