November 3, 2022
On behalf of Portland Business Alliance, DHM Research conducted a survey of Portland voters about their opinions on proposed city policies to address homelessness. The full questionnaire and crosstables are available. Key findings include:
- 86% disapprove of the job Portland and Multnomah County officials are doing to address homelessness in the community.
- 78% believe that local governments should require those camping on city sidewalks, streets, and public areas to sleep only in shelters or authorized camping areas.
- 75% support the police and other city officials forcing people who are camping on the street to move to a shelter or designated camping site if they refuse to go on their own.
- 82% support creating large, centralized camping areas that can serve hundreds of people and that include onsite bathrooms, support services, and security.
DHM Research surveyed Oregon voters about abortion now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. While nearly two-thirds of voters identify as pro-choice, most also support limiting abortions in the third trimester.
The survey results also shed light on how abortion is affecting the election for governor. We found a significant increase in the percentage of Democrats who say that abortion is the most important factor when deciding which gubernatorial candidate to vote for. In January 2022 – before the Dobbs decision overturning Roe – just 1% of Democrats said abortion was their top issue. Now, it’s 16%. While the election is more than two months away, Tina Kotek likely benefits from this attention as it motivates her Democratic base while taking attention away from other issues, like homelessness and crime.
Struggling to hire in Washington? Here’s how to adapt your employer brand to attract and retain employees
If you’re struggling to recruit and connect with jobseekers in Washington, you aren’t alone. Workers have more choice in employers and roles than ever before and hiring rates remain lower than they were in 2020. While there’s been much talk of employees leaving the workforce, recent research from Quinn Thomas and DHM Research shows that in Washington, The Great Resignation is overhyped. Current job market conditions are better termed “The Great Competition” as employers seek to attract and retain high quality candidates and understand changing worker desires.
Quinn Thomas and DHM Research conducted a survey of 500 Washington workers to uncover current jobseeker perceptions on the labor market, attitudes about their current positions and the most in-demand job qualities.
It’s no surprise that both public and private employers across industries are searching for ways to meaningfully connect with current workers and those who can fill their open positions. Although organizations are trying everything from hybrid work, to pay increases and bonuses, to testing four-day work weeks, new research indicates that Washington employers may have gaps to fill in their employee and recruitment communications.
Our research sheds light on how employers should be thinking about retention and recruitment in the year ahead – and where employer brands could be falling short.
41% of Washington employees plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months
Research confirmed what many employers are experiencing firsthand: Overall, 41% of employees in Washington believe they will leave their jobs in the year ahead, which indicates that retention difficulties aren’t going away anytime soon.
The research also suggests these numbers are acutely higher for employees with the most desirable skillsets, including highly in-demand skilled and semi-skilled employees with several to many years of experience. 54% of workers ages 18-29 and 48% of workers ages 30-44 plan to leave their jobs in the year ahead. This makes it critical to elevate messaging that appeals to the needs of 18–44-year-olds in employer branding. Additionally, despite much news coverage highlighting that large numbers of senior employees plan to retire, only 25% of employees 65+ plan to leave in the year ahead.
Concerns about The Great Resignation are exaggerated
Though many employees plan to search for new jobs in the next year, most will transition to a new position – not take time off. Only 1% of all respondents said that they intend to leave the workforce. Competition for candidates will remain intense, but there is no evidence of a large scale worker exit from Washington’s talent pool. That said, the talent pool is changing: 12% of workers who plan to leave their jobs intend to start their own business and 13% said that they would start contracting or freelancing in their current line of work. Employers may need to rethink hiring and vendor strategies in the year ahead to fill gaps as competition to attract and retain the best candidates remains fierce.
78% of Washington employees identified growth opportunities as a top reason to apply
Growth opportunities stood out as both a key reason workers are considering leaving their current positions and the top message that would make them likely to apply for a new job. 52% of respondents shared that they feel like there are no growth opportunities in their current jobs. Additionally, 42% said “opportunities for advancement” are a reason to leave, which is much higher than other causes asked about including “the people you work with” (21%), ability to control how you do your job (21%), importance of your job (23%), location of work (20%) and hours worked (22%).
That makes it clear why such a high number of respondents (78%) are attracted to job postings that use phrases like “We provide growth opportunities.” This messaging stood out as a key differentiator over other attributes such as location (74%), control of how to do their job (70%), co-workers (69%), hours (70%) and salary (57%).
