Oregon Policies and Programs Already in Effect

Oregonians support 10-cent deposit and redemption and vote by mail, but are unsure about closed partisan primary elections

On January 8th through 13th, 2021, we asked Oregonians whether they support or are opposed to several policies that are already in place in Oregon. Their responses were analyzed and categorized to allow for a better understanding of trends in Oregonians’ values and beliefs. Findings will include a citation of the relevant question, which can be referenced in the annotated questionnaire and tabs at the bottom of the page.

Supported by the Majority of Oregonians: Bottle and Can Deposit, Vote by Mail, Hydropower, and Urban Growth Boundaries

  • Of the policies, we asked about, the 10-cent deposit and redemption program for cans and bottles receives the most support. This program has 86% overall support and 65% strong support. Only 10% of Oregonians are opposed to this program and 4% are unsure, perhaps due to strong familiarity with bottle return programs in Oregon. Oregon’s Bottle Bill was introduced in 1971 as the very first bottle bill in the U.S. (Q1)
  • The next most popular policy is vote by mail, with 74% overall support and 54% strong support. Two in ten (18%) are opposed. Overall support is notably high among older Oregonians age 65+ (88%), a vulnerable population due to the COVID-19 pandemic who were able to vote safely from home. During the 2000 General Election, Oregon was the first state in U.S. history to determine its electoral votes for president entirely by mail. (Q3)
  • Following voting by mail, the next highest-rated program is generating hydropower from dams in the Columbia River (69% overall support, 36% strong support). A high percentage of Oregonians are unsure about this energy source (19%). (Q6)
  • Next in popularity are urban growth boundaries for cities and metropolitan areas (57% overall support, 24% strong support). A sizeable 26% of Oregonians are unsure about this policy, interesting because UGBs have been around in Oregon since the early 1970s. (Q7)

Less Popular: Personal Income Tax and Closed Partisan Primary Elections

  • Fewer than half of Oregon’s residents support the personal income tax (44% support, 14% strongly support). Four in ten (39%) are opposed. Support differed slightly among Oregonians making $50-100k per year vs. those making more than $100k per year (40% vs. 49%). (Q2)
  • Closed partisan primary elections received the least support for the policies included in the survey, with an equal 29% in support and 29% opposed. What really stands out is a plurality of Oregonians (42%) say they are unsure. Unsure responses are 40% or higher across all political affiliations. (Q5)

Demographic Trends

Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.

  • Urban and rural voters are in total agreement on a 10-cent deposit and redemption program, with 84% of both groups supporting such a program. Urban and rural voters are also largely in alignment on voting by mail (73% and 70% support, respectively) and generating hydropower from dams on the Columbia River (68% and 70%) but differed on urban growth boundaries for cities and metro areas (63% and 48%). (Q1, Q3, Q6, Q7)
  • White Oregonians and people of color are also in agreement on a 10-cent deposit and redemption program (86% and 83% support, respectively). Furthermore, the difference in support between white Oregonians and people of color does not exceed 10 points for any of the tested policies and programs. (Q1-7)

The research was completed as a community service by DHM Research in partnership with the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center. Both organizations are independent and non-partisan. DHM Research is a Certified B Corporation (www.dhmresearch.com) and OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (www.oregonvbc.org).

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