Orion Strategies poll: Respondents seeing positive direction for W.Va.

Voters weigh in on Governor, President, Legislature, Issues

Release from Orion Strategies:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  A new poll by Orion Strategies surveys the opinions of historic likely voters on a number of current topics in West Virginia, as well as national issues in the news.

In a reversal from a similar poll one year ago, a 42% plurality of West Virginians now believe that things in West Virginia are headed in the right direction.  37% feel things are not.   Last year’s poll found that only 18% felt that the state was moving in the right direction at that time – which was the lowest level in 10 years of polling that question by Orion Strategies.

“By doing these polls on a regular basis, we’re able to compare numbers from year to year and see how the mood of the electorate changes,” said Curtis Wilkerson, principal of Orion Strategies. “We have incorporated a significant number of demographics in our sample to ensure that it is a statistical match for West Virginia’s voting population– gender, age, geography, party – to see what voters are really feeling about these important issues.”

One year ago, a slim majority, within the margin of error, believed that the coal industry would be no better once President Obama left office – 44% to 43%.  Now 58% of voters believe that the coal industry will rebound under the new Trump administration.

In regards to the state’s newly elected Governor’s job performance, respondents see him as a blank slate with 41% saying they are unsure.  37% gave the new Governor a positive rating and only 22% provided a negative one.

In contrast, the new President is not a blank slate at all.  In November, he received 68% of the vote in West Virginia and his current job performance rating is 58% positive and 37% negative with very few who do not hold an opinion.  A significant breakdown is found between those who identify as Republican – 82% approving of the new President with only 41% of Democrats agreeing.  The percentage of victory that Trump received in West Virginia in the 2016 General Election was the second highest of any state in the country, just after Wyoming.

The West Virginia Legislature invokes strong reaction with only 23% of respondents reporting a positive job performance and 64% saying that the Legislative branch needs to improve.

When asked what the number one issue that respondents wanted the West Virginia Legislature to address from the start of the 2017 legislative session, 55% reported jobs and the economy.  That was followed by 19% for the state’s budget, 10% for infrastructure and roads, 8% fell into the miscellaneous categories, and only 5% stated any social issues.

Noting the state’s budget shortfalls, a 48% plurality of respondents believe that tax increases will be necessary with 44% believing they are not.

Regarding the issue of the legalization of marijuana, a 61% majority favor it if it is for medicinal use and prescribed by a doctor, with 35% against.

On the national issues front, West Virginians were asked if they believe that Mexico will pay for the wall proposed by President Trump along the border.  59% said they do not believe that Mexico will pay while only 34% believe it will happen.

The live-interview telephone survey was conducted among historic, likely voters in West Virginia.   A total of 600 respondents completed the entire survey – giving the poll a 4 +/- margin of error with a 95 percent confidence rate.  The sample was proportionate to each of the three congressional districts in the state.   Both cell phones and landline telephones were called. Results were collected from all 55 counties.  Partisan registration among respondents was 48 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican and 17 percent Independent.  The poll was conducted February 2-4, 2017.
— Orion Strategies is a strategic communication firm that conducts polling and research surveys on behalf of various clients, including trade associations, law firms, universities, media outlets and political campaigns.  The firm also conducts surveys for change of venue requests on prominent court cases. Curtis Wilkerson, Principal of Orion Strategies, is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research.  Learn more about Orion Strategies at: www.orion-strategies.com



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