A brand new Zogby Analytics online survey of 320 likely voters in West Virginia conducted 9/27/17 -9/30/17 with a MOE of +/-5.5 percentage points shows in a little more than one month's time President Trump's approval has increased from 48% to 59% among West Virginia voters, while 36% disapprove and 5% are not sure (numbers are based on strongly and somewhat attributes combined). Trump receives strong numbers among voters such as men (68%), women (50%), millennials (57%), independents (53%), investor class voters (58%), creative class voters (62%), NASCAR fans (72%), Walmart shoppers (64%), and even some democrats (42%). It's no surprise Trump is popular in West Virginia, he made it point to campaign there on bringing back coal industry jobs to the state, and rolling back regulations that some saw as damaging to the coal industry. As of late, Trump has been outspoken on a number of issues, especially whether or not NFL players should kneel during the national anthem at games in protest of police brutality and inequality. When Trump gets confrontational with these sorts of issues it fires up his base and that's what happened in West Virginia!
Our online survey also indicates West Virginians believe coal is essential to their future. The coal industry was hurt during the Obama presidency, whose policies made a concerted effort to curb the harmful effects of pollution caused by coal burning power plants. Donald Trump campaigned against this very notion and promised to roll back regulations that hurt the coal industry, and promised to bring back tens of thousands of coal related jobs to areas such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania, so it's no surprise that voters in West Virginia want that promise to be acted upon. Time will tell if Trump can back-up this promise-technology and clean air laws have reduced coal production dramatically in recent years.
Based on Trump’s executive actions and statistics touted by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt (which are disputed by some) there has been an increase in coal production and coal related jobs in West Virginia since 2016. The difference of opinion as to how many jobs have been created stem from how the BLS categorizes certain coal related jobs. Currently, West Virginians are optimistic about the coal industry’s future, but are a little skeptical about how their personal finances have been impacted so far. A plurality (38%) of voters think their personal finances will be better four years from now, while 16% say worse off and a third think they will be about the same. Only a third of voters (32%) say their finances are better off since the election of Donald Trump, while 26% say worse off and 36% say about the same. As of right now people and their wallets have mixed views when it comes to whether there has been an improvement in coal industry jobs and the economy of West Virginia.