Poll shows respondents skeptical of big business

CHARLESTON, — West Virginians may be voting Republican more and more, but that doesn’t mean they’re more likely to trust big business.
That’s among the conclusions of the latest MetroNews/Dominion Post poll.
For Labor Day, the West Virginia poll took a look at how West Virginians view big business.
“There is some skepticism of big business, not necessarily small business,” said professional pollster Rex Repass, who designed the poll.
Fifty-eight percent of poll respondents said government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest.
On the flip side, 42 percent said government regulation of business usually does more harm than good.
The greater acceptance of regulation has grown since 2014, when the West Virginia poll asked the same question in cooperation with Pew Research.
“We found, at that time, that West Virginia voters are growing in their conservative point of view,” Repass said.
West Virginia has continued its march toward Republican dominance at the voting booth, with the GOP controlling all but one of the state’s congressional seats, the governor’s office, all but one of the other elected offices in the executive branch and the majorities in the Legislature.
Many of the Republican elected leaders consistently describe a desire to reduce regulatory burdens on business.
When new House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, took office last week, he described a desire to see economic growth, but he acknowledged a need for some regulatory safeguards.
“They need a friendly business environment and by that I don’t necessarily mean complete absence of regulation,” he told Beckley’s Register-Herald newspaper.
“A lot of folks say that and when they say friendly business environment to some that’s code for we just need to abolish all regulations.”
Hanshaw also talked about economic growth as a way for entrepreneurs to take chances and succeed.
“We can’t wait on outside forces to come save us. We have to be willing to do some of that work on our own,” he said on WVMetroNews’ “Talkline. “We have to make sure we have an environment here where people can be entrepreneurial.”
Hanshaw added, “While we certainly welcome investments in West Virginia, we need to do more to make sure West Virginians can start businesses, grow businesses.”

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