6:00: Morning News

West Virginia Poll: support for masks, uncertainty about vaccine

Likely voters in West Virginia say a national mask mandate would be a good idea, and most say they wear a mask when they enter public places.

But West Virginians are split on whether they’re ready to trust a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Those are among the findings of the latest round of the MetroNews West Virginia Poll.

When likely voters were asked how often they wear a mask when in stores, restaurants or other businesses, 73 percent said always and another 14 percent said most of the time.

Only 4 percent said most of the time, and 2 percent said never.

Rex Repass

“People appear to be compliant on the mask order. Some are more compliant than others,” said Rex Repass, president of Research America, which conducts the West Virginia Poll.

Gov. Jim Justice has issued a statewide mask mandate and has urged people to comply. “Wear your mask,” he says.

The West Virginia Poll also asked likely voters their views of several measures to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Sixty-eight percent said they favor a national mask mandate in public, with 25 percent opposed.

There was significant support for keeping elements of society open.

Forty-seven percent said favor people returning to work in their office or place of business while 30 percent think that’s a bad idea and 22 percent aren’t sure.

There was a split on reopening restaurants for people to eat inside, with 43 percent favoring that and 42 percent saying it’s a bad idea. Fifteen percent said they’re not sure.

Poll participants expressed particular caution about youth activities.

Thirty-seven percent said it’s a good idea to let children play in local or school sports, while 48 percent were thought that’s a bad idea. Fifteen percent were unsure.

On returning to classrooms, 36 percent said that’s a good idea and 46 percent said it’s a bad idea. Nineteen percent said they’re unsure.

“Looks like there’s quite a bit of angst about students returning to school.,” Repass said.

Justice has said everything possible is being done to ensure safety in classrooms and that so far numbers show they are. The state Department of Education on Thursday afternoon showed 21 school outbreaks of two or more cases.

“We’re trying with all in us to make the schools the safest place that we can be, for our teachers, our service personnel, our kids,” Justice said during a briefing this week. “For crying out loud, no one wants to endanger our children.”

Just 28 percent said it’s a good idea to allow large groups attend religious, social or sporting events.

But one factor in that question is likely how the respondent defines “large groups.”

“What is large? Is a one-third full football stadium at Marshall or WVU large?” Repass said.

“The public tend to align the question with their own beliefs. How do they define large or how do they define a religious ceremony as crowded?

If a vaccine against coronavirus were available right now, West Virginians are divided on whether they would trust it.

“We have quite split here,” Repass said.

Twenty-seven percent said they would definitely get the vaccine and another 27 percent said they probably would get the vaccine.

Meanwhile, 24 percent said they definitely would not get the vaccine and 22 percent said they probably would not get the vaccine.

The poll shows that men are more likely than women to say they would get the vaccine.

More than 60 percent of men say they definitely would or probably would get it. But 51 percent of women say they probably or definitely would not.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll was conducted between Oct. 1-6 among a sample of 450 West Virginia registered voters who are likely to vote in the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election. The overall confidence interval for the survey is +/- 4.6 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.


The West Virginia Poll also asked likely voters whether they watched the Sept. 29 presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden — and who won.

Seventy-four percent of respondents said they watched it, while 26 percent said they did not.

Of the West Virginia likely voters who watched, 54 percent said Trump won and 46 percent said Biden won.

“This clearly aligns with support,” Repass said, referring to earlier polling that showed Trump with a significant lead in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Poll showed that 91 percent of Republicans said Trump won, 82 percent of Democrats said Biden won, and among independents, 56 percent said Biden won.

Across the country, Biden’s polling lead has grown since the debate with Trump still trying to recover from criticism of his performance that included frequent interruptions.

A town hall debate that had been set for Thursday was canceled when Trump refused to participate after an announcement that it was being moved to a virtual format following the president’s bout with coronavirus.

The final debate between Trump and Biden is set for Oct. 22.

WV Poll 10 16 Release (Text)

Methodology Statement

Results of this edition of MetroNews West Virginia Poll are based on interviews conducted between Oct. 1-6, 2020 with a sample of 450 West Virginia registered voters who are likely to vote in the upcoming November 3rd national general election, including registered Democrats, Republicans, Libertarian, Mountain Party, and unaffiliated or independent voters. Data collection was completed online and by telephone with purchased sample of registered voters who are likely to vote in general elections.

Registered likely voters in all 55 West Virginia counties were sampled and screened for near certainty that they plan to vote. After completion of data collection, the data was modeled to likely voters, actual voter registration in the state, and expected turnout.

When using sample of registered voters and hybrid data collection (online and telephone) it is not appropriate to apply a probability-based margin of error to interviews completed. However, applying statistical tests of significance to each question asked at the 95 percent confidence interval yields an overall statistical error of +/- 4.6 percentage points based on the 450 interviews. The 95 percent confidence interval varies by question.

The purpose of the West Virginia Poll is to provide a snapshot of opinion and timely voter views in the Mountain State. The media sponsor of the West Virginia Poll is MetroNews Radio Network.

Rex Repass is director of the West Virginia Poll and president of Research America Inc. Repass is responsible for questionnaire design, the respondent screening and selection process, data tabulation, statistical analysis, and reporting of results.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll is a non-partisan survey of public opinion conducted by Repass and Research America Inc. The West Virginia Poll has been directed by Repass and conducted periodically since January 21, 1980. The name The West Virginia Poll is a trademark owned by Research America Inc; all rights reserved.

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