CHARLESTON -- The majority of voters in West Virginia see job creation as the most pressing issue and believe lawsuits are hampering job growth, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted for West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, shows that 98 percent of those surveyed believe improving the state's economy and job offerings is a top priority. And 51 percent see lawsuits hurting job creation in the state.

The survey was just completed by a local opinion research firm for WV CALA.

Among voters most interested in the election, 48 percent do not agree that the most recent legislative session addressed their most important issue, according to WV CALA.

"West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse agrees with voters that the most recent legislative session failed to do anything to help create jobs,” Greg Thomas, executive director of WV CALA, said in a  press release.

“The lack of leadership at the Legislature on legal reform issues has created a situation where the majority of West Virginians want new leadership.”

A plurality of those surveyed, 38 percent, believe that lawsuit reforms would have a positive impact on our state’s economy and job market. A majority of the West Virginians surveyed, 53 percent, support the creation of an intermediate appellate court, the press release states.

Of voters most interested in the election, half agree that West Virginia has one of the worst legal systems in the country. Additionally, the poll found that 51 percent of those surveyed believe West Virginia is on the wrong track.

“That’s no surprise given the fact that West Virginia has the lowest percentage of people working and was one of only two states in the country that lost population last year,” Thomas said. “60 percent of voters agree that electing new leaders to the West Virginia Legislature will help address these issues.

“We have a choice of more lawsuits or more jobs”

The survey, conducted by MBE Research, questioned 400 registered West Virginia voters on March 17 and March 18.

The president of the West Virginia Association for Justice recently authored an op-ed that was published by The West Virginia Record. In it, Bernie Layne says CALA is perpetuating a fraud on the state.

“When you look at independent analyses, completed by organizations not on the corporate payroll like CALA, you get a very different picture about small business concerns and our legal climate,” Layne said.

“The truth is that Greg Thomas and CALA do not care about West Virginia’s economy and small businesses. They are willing to destroy our free market system and our constitutional rights in order to increase the profits of their billion-dollar corporate backers—even at the expense of state-owned businesses.”

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