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Survey finds concerns with economy, jobs

October 3, 2018

CHARLESTON — In an AARP WV poll being released this week, West Virginia voters age 50 and over are united in their concern over the economy, the opioid crisis, health care and personal finance issues.

The 2018 West Virginia Voters 50+ Report, by AARP West Virginia, found that jobs and the economy are incredibly top-of-mind among West Virginia’s 50+ voters – outpacing concerns about the opioid crisis, healthcare and education. Even among voters 65 or older, jobs are the top response with 43 percent of respondents saying it is the single most important issue. While two-thirds of West Virginia 50-plus voters say the national economy is growing and half say the state’s economy is getting stronger, seven in 10 West Virginians say they are not getting ahead in their personal financial situation.

The poll results are being released over a three-day period — Oct. 2-4 — in newspapers and on newspaper websites across West Virginia, giving readers a chance to review and comment online on the results of the poll.

Health care costs are keeping more West Virginians up at night, followed by job issues, and partisanship and division in the national political discourse. A majority of West Virginia’s 50-plus voters (53 percent) say they very often worry about how divided their country has become. Closely following, they very often worry about the opioid crisis (43 percent), and rising prices and stagnant wages (35 percent).

The non-profit, non-partisan organization, which counts nearly 300,000 West Virginians among its members, surveyed voters age 50 and older in 20 states between August and September 2018, to assess what would be on their minds when they cast their ballots this fall.

“AARP hopes that this survey will serve as a catalyst to substantive discussions among the 2018 candidates on all of these issues which are clearly of paramount importance to the health and financial well-being of West Virginians 50-plus,” said AARP West Virginia State Director Gaylene Miller. “AARP West Virginia stands ready to work with current and future lawmakers to find viable longterm solutions that make sense for West Virginians and their families.”

AARP does not endorse candidates, have a political action committee, or make contributions to political parties, political campaigns or candidates. AARP’s “Be the Difference. Vote” campaign is designed to encourage older Americans to make their voices heard at the ballot box this fall. For more information on the campaign and to pledge to vote in this year’s elections, go to www.aarp.org/vote.

The poll, conducted by Berenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group, surveyed 950 likely West Virginia voters between Aug. 21-26, 2018 — 724 likely voters over the age of 50, and 226 likely voters ages 18-49 — and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. For more information on the survey, visit AARP West Virginia on Facebook and on Twitter @ AARPWV.

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