DHM Panel August Survey Results
September 10, 2019
Despite abnormally dry conditions in Northwest Oregon in 2019, most of the state has so far remained free of drought. And with the exception of the Milepost 97 Fire, which burned over 13,000 acres south of Roseburg, this year’s wildfire season has been comparatively mild. But most Oregonians still expect the next ten years to bring hotter summers, increased drought, growing conflicts among water users, and a greater number of more severe wildfires.
These findings come from the August 2019 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from August 14 to 21, 2019, and surveyed 552 Oregonians. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of Oregonians. The margin of error for this survey is ±4.16%.
Oregonians believe summers will only get hotter.
More than three-quarters (76%) of Oregonians expect hotter summers over the next ten years. These concerns about higher temperatures are shared among Oregonians across the state, but young people, Democrats, and women are the most apprehensive. Young people ages 18–24 (100%) are more likely than their older counterparts (74%) to believe summer temperatures will increase. Democrats (99%), more so than Republicans (33%), also predict hotter summers in coming years, as do women more so than men (83%, 69%).
Oregonians are very worried about the threat of drought and believe the problem will get worse.
While most Oregonians (72%) believe there is enough water in the state to meet current needs, their optimism begins to fade when thinking about the next decade. Less than half of Oregonians (42%) are confident there will be enough water to meet future demand.
Nearly three-quarters (74%) believe Oregon will experience increased conflict between water users during the next ten years, with a slightly smaller majority (60%) worried that water quality will also decline.
Here too, concerns about water quality are felt more strongly among Democrats (83%) than Republicans (26%), among young people ages 18–24 (88%) more than their older counterparts (58%), and among women (71%) more than men (49%).
Despite these high levels of concern, only about a third of Oregonians (31%) are confident that the state’s water agencies can effectively manage water supplies during drought.
Oregonians believe that wildfires pose a serious threat and that such fires will become more frequent and severe.
While a significant minority of residents of the Portland metro area (40%) and Willamette Valley (39%) are concerned about the threat of wildfire to their communities, these concerns are much higher among residents in the rest of the state (82%). An overwhelming majority of Oregonians (85%), however, are in agreement that the number and severity of wildfires will increase—again with young people (96%), Democrats (98%), and women (95%) the most concerned.
There’s plenty of uncertainty about land management practices to minimize the threat of severe wildfires. In general, more Oregonians believe private landholders are managing their lands well (42%) than poorly (21%) when it comes to preventing wildfires, although plenty simply don’t know (22%). But Oregonians’ assessment of state and federal agencies is less complementary. Roughly one-third of Oregonians (34%) say that state government is performing well when it comes to land management to prevent wildfire, with only one-fifth (19%) believing that federal agencies are doing a good job.
Oregonians express a wide range of views when it comes to how to respond to human-caused or nature-caused wildfires in undeveloped areas of the state.
Roughly one-third (33%) of Oregonians endorse a strategy of always fighting wildfires in undeveloped areas, with nearly one-third (32%) believing authorities should lean toward fighting fires, and another third (31%) leaning toward letting fires burn. Few Oregonians think that authorities should almost certainly let fires burn (4%).
When asked to choose among the major approaches above to dealing with wildfires, older residents (44%) and Republicans (51%) prefer always fighting wildfires, Portland metro residents (39%) lean toward fighting fires, and Democrats (39%) are most likely to lean towards letting fires burn.
Most Oregonians anticipate a future with hotter summers, increased severity of drought and wildfire, and growing tensions over water resources. These concerns are widely shared across the state and are most intensely felt among Democrats, women, and young people. But while concerns about severe drought and wildfire are high, confidence in the ability of state and federal agencies to manage them are low.
DHM Panel August Survey Results
August 14, 2019
As the summer comes to a close, students, families, teachers, and schools are gearing up for the new academic year. The start of a school year brings reflection, goal setting, and the opportunity for change. In this spirit, we asked Oregonians for their priorities for the state’s educational system.