Workers worry about the state’s economy and their personal finances
About 72% of Washington workers think that right now is a good time to find a quality job, driven in part by low unemployment and the large number of open jobs. Despite these positive signs, even those who are employed are worried about the state’s economy and their finances.
Half of respondents shared that they feel the state’s economic conditions are getting worse, likely due to rising cost of living. Housing costs are an acute issue: 49% said that they could lose their housing if they lost or left their current position. These concerns are affecting employees’ views on the state’s economic conditions and their own situations, as 65% or respondents indicated that they’re worried about their personal finances.
Despite seeking new positions and economic uncertainty, employees feel positive about their jobs
With so many Washington workers planning to seek new jobs and sharing concerns about the state’s economy, it may seem unexpected that such a high number of employees feel very positive about their jobs. The study found that:
- 82% shared they feel their employer treats them with respect
- 69% say they are paid fairly
- 80% are proud to tell others what they do
- 59% said they have the one job they want for themselves at this time in their lives
- 58% say others admire their job (including 75%+ of those making $100,000 or more and 71% of college grads)
This data is a good sign that while Washington employees are considering new roles and open to growth opportunities, they generally like their positions and the benefits that come along with them. Though many workers are considering changing jobs, the positive sentiment says that there’s room to persuade current employees to stay. Additionally, while 69% said they are paid fairly, 83% indicated that they deserve a raise. When combined with the survey’s other findings, it shows that employers cannot afford to be complacent in how they’re communicating with employees in such a tight job market.
Desire for diversity is age dependent
In the past several years, many employers have emphasized diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a part of their employee and candidate communications. For critical mid- to high-skill workers with at least a handful of years under their belts, DEI is desirable: 6 in 10 Washington workers 18-45 would like a more diverse workplace. However, older employees are not as motivated by diversity, as 35% ages 45-65 and 21% ages 65+ said they wanted a more diverse workplace.
What does this mean for Washington recruitment and retention communications?
Business leaders and communications pros alike should revisit their recruitment positioning and employee value proposition to ensure they’re speaking to workers’ most fundamental needs: personal security in finances and housing and the desire for mastery and growth.
Now is the time to highlight professional development opportunities, growth pathways, and competitive pay for individual positions. Elevating messaging about your organization’s stability and resilience will be powerful to reassure the majority of workers who are concerned about the state’s economic standing and their personal finances.
Those who aren’t already highlighting DEI must authentically and thoughtfully incorporate it into their communications, especially employers seeking to attract workers 45 and under. There’s also an opportunity to lean into Washingtonians’ positive feelings about their current positions to cultivate improved employer brand perception, increase retention and make open positions even more appealing.
To learn more about the report and what it means for your organization, join us at our upcoming webinar on May 11 at 12 p.m. PST. Quinn Thomas and DHM Research will examine the survey’s findings and share how to apply them to recruitment and retention efforts.
From March 24-27, 2022, DHM Research conducted a survey of workers in Washington state. The purpose of the survey was to assess employees’ perceptions of the labor market, their attitudes about their jobs, and the most attractive job qualities. The online survey consisted of 500 part-time and full-time employees in Washington state ages 18+. Respondents were contacted by using a professionally maintained online panel. In gathering responses, a variety of quality control measures were employed, including questionnaire pre-testing, validation and real time monitoring of responses. Quotas were set by age, gender, race, educational attainment and area of the state to match the employee demographics in Washington.
About Quinn Thomas
Quinn Thomas is an award-winning marketing communications and brand strategy agency founded in 2009. The agency is committed to thorough, audience-focused research and using it as the foundation for approaching every new communications challenge. The agency has offices in Seattle and Portland and has extensive experience in higher education, healthcare, energy and real estate.
About DHM Research
DHM Research has been providing opinion research and consultation throughout the Pacific Northwest and other regions of the United States for over 40 years. The firm is nonpartisan and independent and specializes in research projects to support public policy making.
Our legal justice institutions—at the federal, state, and local levels—are essential for maintaining the rule of law and ensuring the fair administration of justice. Confidence in the courts and law enforcement is key to a functioning democracy. At the same time, these institutions have been involved in controversies ranging from investigations of presidential candidates to partisan U.S. Supreme Court nomination processes to abuse of local police power.
Nearly every January since 2017, DHM Research has been checking in with Oregonians about their views of the legal justice system. Here are some of the key findings:
Oregonians’ confidence in legal justice institutions has declined since 2017.
