How Oregon Stacks Up in Performance Compared to Other States

Oregonians rate whether our state is doing better, worse, or about average in key performance areas compared to other states.

Map featuring Oregon and bordering states

From February 11th through 17th, 2021, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs, including how they rate Oregon’s job performance compared to other states. Respondents were provided a randomized series of job performance metrics and were asked to rate how Oregon is doing on each compared to other states (much better, somewhat better, about average, somewhat worse, and much worse)(Q5-9). This online survey consisted of 600 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Responses were analyzed and categorized to allow for a better understanding of trends in Oregonians’ values and beliefs. The survey’s margin of error, for the full sample, ranges from ±2.4% to ±4.0% depending on how the response category percentages split for any given question. 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.

Certainty in the Strength of Our Communities

  • There is only one job performance metric where Oregonians feel Oregon is performing better (either much or somewhat) than other states: Being a state where everyday people work together to solve community problems (31% better vs. 28% worse). This is corroborated by DHM Research survey results from 2019, where Oregonians also rated this metric as the one the state performs best compared to other states (Q9)1.
  • Younger Oregonians ages 18-29 are more likely than older residents ages 65+ to think Oregon does better than other states at being a place where everyday people work together to solve community problems (45% vs. 27%)(Q9).
  • For all of the tested performance metrics, “about average” was the most common response. This was also the case in 2019, perhaps indicating that Oregonians do not have strong opinions on these metrics or do not have the requisite information to distinguish between how well different states are performing (Q5-9).

Performance Areas Receiving Higher Positive Scores, But Not Reaching 50%

Looking at overall “better” scores, where Oregonians think the state performs either much or somewhat better than other states, here is how Oregon stacks up:

  • A state where small and mid-sized businesses can thrive (29% say Oregon performs better vs. 36% say Oregon performs worse). Younger Oregonians ages 18-29 are twice as likely as those ages 65+ to say Oregon performs better (40% vs. 20%)(Q8).
  • A state where every person has an equal opportunity to get ahead if they work hard (25% better vs. 28% worse). Scores for “better” declined six points from 2019 (31%), a potential trend worth cracking (Q5).
  • A state where local and state government are trusted to effectively deliver services (23% better vs. 42% worse). It is interesting that during a pandemic where demand for public services is high, this score is relatively unchanged from 2019 (25% vs. 38%)(Q7).
  • A state where income and wealth are distributed fairly (15% better vs. 35% worse). This is the performance metric with the largest negative differential at 20 points. Younger Oregonians ages 18-29 are nearly three times as likely as those ages 65+ to say Oregon performs better than other states on this metric (23% vs. 8%)(Q6).

Demographic Trends

Identifying What Unites Us and Understanding What Divides Us

  • Oregonians of color and whites are in strong agreement as to how Oregon is performing as a state where everyday people work together to solve community problems, with these groups awarding nearly identical scores on this metric (Oregonians of color: 32% better vs. 28% worse; whites: 31% better vs. 27% worse)(Q9).
  • Oregonians of color and whites do differ notably on two of the performance metrics. Oregonians of color are more likely than whites to think Oregon is performing better than other states in terms of being a place where income and wealth are distributed fairly (26% vs. 14%). This trend is also observed when it comes to Oregon’s performance as a state where every person has an equal opportunity to get ahead if they work hard, with Oregonians of color more likely than whites to think Oregon is doing better than other states (35% vs. 23%)(Q5,Q6).
  • Geographically speaking, urban residents are more likely than their rural counterparts to think that Oregon is performing better than other states on all these performance metrics, with notable gaps for the following:

A state where local and state government are trusted to effectively deliver services. Bar graph: Ubran 33%, Rural 12%, a 21-point difference
A state where small and mid-sized businesses can thrive. Bar Graph: Urban 41%, Rural 22%, a 19-point difference
A state where everyday people work together to solve community problems. Bar Graph: Urban 37%, Rural 23%, a 14-point difference

1Online survey conducted September 2019 on behalf of North Star Civic Foundation; N=562.

The research was completed as a community service by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, an independent and non-partisan organization. OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (www.oregonvbc.org).

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