These findings come from the August fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from July 17 to 25, 2019, and surveyed 574 Oregonians. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of Oregon residents. The margin of error for this survey ranges from ±2.5% to ±4.1%.
Oregonians prioritize real-world skills and career readiness over testing.
A strong majority of Oregonians say that real-world and critical thinking skills should be top priorities for Oregon’s K–12 public education system. Nearly half prioritize career readiness and only 16% prioritize college preparedness. Preparing students for standardized testing is by far the lowest priority among those tested.
Party affiliation plays a role in the priorities that Oregonians set for Oregon’s schools. For example, Republicans (63%) are more likely to say that preparing students for careers should be a priority than Democrats (39%).
Oregonians are split on the existence of the achievement gap and favor more traditional solutions.
41% of Oregonians say that all students have the same opportunities for success regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or disability while 50% say that students have different opportunities for success based on these categories.
Party affiliation plays a significant role in the way that Oregonians’ view student opportunity for success. Republicans (83%) are more likely to say that students have the same opportunities for success than Democrats (17%). Meanwhile, Democrats (70%) are more likely to say that students have different opportunities for success than Republicans (15%).
When rating the importance of strategies aimed at closing the achievement gap, a majority of Oregonians (60%) say that it is “very important” to implement classroom behavior management strategies that hold students accountable. This is followed by English-language instruction (52%) and holding families accountable for student absenteeism and performance (49%) as the next highest rated strategies. Oregonians gave lower ratings of importance to culturally responsive strategies such as teaching to diverse learning styles (40%) and outreach to students’ families (28%).
Party affiliation is also a factor in how Oregonians view the importance of strategies to close the achievement gap. While party does not play a significant role in support for English-language instruction and family accountability, it is a driving factor in support for classroom behavior strategies. Republicans (77%) are more likely to say classroom behavior strategies are very important to close the achievement gap than Democrats (46%). Aside from the top three strategies, all other strategies are much more favored by Democrats than Republicans.
Oregonians favor additional compensation and support for teachers.
Oregonians guessed that the average starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $38,076, which was slightly higher than the actual average for the 2018–19 school year ($37,698). (http://www.osba.org/Resources/Article/Employee_Management/Salary_Survey_Book.aspx) Oregonians think that teachers should be paid 25% more, an average starting salary of $48,777.
The top three strategies that Oregonians say should be a priority for addressing the current teacher shortage are offering scholarships and student loan forgiveness to encourage careers in education (56%), providing mentorship to new teachers (48%), and offering competitive compensation (48%).
Here too, party affiliation impacts the strategies that Oregonians favor. Democrats (68%) and Independents (65%) are more likely to favor offering scholarships and student loan forgiveness than Republicans (27%). Democrats (59%) are also more likely than Republicans (28%) to favor offering competitive compensation to attract and retain teachers.
Oregonians question the value of college, are concerned about student loans, and want alternatives to traditional higher education.
In light of the continual increase in college tuition, 70% of Oregonians say that a college degree is less valuable today than it was 50 years ago. Age plays a significant role in how Oregonians view the value of a college degree, as younger Oregonians (76%) are more likely to say that a college degree is less valuable today than Oregonians who are 65 years old and over (42%).
74% of Oregonians are concerned about student loan debt in America. Party affiliation and education level plays a role in concern about student loan debt. Democrats (89%) are more likely to say they are concerned about student loan debt than Republicans (64%). Oregonians with undergraduate degrees or more (80%) and those with some college or a 2-year degree (81%) are more likely to report concern over student loan debt than Oregonians with high school diplomas or less (38%).
When rating policy proposals to address student loan debt on the national level, Oregonians largely support expanding opportunities for alternative education paths (68%). This is followed by support for lowering caps on interest rates for student loans (44%) and providing universal free public college (38%).
In 2018, DHM Research provided survey and focus group research for the Oregon Voices Project—the first and most rigorous statewide values and beliefs study since 2013.