- Except when it comes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), where confidence among Oregonians has remained stable at 60% between 2017 and 2022, confidence in the following institutions has declined during the same period: local police departments (from 79% to 63%); county sheriffs (72% to 56%); U.S. Supreme Court (57% to 54%); county judges (74% to 53%); Oregon Supreme Court (67% to 50%); and county district attorneys (68% to 48%).
Party affiliation is a key indicator of Oregonians’ attitudes toward the justice system, especially when it comes to the F.B.I. and the U.S. Supreme Court.
- A roughly equal percentage of Oregon Democrats (64%) and Republicans (65%) expressed confidence in the F.B.I. in 2017, but as of 2022, Democrats are more confident (75%) than Republicans (48%).
- In 2017, Oregon Democrats (66%) exhibited higher levels of confidence than Republicans (55%) in the U.S. Supreme Court, but as of 2022, Republicans (71%) are more confident than Democrats (48%).
Oregonians have greater confidence in their local police departments than in other legal justice institutions, but trust in police has declined, especially since 2020.
- More Oregonians currently have confidence in their local police departments (63%), than in the F.B.I. (60%), county sheriffs (56%), the U.S. Supreme Court (54%), county judges (53%), the Oregon Supreme Court (50%), and county district attorneys (48%).
- Nevertheless, confidence in local police decreased from 79% in 2017 to a stable 72–74% between 2018 and 2020, and then declined more significantly to 63% in 2022.
- Confidence in local police is higher among Oregonians who are age 65+ (85%), Republicans (79%), higher income (74%), men (70%), and white (65%).
Confidence that the justice system provides equal treatment under the law is fundamental to our democracy. Diminished trust and diverging partisan opinions toward that system should concern us all.
In recent days there has been interest in a question that DHM Research asked in the Portland Business Alliance’s annual Jobs & Economy Survey. The question asked voters in the Portland metro region if they support or oppose requiring people who are currently living outside to sleep in shelters or designated camping locations. PBA previously reported that 83% of voters in the region said that they support this requirement.
Several people have reached out to DHM Research asking if opinions about this differ across the region and by demographic. As the chart below shows, there is wide support for this requirement, including by area, political party, age, race, and gender.
While public education has always been a hotbed for political debate, disagreements about health and safety protocols, vaccination requirements, and critical race theory have turned the temperature up over the past few years. As we approached the two-year mark on the COVID-19 pandemic, DHM Research touched base with Oregonians about their perceptions of the public education system in the state and some hot-button issues.
Here are some of the key findings:
Overall impressions of schools and the education system
- Oregonians hold clearly positive opinions about public school teachers (66%) and their local school district (56%) but are a bit more lukewarm about unions that represent public school teachers (50%) and the Oregon Department of Education (49%).
Schools and Covid-19
- A clear majority also approve of the job that their local districts have done responding to COVID-19 (54%), a view which has held steady dating back to September 2020 (57%).
- Support outpaces opposition when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for teachers (65% vs. 29%), students ages 12 and older (60% vs. 35%), and students ages 5–11 (57% vs. 37%).
Critical race theory
- About half of Oregonians say they are familiar with critical race theory (55%). There’s little consensus about whether it is being taught in local public schools (32% Yes, 29% No, 39% Don’t know), whether residents support or oppose teaching it (39% Support, 33% Oppose, 27% Don’t know), and whether disagreements about it are genuine or made-up (42% Genuine, 34% Made-up, 24% Don’t know).
School boards and superintendents
- Oregonians support proposals to prohibit school boards from firing superintendents for following laws or emergency and executive orders (61%) and from mandating superintendents to ignore or violate said guidelines (52%). The first proposal has been taken up for consideration by the Oregon State Senate as Senate Bill 1521.
Throughout these results, there are notable patterns of demographic differences. For instance, Oregonians with higher socioeconomic status and Democrats are consistently more positive about public education in Oregon and more supportive of vaccination requirements, legislation to protect superintendents, and teaching critical race theory in local public schools.
2022 is setting up to be a pivotal year in Oregon politics and government. The state picked up a sixth congressional district and for the first time in two decades there is a wide-open race for governor with no incumbent—or former governor—running.
2022 is also an inflection point for broader political, economic and health reasons. President Biden has passed two major pieces of legislation but he is struggling to secure support for his signature Build Back Better initiative. There are record job openings and unemployment has fallen quickly, but inflation is rising and people are increasingly worried about their personal finances. And we are now heading into the third year of Covid-19, with the country still divided about the best way forward.
