September 06, 2018

Room for (real) populism in West Virginia

Say what you want about the political attitudes of West Virginians. Everyone else has, including me. But things are complicated here.

Earlier this week, WV MetroNews and the Dominion Post released a poll about the attitudes of West Virginians towards big business. It might surprise some people. Among the findings:

*58 percent of respondents believed that government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public. Guess that means we haven't forgotten all the for-profit disasters that have killed or maimed so many state residents over the years;

*88 percent believed that too much power was concentrated in the hands of a few corporations;

*72 percent believed that corporations were making too much in profit.

All of these numbers are up significantly from a similar 2014 poll. The poll surveyed 404 West Virginians from all counties and has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

The upshot seems to me to be that people here are open to a real populist message and agenda if there's a willingness to put one forward.

If we don't, to paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

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