The Oregon Voices Project is supported by the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, in partnership with the Land Trust Alliance, the Yarg Foundation, and DHM Research. The project aims to identify what Oregonians care most about, how they spend their time, who they trust, and how environmental issues affect their daily lives. Preliminary findings are available at the Oregon Voices Project site, with full results expected later this year.
Through surveys and focus groups, researchers engaged a representative sample of more than 2000 Oregonians, while making a concerted and successful effort to hear from traditionally hard-to-reach groups, including rural residents, young people, and communities of color.
The work is an extension of DHM’s pioneering statewide values and beliefs research, conducted decennially since 1992. Visit the Oregon Values and Beliefs Project to learn more.
Check out the Oregon Voices Project site.
DHM Panel May Survey Results
August 1, 2019
In the past 20 years, housing production in the US has failed to keep pace with demand by approximately seven million units, with half of that underproduction accounted for by the West Coast. Currently, Oregon is one of the most unaffordable states for people to rent and own housing. (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/conferences/2018/ITED/Presentations/2A-2.MichaelWilkerson.pdf) In 2018, voters in the Portland metro region approved a $652.8 million affordable housing bond measure, one of many responses to the affordable housing crisis across the state. In May of 2019, we checked in with the Portland metro region’s residents to find out whether or not they support building more affordable housing in the area and in their own communities.
These findings come from the May 2019 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from May 16 to 23, 2019, and surveyed 430 residents of the Portland metro region. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of residents in the Portland metro region. The margin of error for this survey was ±4.7%. The survey questionnaire can be found at the end of this post.
While most residents consider their housing affordable, half of renters do not.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines “affordable housing” as housing that accounts for no more than 30% of a household’s income, including basic utilities. Using this calculation, most residents of the Portland metro area consider their housing situation affordable (61%). Metro residents find their housing to be slightly less affordable than Oregonians in general (69%).
Statewide, there is a significant disparity in the percentage of renters and homeowners who say their housing is affordable. While the difference is not significant in the metro area, there is still a gap between renters and homeowners.
Additionally, 36% of renters say they could not afford an emergency costing $1,000, compared to only 6% of homeowners.
Income and education have significant impacts on whether an individual living in the Portland metro area considers their housing to be affordable. Those who make less than $50,000 annually are most likely to say their housing is not affordable (54%-72%). 56% of metro residents with some college education say their housing is not affordable compared to 12% of college graduates who say the same. Income and education are also significant factors in determining whether or not residents can afford an emergency costing $1,000.
Metro residents would support building more affordable housing in their community or neighborhood.
In order to more accurately gauge residents’ support for building affordable housing, DHM asked in a split sample about perceptions of affordable housing in residents’ “community” or “neighborhood”. While the majority of metro residents said they would support building more affordable housing in both cases, the results show that word choice does matter. Metro residents are more likely to support the initiative in their “community” (75%) than in their “neighborhood” (61%).
Individuals residing in Clackamas County are less likely to support affordable housing in both their neighborhood (28%) and community (46%), while the greatest support comes from those in Multnomah County (82% and 88% respectively). Democrats are much more likely to support either option (82%, 96%) than Republicans (34%, 42%). While all renters (100%) support affordable housing in their neighborhood, 44% of homeowners do so.
Slightly fewer residents answer in favor of building affordable housing in their neighborhood when forced to choose if they would welcome affordable housing in their neighborhood. 3 in 10 feel that neighborhoods other than their own would be better suited for building more affordable housing and 12% say they don’t know.
Familiar demographic trends are also seen here, with higher support for building affordable housing in their own neighborhood coming from Multnomah County residents, Democrats, and renters. 74% of Multnomah County residents would welcome more affordable housing in their neighborhood compared to 32% of Clackamas County and 49% of Washington County residents. Democrats (78%) express stronger support than Republicans (30%) and Independents or other voters (44%). Twice as many renters (83%) as homeowners (44%) would welcome affordable housing in their neighborhood.
Metro residents prefer long-term solutions like building affordable housing.