It is in this context that we checked in with Oregonians. We asked how they are feeling about the direction of the state, the economy and their personal finances, Covid-19, and about the 2022 gubernatorial election.
Here are some of the key findings:
- A majority (54%) now say that Oregon is off on the wrong track.
- 63% of Oregonians are worried about their personal financial situations, which is up 15 points since last spring. Worry has increased the most among Oregonians who are older, more educated, and have higher incomes.
- Oregonians’ are not pleased with Governor Brown or President Biden. Just 33% have a positive impression of Brown and 42% feel positive about Biden, which are lows for both.
- Looking ahead, Oregonians say the most important issues in the upcoming gubernatorial election are the cost of living, homelessness, crime, and healthcare. Democrats are also highly concerned about climate change, while Republicans put an additional priority on taxes and immigration.
- In a head-to-head contest for governor between the two major parties only, more Oregonians would vote for the Democrat (40%) than the Republican (31%).
- Betsy Johnson is running for governor as a non-affiliated candidate. The survey asked about her four times. She has a lead when voters are presented with Johnson’s own campaign messaging about “leading from the center” and putting “Oregon ahead of narrow partisan politics.” However, she falls back into third place when voters learn about her voting record in the legislature and who is funding her campaign.
DHM Survey Results
September 10, 2021
With the rise of COVID-19 cases this summer, Oregonians’ mood is increasingly negative. Barely one-third of Oregonians think the state is headed in the right direction, worries about personal finances are on the rise, and negative feelings about Governor Brown are at a record high.
These conditions could offer an opportunity for Republicans heading into 2022. However, Democrats remain the more trusted party on a number of key issues including COVID-19, healthcare, environment, and K-12 education. There are signs of opportunities for Republicans, though. They are nearly tied on trust when it comes to jobs, taxes and managing the budget. And Republicans lead on one issue that Oregonians are increasingly concerned about: crime.
In this survey we also asked several questions about Oregonians’ views of America. There are some concerning differences by generation. Younger Oregonians are much less likely to say they are proud to be an American or to agree that if you work hard and play by the rules you can get ahead in this country. Perhaps because of their frustrations, younger Oregonians also show signs of being more likely to support aggressive political leadership. Half of young Oregonians agreed to a statement that America needs a leader willing to break some rules to set things right.
Here are some key survey findings:
- Just 36% of Oregonians think the state is headed in the right direction
- 69% are worried about the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, up from 60% in March
- 58% are worried about their personal financial situations, up from 48% in March
- 58% have a negative impression of Governor Brown, a record high
- Oregonians trust Democrats more than Republicans on a range of issues, from COVID-19, healthcare, environment and K-12 education
- 45% agree that American needs a leader who is willing to break some rules
- 34% agree that if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves even if that requires taking violent action
This is the second data release from the survey. The first release showed Oregonians’ support for vaccine mandates and their opinions about September 11th.
DHM Survey Results
September 10, 2021
More and more, governments and businesses are requiring COVID-19 vaccination. In Oregon Governor Brown has mandated vaccines for healthcare workers and educators. This week President Biden announced vaccine mandates for all federal workers and businesses with 100 or more employees. For our September 2021 survey, DHM Research checked in with Oregonians about their support or opposition to vaccine requirements for teachers, healthcare workers, public safety officers, and more.
This is the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We asked Oregonians if they believe the US government response to the attacks has made the country more or less safe. We also checked in about their opinions about removing American troops from Afghanistan.
Here are just a few of the results:
- 74% believe that COVID-19 vaccination is important to stopping the spread of infection in their communities
- About 2 in 3 support the state requiring COVID-19 vaccination for:
- Healthcare providers: 70%
- Public school teachers: 68%
- Police officers and firefighters: 67%
- Service employees: 65%
- Just 28% think that the US government response to the September 11th attacks made the country safer
- 58% approve of the US removing its troops from Afghanistan
This is the first data release from the survey. We will soon share results about whether Oregonians think the state is headed in the right direction or is on the wrong track, their impressions of Governor Brown and President Biden, and which political party they trust more on several policy issues.
DHM Survey Results
Each year in March (apart from the chaotic month of March 2020) DHM Research asks Oregonians questions about their perceptions of the environment in anticipation of Earth Day. In this year’s survey, we find that perceptions of climate change have changed little despite a historic wildfire season in Oregon. While most Oregonians believe in climate change driven by human activity, and are concerned about its harms, these topline findings obscure large differences among residents—especially by political affiliation.
