"We certainly do not have the advertising budget that MTV has," she said. "Or the reach."
Over the last decade, more and more people have been coming to the state to vacation, she said, which indicates that those working in tourism are making headway in attracting people to West Virginia based on its merits.
It's important, Bailey said, to remember that some of the things the country associates with West Virginia are true - the terms "natural," "small town" and "friendly" were used by nearly half the people surveyed by Widmeyer - and can work in the state's favor.
"I do believe we should remember that as irritating as the whole premise of this show is, because we believe it sensationalizes stereotypes, it is acting," she said. "They auditioned for this, and we shouldn't think of it as reality just because they call it a reality show."
Of course, there's still a lot of work to do: the survey also found that 16 percent of people weren't sure that West Virginia is an independent state. As many as 8 percent actually identified it as a part of Virginia.
"To comment on that would be commenting on our (national) school system," Bailey said. "I do think it's an opportunity, though, to show people who aren't familiar with us what we're all about."
Widmeyer is a West Virginia native and graduate of WVU. His work on the survey was pro bono, and he presented the findings at the Governor's Conference on Tourism in October.
The Widmeyer survey polled 1,000 adults online between Oct. 2 and 5. It used IP addresses to pinpoint the location of responders and adjusted results to account for differences between the Internet-using population and the general population. The margin of error was 3 percent.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.