While most metro residents are supportive of a range of reasons to build more affordable housing, the idea of a long-term investment rather than a short-term fix was a clear front-runner (84%). This reason received similar support from all demographic groups. Individuals from Multnomah County, Democrats, and renters are more supportive of the three remaining reasons than their counterparts.
Metro residents focus on the benefits rather than the concerns when it comes to building more affordable housing.
In general, Portland metro region residents agree more often with statements about potential benefits of affordable housing than with statements about potential concerns. The benefits that received the strongest agreement from residents are presented in the figure below. Less popular benefits are that more affordable housing would support local businesses and increase neighborhoods’ purchasing power (46%) and that more affordable housing would ensure that themselves and their family would be able to remain in their neighborhood in the future (51%).
Considering potential concerns, around half agree that decisions about affordable housing should not be imposed by local governments (52%) and that building more affordable housing will lower property values for existing residents (49%). Fewer residents expressed concerns about personal and family safety (36%) or agreed that their neighborhoods already have enough affordable housing (26%).
Republicans and men are more likely than their counterparts to agree that building more affordable housing will cause concerns for safety and lower property values. Republicans (90%) are also more likely than Democrats (23%) to agree that building more affordable housing should be a neighborhood decision rather than a local government decision and that their neighborhoods already have enough affordable housing (66%, as compared to 14%).
DHM CEO, Michelle Neiss, Ph.D., will be presenting alongside Judith Gray, Congestion Pricing Project Manager for ODOT at the IBTTA Communication and Change Management Summit, this Monday, July 29.
Their session, Navigating Tough Conversations About Tolling, will provide attendees withsome best practices and pitfalls for engaging with elected officials based on the recent Value Pricing study conducted for ODOT by DHM.
The International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association (IBTTA) is the worldwide association for the owners and operators of toll facilities and the businesses that serve them. The summit, Communication Invasion: We Are All In This Together, will address an array of issues affecting tolling and mobility professionals’ entire workforce: management, operations, engineering, HR, customer service, marketing, public relations and branding. The summit runs from July 28–30, 2019, in Seattle, Washington.
DHM Panel June Survey Results
July 16, 2019
As Independence Day celebrations wrap up, DHM and others across the nation have been reflecting on what it means to be an American. We asked Oregonians for their opinions on the matters of national pride, Americanness, and citizenship to see how they compare nationally.
These findings come from the June 2019 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from June 12 to 18, 2019, and surveyed 604 Oregonians. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of Oregonians. The margin of error for this survey is ±4%.
Oregonians express less pride in the country than Americans in general.
Half of Oregonians say that they are proud to be American, less than the 72% that said so in a 2018 national polling. (https://news.gallup.com/poll/236420/record-low-extremely-proud-americans.aspx) Political affiliation and ethnicity are significant factors in determining national pride. Republicans are much prouder to be American than their counterparts across the state: 85% of Republicans are proud, compared to 30% of Democrats. Oregon’s residents of color are significantly more likely to say they are not proud to be an American than white residents (46% vs.17%).
Along with being less proud, Oregonians are also less nationalistic than Americans as a whole: 21% of Oregonians say the United States is better than all other countries compared to 29% nationwide in 2017. (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/30/most-americans-say-the-u-s-is-among-the-greatest-countries-in-the-world/) The remainder of Oregonians are split between saying that the US is one of the best countries (39%) or that there are other countries better than the US (36%).
Here too, political affiliation is a significant factor. Republicans (50%) are more likely than Democrats (4%) to report that the US is better than all other countries. Meanwhile, Democrats (58%) are more likely to than Republicans (4%) to say that there are other countries better than the US.
Oregonians’ outlook on freedom and equality in the US leans negative.
Since DHM’s 2015 panel, Oregonians’ outlook about the future of the United States has become less optimistic. Today, 29% of Oregonians report that the US is becoming a country with fewer personal freedoms, up from 19% in 2015. Women (36%) are more likely to anticipate declines in personal freedoms compared to men (21%). Oregonians’ outlook on equality in the US has become less optimistic as well: 25% say that the country is becoming a place with less equality, up from 14% in 2015. Democrats (40%) are more likely to report that the US is becoming a country with less equality while fewer Republicans (7%) say the same.
