In December of 2017, PolicyInteractive surveyed 1200 registered voters from four states, which was reduced to a sample size of 1103 after we removed invalided surveys. Of the 1103 respondents, 518 are registered to vote in Oregon. The four states, Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado, were mainly chosen to increase respondent numbers as well as to examine how Oregon might share political values with specific western states for collaborative purposes. Through this project, we made the discovery that Oregon is not as polarized as the November 2016 election results would suggest. Despite the stark red-and-blue divisions exposed by many of the choices on the ballot, most Oregonians share common ground on important issues — notably climate change and health care. Building on surveys conducted on a national scale by the Pew Research Group, this project involved sorting Oregonians into eight political archetypes or typologies, ranging from “Solid Liberals” on the far left to “Core Conservatives” on the far right. We found that in Oregon, only 30 percent hold opinions that place them in those solid blue liberal or bright red conservative outer bands of the political spectrum. The remaining 70 percent comprise six other voter archetypes in which liberal and conservative ideas are mixed in surprising ways. Of 25 defining topics often parlayed as divisive, only five can be observed as truly contested. The larger picture displays opportunities for cooperation and progress on challenging topics most Oregonians want solutions on.
The continuation of the 1992 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey, the 2002 Oregon Values and Beliefs study included more than 2,600 Oregonians from across the state. A statewide telephone survey was conducted in November of 2002 of 1200 randomly selected respondents, with 300 interviews each from the Portland Metro Area, Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, and Western Oregon. Regional large group discussions were also conduced in Medford, Klamath Falls, Salem, Eugene, Roseburg, Bend, Pendleton, Beaverton, and Clackamas. It provides valid and statistically reliable information at the regional level and by age, gender, income and education. In addition to conventional opinion surveys, the study also used large group discussions and scaled comparisons as a means of ranking abstract qualities such as personal values, personal activities, and attitudes about government services. Respondents were asked about their communities, the economy, education, government services, as well as funding public services. Trends emerged revealing a set of “Core Values” that Oregonians share, some of which endure from the 1992 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey, some of which have changed, and some of which are just beginning to emerge.
The first Oregon Values and Beliefs Study was conducted during the months of July and August of 1992. The study involved several thousand hours of face-to-face survey interviews of 1,361 Oregonians in each of the state’s 36 counties. Furthermore, the study divided Oregon into four regions (Tri County, Southern Oregon, Western Oregon [including Lane County, the balance of the Willamette Valley, and the Oregon Coast], and Eastern Oregon), so that additional analysis could be conducted within each region. The purpose of the study was to explore the underlying core values of Oregonians, gain understanding about those values where differences exist, enrich debate of policy issues by providing a clear understanding of core values and beliefs, allow for conclusions to be drawn regarding public sentiment on key issues confronting Oregon, and provide a scientifically sound benchmark of core values which may be periodically measured. Survey topics ranged from public issues of today to personal perceptions and beliefs. The study identified share core values among Oregonians, including the importance of family, the value of employment and the economic conditions which create employment, the value of education, and the appreciation of Oregon’s environmental features.