What are Oregonians Thinking?

OBI survey identifies key issues for Oregon voters

Published Tuesday, November 26, 2019 12:20 pm

Oregon voters are giving mixed reviews to a handful of proposed measures aimed at the 2020 general ballot, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) in October.

The same survey showed voters overall feel positive about the state’s economy and their personal financial situations.

“As we review issues facing Oregon, we want to know what voters across our state are thinking,” said Sandra McDonough, OBI president and CEO. “It’s clear that Oregonians have given a lot of thought to the challenges facing our state and how these issues will impact their own families and their neighbors.”

Moore Information Group conducted the survey for OBI, contacting 823 registered voters statewide by phone Oct. 23-29. The large sample makes it possible to look at regional differences in the opinions expressed by the individuals surveyed.

Key findings include:

  • Homelessness is the top issue facing Oregonians, especially with voters in the Portland-metro area. Housing affordability ranked second and was of roughly equal concern across all regions of the state.
  • A plurality of the respondents felt positive about the state’s economy and their own personal financial situation. However, seven out of 10 respondents on the Oregon Coast and six of 10 in Eastern Oregon said children in their region, once out of school, will have to move elsewhere to find a good job.
  • Some 37% of respondents disapproved of the Legislature’s 2019 performance, while 27% approved. And 52% disapproved of Gov. Kate Brown’s performance, while 37% approved.
  • About six in 10 respondents indicated they believe business can be trusted to do the right thing when it comes to protecting the environment and treating workers fairly.
  • And 58% said they were dissatisfied with the quality of education in Oregon’s public schools.
  • A majority of those surveyed indicated support for the proposed cigarette tax increase as well as the proposed constitutional amendment to allow limits on campaign contributions. On the other hand, a majority opposed a proposed ballot measure to limit self-check-out stands to two per grocery store.
  • There was no consensus among respondents about whether the state is doing enough to address climate change. Some 42% of the respondents were aware of the recent legislative discussions about cap and trade and, of those, about half said they opposed the policy.
  • There was also no consensus about a willingness to pay for climate change measures. While 40% of the respondents said they would be willing to pay $10 per month or more to solve the problem, almost 40% said they would only be willing to pay $10 or less.
  • Cost also impacts views of a proposed ballot measure to require 100% of electricity in Oregon to come from renewable sources by 2045.
    • That measure achieved 58% support (32% opposed) when the question was asked without information about potential costs.
    • The proposal was especially strong in Multnomah County, where 74% of respondents indicated support.
    • However, when the respondents were told the measure could result in significantly higher electricity costs, support fell to 43%, and opposition increased to 43%. Support for the measure declined in all regions of Oregon when respondents were asked to consider cost.

The full survey can be found here.