Civic knowledge and engagement more important to Oregonians than cultural assimilation.
According to Oregonians, the most important characteristics for being truly American are to support the principles of the Constitution, to vote, and to know American history. Clear majorities feel that legal citizenship, English language ability, sharing American customs, and supporting capitalism are important. Being born in the country and being a Christian are not important to most Oregonians.
Supporting the principles of the Constitution, voting, and knowing American history were consistently ranked as important by Oregonians regardless of demographic differences. However, the remaining six items were ranked as important much more frequently by Republicans than by their counterparts. Notably, republicans are likely to believe that being a legal citizen (99%), speaking English (96%), sharing American customs (97%), and supporting capitalism (93%) are important factors in determining Americanness while significantly smaller percentages of Democrats would agree (35-56%).
Three in ten Oregonians would fail the USIS Civics Test.
The United States Immigration Services (USIS) Civics Test is a required part of the permanent residency and naturalization processes by which someone not born in the United States can lawfully abide in the country on a long-term basis or become a citizen. Receiving a Green Card or becoming a US citizen allows individuals to access many of the rights and privileges held by natural-born citizens, including the rights to vote in local elections and to obtain government benefits. Those applying are asked ten questions from a 100-question bank as open-ended interview style questions.
As shown in the previous section, 89% of Oregonians say it is important for Americans to know the country’s history. We asked our panel ten of the questions from the 100-question bank in a multiple-choice format and 66% received a passing score of six or more correct answers. The ten questions asked are listed below, ordered from the lowest to highest percentage of Oregonians who answered correctly. Quiz yourself to see how you compare using the answer bank at the bottom of the page.
DHM Panel May Survey Results
June 11, 2019
In October 2015, the City of Portland declared a state of emergency on housing and homelessness, the first of an ongoing set of policy responses across the state to address concerns with housing affordability. Earlier this year, Oregon became the first state to enact caps on rent increases and legislators are now considering other measures to address the affordable housing crisis in Oregon. For DHM’s May survey, we checked in with Oregonians to find out whether or not they feel the impact of the housing crisis, and if they support or oppose some of the proposed solutions.
These findings come from the May 2019 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from May 16 to 23, 2019, and surveyed 624 Oregonians. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of Oregon residents. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.9%.
Perceptions of the Oregon housing crisis have not changed since 2016.
Similar to results from past years, 84% of Oregonians agree that the state is experiencing a housing crisis. This opinion is shared by most demographic groups, though those from the Willamette Valley are less likely to hold this opinion (68%) than their counterparts (91%). Residents of the Willamette Valley area (76%) are also more likely than those in other areas of the state (53%-67%) to consider their housing “affordable,” meaning housing costs account for no more than 30% of their household’s income.
While a majority of Oregonians continue to find their own housing situation affordable, clear differences exist between renters and homeowners.
The percentage of Oregonians who consider their housing situation affordable has also remained consistent since 2016. In each year, about six in ten Oregonians (63% in 2019) have reported that their housing costs, including basic utilities, account for no more that 30% of their household’s income.
Though the majority of panelists find their current housing situation to be affordable, the data suggests that clear disparities exist between renters and homeowners. 72% of homeowners say their housing is affordable, compared to only 43% of renters. Renters are also significantly less likely than homeowners to be able to afford an emergency costing $1,000. One-half of renters would not be able to afford this expense, compared to 17% of homeowners.
For all these differences in access and affordability, renters do have something in common with homeowners: a desire to one day live on their own property. Almost all renters say they currently rent as a matter of circumstance rather than as a choice, and three in four would like to own a home someday.
While most support proposed zoning laws to incorporate middle housing in Oregon’s residential areas, Oregonians see pros and cons.
