The senate race between Joe Manchin and John Raese–that has seen a surge by Rease and decline by Manchin–may be the result of changing state realities.  According to Jay Cost, the reason Raese has a chance of becoming the first elected Republican Senator since the early 40s is because of the decline in the influence of the coal industry and, hence, Democrat voters.  Note the decline:

The only county that is seeing an uptick in voters is Monongalia–that’s Morgantown territory.  I have often made the argument that the increased population in the eastern portion of the panhandle will cause a political shift in the state–and most importantly in state government.  It looks like we are seeing the effects.

The counties to the left are the top 10 coal counties in the state.  McDowell is the hardest hit.  One thing to note is that Manchin is spending a lot of time advertising with coal miners, and as a friend of coal.  He is not getting the bang for his buck, and the argument appears lost on more and more of the voters–because they do not identify with coal interests.

We will need another poll to see how Raese is doing, but this race is shaping up to be an upset.