The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 28, 2013

Poll takes voters pulse on wide range of issues

West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

— What’s on your mind, West Virginia?

Are you in sync with the policies of President Obama?

Is the state moving in the right direction on job creation?

And how do you feel about college football? For instance, should the one-sided West Virginia-Marshall rivalry be revived?

Hoping to feel the pulse of voters, the state Chamber of Commerce expects to release the results of the West Virginia poll during its annual business summit next month at The Greenbrier.

“We will be looking at the attitude of West Virginians,” Chamber President Steve Roberts said Friday.

“We’ll specifically be looking at what the voters think about the Barack Obama agenda and how it has had an impact in West Virginia. We’ll be asking whether they think the nation is on the right track or the wrong track.”

Sprinkled in with all the heavy political inquiries will be a few in the world of sports.

“We typically in that poll even ask a few sports questions to see what they’re thinking about the teams and who’s going to do what and who’s going to do the best,” Roberts said.

And we’ll be asking whether they think the WVU-Marshall (football) game ought to continue.”

That series began in 1911 and has covered a dozen games, including a brief revival known as the “Coal Bowl,” and the Mountaineers have come out on top in every outing. The closest matches were in the first contest, a 17-15 victory for WVU, and in 2010, when the Mountaineers prevailed, 24-21.

In the 1915 season, WVU pasted the Thundering Herd, 81-0, following a 92-6 stomping eight years earlier.

“Mostly, it’s going to be about public policy, whether we’re creating enough jobs, whether we’re creating jobs fast enough,” Roberts said.

“They probably will be asked the question whether they think the Legislature has helped or hurt in job creation.”

Moreover, the poll will examine whether West Virginia is undergoing a political shift that could dramatically change the climate, the Chamber said.

This year, the House of Delegates found itself with 46 Republican lawmakers — most in more than eight decades.

Conducted by Repass & Partners Inc., the poll will be released Aug. 30, at the midway point of the three-day business gathering that will feature a number of political luminaries.

“In more than 30 years of conducting this poll, we know that West Virginians are very insightful about issues that affect their lives,” Roberts said.

“Over the years, results of the West Virginia Poll have had an impact on legislative initiatives and other issues important to state residents.”

The first such poll was conducted in 1980 and was revived by the Chamber three years ago.

“It’s been a hit ever since,” Roberts said.

“Everybody looks forward to it. It’s a pretty good predictor of what’s going to happen. In elections, it really has predicted accurately what’s going to happen. It predicted last year that Sen. (Jay) Rockefeller was not going to seek re-election because his popularity was such he would have a fight on his hands.”

— E-mail: