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Poll: West Virginians believe policies supporting non-discrimination will make the state more attractive to business

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A poll conducted by Norman Analytics and Research with Mark Blankenship Enterprises indicates that a wide margin of West Virginian residents believe policies supporting non-discrimination will make the state more attractive to large corporations and more job growth.

Results of the poll, conducted in November 2021, were revealed Monday in Charleston as part of the 5th Annual Opportunity West Virginia Diversity Luncheon. The telephone poll surveyed over 400 registered voter participants.

According to the results, state residents support state-focused policies that would strengthen non-discrimination laws by an eight-to-one margin with 81% support. Three out of five voters, 62% in the poll, feel the state’s economy is worse than neighboring states and making non-discrimination policies a priority would improve the state’s economic growth.

“West Virginians understand Fortune 100 companies are prioritizing nondiscrimination in their corporate values and human resource policies,” Jill Rice, Executive Director of Opportunity West Virginia, said in a release.

Jill Rice

“We are proud to have strong support of West Virginia employers today that have made that commitment. The poll data today outlines nondiscrimination policy support is a key factor of the economic development puzzle in attracting and retaining jobs.”

Rice told MetroNews at the event, which featured sectors of banking, utilities, service industry, and manufacturing, it;’s important to meet right before the 2022 regular legislative session and gather policy ideas. The session gets underway Wednesday.

“West Virginians are interested in seeing West Virginia progress and move forward economically and understand in order to do that, we need to promote a non-discrimination policy. Because that’s what corporations and businesses are interested in,” she told MetroNews.

VIEW: Results of the Opportunity West Virginia polling

Opportunity West Virginia reported that overall in the poll, 75% of West Virginians supported protections for LGBTQ populations and agreed protections add benefit to the workforce. There was not a differentiation among party lines as the support for LGBTQ had bipartisan approval with 75% of Republicans supporting non-discrimination policies, a release said.

“We can’t move backward. We can’t adopt and promote policies that promote the wrong message about economic development in West Virginia. West Virginia is open to all people,” Rice said.

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