Poll: Growing number of Oregonians frustrated with state’s direction

Civic Affairs

Downtown Portland during the coronavirus pandemic, April 24, 2020. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More Oregonians are frustrated with how things are going in the state since April, according to polling data released Tuesday that also surveyed how residents feel about policing and the Black Lives Matter protests.

The online survey, conducted by DHM Research and the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center from July 14-July 22, found 33% of Oregonians “feel the state is headed in the right direction,” down from 51% in April and 43% in June. The poll found 46% feel Oregon is on the wrong track.

Twenty-two percent of respondents cited controlling the spread of COVID-19 as the most important community issue they wanted to see elected officials act on, followed by racial injustice issues at 14%, homelessness/affordable housing issues at 13% and the issue of “law and order, rioters and destruction” at 11%.

DHM Research reports the last time they saw Oregonians this negative about the state’s direction was in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The polling firm found Willamette Valley residents are the most negative about the state’s direction, with only 26% approving the state’s trajectory, followed by 35% in the Portland area and 37% across the rest of the state.

The survey, which polled just over 600 Oregonians, found some mixed results when it came to local and nationwide policing. A majority of the state’s residents disapprove of “the job performance of police in the United States,” according to the polling data, but most Oregonians approve of how police in their community are doing their jobs.

A majority of Oregonians also agreed that police treat white people better than Black people, according to the poll, but the opinions were largely influenced by factors such as political party, location, age and education. The poll also found that support for the Black Lives Matter movement had increased since 2018, with 66% supporting it compared to 54% more than two years ago, following the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, whose deaths have fueled a resurgence in protests against racial injustice across the country and in Portland.

The survey also asked about police reform policies they supported, with 91% of respondents wanting police officers to be required to intervene and stop excessive use of force by other officers.

The survey’s release comes after more than two months of nightly Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, with the majority of demonstrations concentrated outside of the Multnomah County Justice Center downtown.

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