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Image: Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on Aug. 16, 2022.Andrew Harnik / AP

Joe Manchin is the least popular figure in latest NBC News poll

Just 11% of registered voters said they had positive views of the West Virginia Democrat.


Sen. Joe Manchin is the least popular political figure in the new national NBC News poll, with just 11% of registered voters saying they had positive feelings about the West Virginia Democrat.

Roughly one-third of voters — 34%— had negative feelings, making Manchin the most unpopular figure in the poll with a net-negative rating of 23%. 

None of the figures or groups had net-positive ratings. In order from most positive to least positive, the survey found the following net ratings: 

  • Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.: -6 points (28% positive, 34% negative)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court: -7 points (35% positive, 42% negative)
  • Joe Biden: -8 points (40% positive, 48% negative)
  • The Republican Party: -15 points (34% positive, 49% negative)
  • The Democratic Party: -17 points (34% positive, 51% negative)
  • Donald Trump: -18 points (36% positive, 54% negative)
  • Kamala Harris: -18 points (32% positive, 50% negative)
  • Mike Pence: -19 points (25% positive, 44% negative)
  • Manchin: -23 points (11% positive, 34% negative)

Manchin also had the highest share of voters — 31% — who said they did not know or weren’t sure how they felt about him, suggesting he was also the least well-known of those people and groups tested in the survey. 

The disdain for Manchin spanned political parties, with 40% of Democrats, 31% of Republicans and 30% of independents viewing him negatively.

Manchin's role as one of the roadblocks to Democrats' sweeping policy agenda earned him the scorn of Democrats in both wings of the party.

More than one-third of Democrats who voted for President Joe Biden in the presidential primaries had negative views of Manchin, while 12% viewed him positively. Among Democrats who supported progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, 46% had negative feelings about Manchin while just 5% had positive feelings.

Manchin's high net-negative rating underscores his difficult balancing act as a moderate Democrat from a ruby red state, who is often at the center of Democratic negotiations. And Manchin clearly recognizes that his position means he’ll have plenty of enemies.  

“OK, so I’m the villain. I can be the hero and the villain, all in a 24-hour period,” Manchin said at a roundtable in West Virginia last week.

The NBC News poll was conducted Aug. 12-16 of 1,000 registered voters — including 750 reached by cell phone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.