February 11th through 17th, 2021, we asked Oregonians for their opinions on some possible outcomes for Oregon’s future. Respondents read a series of vision statements about what Oregon could become (Q10-17). They then indicated how positive they would feel about each outcome if the state moved in that direction. 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.
Oregonians Respond Most Positively to Investment in Environmental Protections and Energy Sustainability
There appear to be three tiers of positive response, with the first, most positive tier centered on a future in which the state prioritizes and invests in environmental protections and energy sustainability. These visions are viewed positively by roughly six in then Oregonians (Q10, Q14, Q16).
- Oregonians say they would feel most positive about a future where the State and local governments embrace “smart planning,” resulting in cities, towns, and communities on a human scale – walkable, attractive, family-friendly, and surrounded by green spaces (63% total positive, 29% very positive) (Q16).
- 60% of Oregonians say they feel positive about a future in which the State makes considerable investments and establishes strong safeguards to tackle the challenge of climate change and to protect the state’s natural resources and a future where rural communities are fully integrated into the green economy (28% and 31% very positive, respectively). Interestingly, overall positive scores for both of these outcomes decline with age (Q10, Q14).
Enthusiasm for Economic Development and Empowerment
The second tier of visions for Oregon is largely focused on different approaches and ideologies for economic development and empowerment. These vision statements are viewed positively by roughly one-half of Oregonians (Q11, Q13, Q15).
- 55% feel positive about a future where Oregon’s rural communities enjoy the freedom to shape their own destinies and manage their own local resources without constraints imposed upon them by out-of-touch urban areas (27% very positive) (Q15).
- This is nearly identical to the 54% who say they feel positive about a future in which Oregon welcomes new immigrants, embraces cultural diversity, and takes active measures to empower immigrants and people of color to participate fully in the state’s political, economic, and social life (25% very positive). Again, overall positive scores for this outcome decline with age (Q13).
- Finally, 52% welcome a future in which the State government prioritizes the creation of a business-friendly environment – with low taxes and reduced regulations that allow large, medium, and small businesses to serve as engines of economic growth (24% very positive)(Q11).
Role and Tenor of State Government
The third tier made up of those statements with positive scores below 50%, deals with large-scale opinions on the proper role and tenor of government (Q12, Q17).
- 48% feel positive about the following vision for the future: With the exception of key investments in education, transportation, and public safety, State government mostly gets out of the way of economic growth (20% very positive). Men are more likely than women to be very positive about this outcome (26% vs. 14%)(Q12).
- Lastly, only 35% say they feel positive about a future in which political partisanship in Oregon has been replaced by pragmatic cooperation (16% very positive). It is worth noting that this statement did not have markedly high negative ratings, but it is the statement with the highest “don’t know” response (18%)(Q17).
Identifying what unites us, understanding what divides us.
- Oregonians of color and whites tend to have very similar total positive scores for these statements, meaning their combined “very” and “somewhat” positive scores differ little. However, there are some notable differences when it comes to their “very” positive scores. For example, Oregonians of color are more likely than whites to feel very positively about a future in which Oregon welcomes new immigrants, embraces cultural diversity, and takes active measures to empower immigrants and people of color to participate fully in the state’s political, economic, and social life (36% vs. 23%)(Q13).
- Oregonians of color also have higher very positive scores than whites for all the first-tier statements on prioritizing and investing in environmental protections and energy sustainability (Q10, Q14, Q16).
- When it comes to geographic similarities, urban and rural Oregonians are largely in alignment when it comes to welcoming a future in which the State government prioritizes the creation of a business-friendly environment (50% and 54% total positive scores, respectively)(Q11).
- However, elsewhere in the survey geographic differences are more pronounced, such as with the vision statement that receives the highest positive scores overall (State and local governments embrace “smart planning,” resulting in cities, towns, and communities on a human scale…), which is viewed positively by a majority of both urban and rural Oregonians, yet with a sizable 18-point difference between the two (73% vs. 55%)(Q16).
- Notably, urbanites are more positive overall than rural Oregonians about a future where Oregon’s rural communities are fully integrated into the green economy (70% vs. 55%)(Q14).
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).