Hopes for 2021 and the Economy

As we begin 2021, do Oregonians feel the state is on the right track? What are their hopes for the year ahead?

On January 8th through 13th, 2021, we asked Oregonians a series of questions about their hopes for 2021, and their feelings about how our state is doing right now. 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.

How Oregonians Feel About Our State Right Now

  • More Oregonians feel that the state is off on the wrong track (44%) than headed in the right direction (35%). This perception is more negative than in May-June 2020 when 43% said things were headed in the right direction. (Q2)
  • This negative perception is likely tied, at least in part, to views on the economy. Only two in ten Oregonians rate the economic conditions in the state as excellent or good (2% and 16%, respectively). Compare that to eight in ten who rate the conditions as only fair or poor (47% and 31%). Additionally, Oregonians are more than four times as likely to say economic conditions in the state are getting worse than better (47% vs. 11%). (Q3-4)

Personal Finances

  • While Oregonians continue to be anxious about their own personal financial situations, they have shown decreased concern over time. 53% say they are very or somewhat worried about their finances, down from 63% in a survey conducted in March, shortly after Governor Brown’s stay-at-home order went into effect. Concern is higher among women than men (64% vs. 41%) and renters compared to homeowners (67% vs. 41%). (Q5)

Hope for the Year Ahead

  • Oregonians express optimism about what lies ahead in 2021, with 59% either very or somewhat optimistic about 2021. This overall optimism may be tied to increasing COVID-19 vaccine availability. There is, however, an optimism gap between Democrats and Republicans (65% vs. 51%). Higher optimism among Democrats particularly may be tied to their party assuming control of the presidency and the U.S. Senate in 2021. (Q1)

Demographic Trends

Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.

  • On questions about the direction of the state, Oregonians in urban areas tend to express more optimism than those in rural parts of the state. For example, urban residents are nearly twice as likely to say Oregon is headed in the right direction (41% vs. 22%). When it comes to optimism about 2021, urban residents are more likely to be very or somewhat optimistic than their rural counterparts (65% vs. 51%). (Q1-2)
  • There are issues that unite the different areas of the state, such as concern about personal finances. More than 50% of urban, suburban, and rural Oregonians are either very or somewhat concerned, with little variation between groups. (Q5)
  • When it comes to optimism about 2021, we see another uniting trend, this time across different racial and ethnic groups. Namely, optimism is uniformly high for both white respondents and people of color (59% and 61%, respectively). Also, there is almost no difference of opinion between people of color and whites on whether Oregon is headed in the right direction vs. on the wrong track (Q1-2). There is however a difference between the two groups about their personal financial situation with people of color more likely to feel worried than whites (67% vs. 51%). (Q5)

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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Analysis and Reporting by: Ari Wubbold