March 1, 2016
This memo outlines findings from a recent public opinion poll in West Virginia on religious freedom.
Calls were made between February 28 and 29th, 2016 using computer-assisted live telephone interviewers. In total, we spoke with 400 registered voters in West Virginia and reached one-in-ten on a mobile phone. As with most public opinion surveys, data are slightly weighted to ensure a representative sample based on age, gender, race, region, registered party and cell-phone only households. The margin of error for this poll is +/- 4.9%, noting that margin of error on subsets of data will be higher.
Near Universal Support for Religious Freedom. Over nine-in-ten (93%) West Virginia voters agree that citizens of the state should be able to peacefully live and work according to their religious beliefs without fear of being unjustly punished by the government. Furthermore, a significant majority (82%) strongly feel this way.
Agreement is high and similar among people of different political affiliations, ages, genders and education levels.
Agree West Virginians Should Be Able to Live and Work According to Religious Beliefs Without Fear of Gov’t Punishment
Additionally, a similar number of West Virginians (90%) agree that individuals and organizations should be given a fair legal hearing if they believe the government has interfered with their right to religious freedom. Only a handful of voters (5%) disagree with the right to a legal hearing to evaluate religious freedom rights violations. Similarly, support for such legal hearings is high among all political affiliations (Democrats, 89%; Independents, 89%; Republicans 91%), age groups, genders and education levels.
Impact on Political Choices
Voters consider many different issues when selecting candidates, and in West Virginia religious freedom makes a difference for the majority of voters in the state. Three-quarters of voters surveyed are more 2
likely to support a candidate the stands up for a law to uphold the right to live and work according to religious beliefs. Just one-in-ten say support of such a law would turn them away from a candidate.
Registered Democrats are significantly more likely to say they would not support a candidate who backs religious freedom legislation (15%). However, a strong majority on the left (71%) still see the support of a religious liberty law as a positive candidate characteristic.
4% Less likely – strongly
6% Less likely
5% Make no difference
28% More likely
47% More likely – strongly
Impact of Voting for Candidate who Support Law to Uphold Right to Live and Work According to Religious Beliefs