January 9, 2023

2023 State of the Mountain State Polling Memo

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The Cardinal Institute commissioned a public opinion survey to track and determine the attitudes and opinions of West Virginia voters on important issues and initiatives. The results are described below. Generally speaking, West Virginians are proud of their state and their heritage according to this survey, but they also believe certain aspects of society can and should improve.


Economic issues such as job creation/retention and issues of taxation remain a priority. These are followed closely by education issues and social issues such as drug abuse. Importantly, improving the state’s K-12 education system is seen by most as not just a quality-of-life issue but also an economic development tool. A noticeable number of respondents would consider sending their children to charter schools in West Virginia and even more support the government providing tax credits to parents/guardians who send their children to non-public schools in the state.


West Virginia residents also maintain core support for the state’s energy leadership, be it in fossil fuels, green energy, or even nuclear-generated energy. Simply, West Virginians, based on this survey, support an all-of-the-above energy approach. They perceive such as economically beneficial to the state and beneficial to overall national security.


West Virginia residents want to see more opportunities for themselves and their children. They also want to open up opportunity to people moving to the Mountain State. A majority believes that occupational and business licenses granted by other states should be honored by the state government of West Virginia – an issue more commonly referred to as reciprocity.


Most respondents believe there is room for improvement regarding health care in the state. As it relates to large healthcare organizations operating most hospitals in West Virginia, respondents are nearly equally divided as to whether it would improve or decrease the overall quality of healthcare. However, healthcare organizations associated with major teaching hospitals such as WVU and Marshall University appear to improve trust and confidence among respondents. A large majority of respondents believe doctors should be allowed to consult with their patients via other means than in-person consultation such as telemedicine. In fact, many respondents report regular usage of telemedicine in recent years.

In conclusion, West Virginians are proud of their state and its heritage. However, that is not to imply they believe the State of the Mountain State is excellent. Rather, while they are proud to call themselves West Virginians, they indicate there is room to improve in areas they deem very important: economic development, energy independence, education, and work.


Garrett Ballengee is the Executive Director of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.


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