We also asked about two policy debates that are happening at the local and state levels: bans on new natural gas hook ups and a requirement that all electricity to come from clean sources by 2035. Oregonians strongly oppose the former but are open to the latter.
These findings come from the March 2021 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from March 7 to 14, 2021, and surveyed N=600 Oregonians. To ensure a representative sample, demographic quotas were set, and data weighted by area of the state, gender, age, and education. The margin of error for this survey ranges from ±2.4% to ±4.0% depending on how the response category percentages split for any given question.
Majorities of Oregonians say global temperatures are rising due to human activity, express concerns about being personally harmed by climate change, and call for Oregon to take additional steps to combat climate change.
A scant majority of 52% say there is solid evidence that average temperatures have been rising on account of human activity, while an additional 22% ascribe the increase to natural patterns. In all, 74% say temperatures are rising. Fewer Oregonians say we don’t know enough yet (12%), deny that temperatures are increasing (4%), or are unsure (10%). These results are largely consistent with those observed in DHM Research surveys from the past few years.
There are clear differences in opinion on this topic by political affiliation, with Democrats overwhelmingly ascribing temperature increases to human activity and Republicans particularly skeptical.
Beyond differences by political affiliation, those with higher socio-economic status are more likely to say that temperatures are rising on account of human activity.
Six in ten (61%) Oregonians say they are concerned that global climate change will harm them personally in their lifetimes.
These topline figures belie strong demographic differences, most notably by partisanship. While 85% of Democrats and 56% of NAV/Others are concerned about harms, only 37% of Republicans share this stance.
Younger Oregonians are also more concerned (58–71%), with those ages 65 and older the only age cohort for who less than a majority are concerned (49%).
Concern is also higher among Oregonians with a college degree (71%), those with children at home (69%), tri-county residents (67%), and women (67%).
Nearly as many Oregonians (57%) say that the state should do more to combat climate change, while 26% say the state should not, and 17% are unsure.
Looking at partisan differences, we find that while the perceptions of Democrats and NAV/Others have largely remained consistent, the proportion of Republicans who call for additional actions has risen modestly since March 2018.
Likely related to age trends seen for personal concerns about climate change, Oregonians under the age of 45 (66%) are more likely to call for the state to take action than those who are older (47–53%).
The belief that Oregon should take more steps is also higher among residents under the age of 45 (66%), those with children at home (67%), people with a college degree (66%), tri-county residents (66%), and women (62%).
A majority of Oregonians support the state shifting to clean energy sources by 2035. By and large they expect such a change to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions and the harms of climate change, with the tradeoff of increased electricity prices.
A majority of 60% support (31% strongly, 29% somewhat) requiring Oregon’s electricity to come from clean energy sources by 2035. In addition, 13% somewhat oppose the proposal, 17% strongly oppose it, and 11% are unsure.
There are notable differences in opinion on this potential policy by key demographics such as party, age, area of the state, and gender.
Asked about the impacts such a policy might have, a majority of Oregonians say that air quality will improve (57%). Pluralities say that carbon emissions (47%) and the risks of climate change (46%) will decrease. Oregonians also identify a clear tradeoff: 59% believe this policy will increase electricity prices.
In general, Republicans, NAV/Others, men, older Oregonians, and those living in the rest of state area were less positive than others about the potential impacts of a clean energy requirement by 2035.
Support for a ban on natural gas hookups is low, and Oregonians clearly favor a transition to renewable natural gas and hydrogen over a ban on new hookups.
Several communities on the west coast are considering local bans on new natural gas hooks up for homes and businesses. Oregonians broadly oppose such policies. Fewer than a third of Oregonians (29%) support their local government banning new natural gas hookups to homes and businesses. A clear majority oppose such policies, with strong opposition outweighing overall support.
While no group favors a local ban on hookups, support is comparatively higher among those under the age of 45 (35–44%) and Democrats (37%).
Opposition is particularly strong among those ages 65 and older (75%), Republicans (69%), men (64%), rest of state residents (58%), and those with incomes of $100K and higher (67–75%).
In contrast, when given the choice between bans on natural gas hook ups and requiring natural gas utilities to transition to renewable natural gas and renewable hydrogen, a clear majority prefer requiring a transition to renewable options (65%) over banning new hookups (6%). That said, 29% are unsure, suggesting broad unfamiliarity with the particulars of these potential policies.
There were no notable demographic differences for this question.
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).