According to a new public opinion poll with a margin of error of 4.4 percent, a majority of West Virginians now favor regulation. A majority also believe recent events could happen again if no action is taken.
Seventy-three percent of voters polled agreed West Virginia has paid too little attention to addressing threats to air and water, and that the Elk River spill should change that, according to the survey.
Voters of all ages, education levels, incomes and political persuasions agreed, with particularly high agreement — 82 percent — among seniors. [...]
Among other things, the survey found most West Virginians polled do not believe the Freedom Industries spill is an isolated incident. Seven out of 10 voters said serious incidents like the spill would occur unless preventative action is taken. [...]
More than two-thirds of those polled said stronger regulations and better enforcement of existing regulations would have prevented the spill. Fifty-seven percent said federal and state agencies should have stronger standards to prevent future such incidents.
This is all well and good, but will it translate into votes?
Does concern over the local environment and access to clean water outweigh prejudice and animosity? Does concern for the safety of children outweigh the desire to “trim the fat” from government?
It remains to be seen.