Values and Beliefs at the end of a Challenging Year

As 2020 comes to a close, how are Oregonians feeling about where they live? What do they believe is the key to coming together?

On December 4th through 8th, 2020, we asked Oregonians a series of questions about what is important to them. 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.

Critical Issues in their Community, and Statewide

  • When asked about the most important issue that needed to be addressed in their area of the state, 29% of Oregonians answered that homelessness was most important. The next most common response was “affordable housing,” which was mentioned by only 8% of Oregonians. (Q2)
  • We also asked Oregonians what issue most needed to be addressed in order to assure the livability in their area. Homelessness (7%) and affordable housing (12%) were once more in the top 5 most common responses, along with economic issues (15%), global warming and environmental degradation (13%), and equity (10%). (Q26)
  • COVID-19 (21%) is considered to be the most critical issue facing the state of Oregon. Concerns included flattening the curve, vaccine distribution, and wise closures. (Q24)
  • 19% of Oregonians consider government responsibility as a critical statewide issue and listed concerns such as spending, socialism, character values, and tax reform. (Q24)

Why Oregonians Love Where They Live

  • When Oregonians are asked what they value most about living in their area of Oregon, the top three responses relate to the natural environment: scenic beauty/beautiful (19%), nature/green (14%), and weather/climate/seasons (11%). Proximity to what people value (whether that is shopping, outdoor recreation, nature, family, etc.) is also mentioned by 11% of respondents. (Q1)

The Bright Spots in a Difficult Year

  • When asked about an inspirational moment they experienced this year, people most frequently mention something having to do with family (21%) or a personal accomplishment (19%). (Q3)
  • Oregonians rate, and rank, participation in family as most important among ten core values and beliefs. (Q14-Q23)

Coming Together in the New Year

  • There is very little consensus among Oregonians as to how the state can come together and make progress addressing the challenges that lie ahead. The most frequent answers involve acceptance of differences (26%) and unity (16%), followed closely by change in government (15%). (Q25)
  • 10% of Oregonians don’t know how people could come together. (Q25)
  • Only 7% of Oregonians strongly believe Oregon is headed in the right direction, while 27% strongly believe Oregon is headed down the wrong track. (Q27)

Overall Trends

  • Key issues that were repeatedly mentioned throughout the survey were homelessness and affordable housing, COVID-19, and responsible government, with strong trends along party lines and age demographics.

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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