Though a comprehensive rent control bill passed in February, political leaders in the state have continued to pursue other policy options to address the affordability crisis. The Oregon State Legislature is now considering a bill that would require the Portland metropolitan area and other cities with populations greater than 25,000 to allow middle housing in any area that is zoned for residential use. Middle housing includes duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses, and cottage clusters. 64% of Oregonians support this proposal, with Republicans as the only demographic group without majority support (36%).
Oregonians express the strongest agreement with claims about middle housing’s ability to provide housing options for all income levels and to meet growing population demands. On the con side, about six in ten agree that middle housing will negatively impact livability, or that the issue should be dealt with on a more local scale. Oregonians least agree with the claim that an increased housing supply will only encourage more people to move to Oregon.
Taken together, these results suggest that while Oregonians do not see middle housing as a silver bullet, they support the legislature continuing to take steps to address the housing crisis.
DHM Panel April 2019 Survey Results
May 15, 2019
Shortly after Tax Day, we touched base with Oregonians about their experiences with and perceptions of taxes in 2019. It turns out online filing and the possibility of the IRS developing their own free digital filing system are popular in the state. Oregonian’s views are less rosy when it comes to the fairness of the federal tax system. Read on for more!
These findings come from the April 2019 fielding of our DHM Panel. The survey was conducted from April 18–26, 2019, and surveyed 596 Oregonians. The results were weighted by age, gender, area of the state, political party, and level of education to ensure a representative sample of Oregonians. The margin of error for this survey is ±4.0%.
Online tax filing was the most popular method for Oregonians, and 7 in 10 oppose proposed legislation to prevent the IRS from creating a free online tax filing system.
By the time we fielded our survey, 88% of Oregonians had filed their 2018 taxes. About one half (54%) of those individuals did so using an online platform. Online tax filing was the most popular method used in for 2018 taxes across all demographic groups, with the exception of individuals over the age of 65, who tended to use an accountant or other professional to file.
While companies who provide online tax filing services are currently required to provide free filing services to those who make less than $66,000 annually, many taxpayers are either ineligible for free filing or end up paying these services regardless of eligibility. The US Congress is currently considering a law called the Taxpayer First Act, which, among other administrative changes, would permanently ban the IRS from developing a free electronic tax filing system. We asked Oregonians to share their opinions of this proposed legislation and found that a majority were in opposition (71%), with 53% strongly opposed.
Though clear differences in opinion exist by political party—Democrats (79%) are more likely to oppose than Republicans (58%)—the majority of individuals in each major party are opposed to this provision. Opinions also tend to differ by income, with frequency of opposition increasing as income increases. In short, those who would remain ineligible for free filing are more likely to oppose this provision.
Oregonians think the federal tax system is less fair than Americans do. Opinions on the topic are strongly correlated to political affiliation.
Compared to results from a national Pew Research Center study in March 2019, Oregonians are more likely to believe the federal tax system is not at all fair, while Americans are much more likely to say the system is moderately fair. In both cases, notably few characterize current federal taxes as very fair.
Among Oregonians, Democrats tend to be the most skeptical and Republicans the least. That said, only 35% of Republicans categorize federal taxes as fair—the highest rating of any demographic group.
In general, Oregonians agree with Americans when it comes to their perceptions of the amount of federal taxes that certain groups pay. Both groups generally think that lower-income and middle-income people pay too much, while upper-income Americans and large businesses or corporations pay too little.
There are notable differences in these perceptions by political affiliation. Republicans are more likely than other Oregonians to view the tax system as stacked against small businesses and their households, and in favor of lower-income Americans. Democrats and Oregonians who are non-affiliated or members of minor parties more often say that lower-income Americans pay too much and indicate an appetite for increased taxes on larger businesses and upper-income people. Oregonians of all stripes—partisan and otherwise—do agree that middle-income Americans currently pay too much.
Oregon’s legislative session is heating up. Already, major legislation has passed or is making its way toward the governor’s desk. Some significant bills that have passed address rent stabilization and zoning for multifamily housing. The legislature is continuing to debate the creation of a “cap and invest” program to reduce climate emissions. And last week, the House passed a bill that would raise $2 billion for K–12 public education.