Policy Changes: Sales Tax, Pumping Gas, and Liquor in Grocery Stores

Oregonians share their opinions on a few policies that set our state apart from most others.

On January 8th through 13th, 2021, we asked Oregonians if they would support or oppose certain policy changes in our state including a state sales tax, people being allowed to pump their own gas, and allowing the sale of liquor in grocery stores. 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.

State Sales Tax

  • Three out of four Oregonians (75%) oppose a state sales tax, including 59% who strongly oppose such a policy change. Overall, support for a state sales tax is 17% and 8% say they are unsure. Support tends to increase among higher-income Oregonians, but no demographic groups reach 30% support for this policy change. (Q20)
  • A state sales tax paired with a reduction in the state personal income tax is supported by nearly twice as many Oregonians (32%) as a standalone state sales tax. However, one-half of Oregonians (50%) still oppose this policy change and 36% are in strong opposition. Again, support is strongest among higher-income earners. (Q21)
  • Perhaps because a state sales tax is often viewed as a potential funding vehicle for schools, support for both a sales tax and a sales tax paired with a reduction in the state personal income tax is higher among Oregonians who have school-aged children in the household than those without. (Q20-21)

Pumping Our Own Gas

  • Support is much stronger for a policy change that would allow drivers in Oregon to pump their own gas (63% overall support; 34% strongly support). Support is higher than 50% across all age groups, genders, ethnicities, political parties, income levels, and areas of the state. Oregon and New Jersey are the only states that have laws against people pumping their own gas.

Liquor Sales in Grocery Stores

  • The policy change that shows the highest support is to allow liquor sales at grocery stores (65% overall support; 38% strongly support). With a few exceptions, support was 60% or higher across the major demographic groups and reached or exceeded 70% among Democrats (70%) and those making at least $100k per year (77%). (Q23)

Demographic Trends

Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.

  • On the proposed policy changes of a state sales tax and a state sales tax paired with a reduction in the state personal income tax, there is a modest urban/rural divide, with urban Oregonians showing stronger support for both policies than their rural counterparts (sales tax: 21% vs. 13%support; sales tax with reduction: 38% vs. 28% support). (Q20-21)
  • However, there is strong consensus support among urban and rural Oregonians to allow drivers to pump their own gas and to allow liquor sales in grocery stores (self-pumping gas: 63% vs. 65% support; liquor sales: 68% vs. 66% support). (Q22-23)
  • The strong consensus support is also evident across different ethnic groups. For self-pumping gas, support is 64% for white Oregonians and 59% for people of color. For liquor sales, support is 65% for whites and 67% for people of color. (Q22-23)

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