Joe Manchin, the very popular former governor, now newly-elected Senator from West Virginia has turned his back on the main issue of his campaign. Finding himself behind his GOP challenger, he decided to put together a commercial literally shooting a rifle round through the new health care law and vowing to repeal it-making it the signature issue of the campaign. He immediately recovered in the polls and ended up with a nine point victory over his Republican opponent.
Last week the GOP minority in the Senate forced a vote on repeal and Manchin voted to sustain the health care legislation. There's simply no other way to spin it-he went back on his signature issue. ObamaCare is almost universally despised in the Mountaineer State and the GOP will probably carry the state in the 2012 Presidential election by twenty points or more. It should be a serious problem for Manchin who will have to run for the full term that fall. The trouncing the Democrats get at the top of the ticket should affect the down-ballot races (including Manchin's). The problem for the GOP is that there simply isn't a deep bench in the state. There aren't many Republicans who have name recognition and a positive approval rating to take on Manchin. In the age of New Media an unknown insurgent could win a campaign (like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin in 2010) but we'll have to simply wait and see.
Again here are the seats that will certainly or probably flip from the Dems to the GOP in 2012:
Right now the GOP should pick up at least 8 seats (with several more possible: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, New York and New Jersey) either very possible or at least somewhat possible). As I've mentioned before I suspect strongly that a lot of Democratic bulls will announce their retirement in the next few months.