DHM Research

Numbers Suggest Choppy Waters Ahead for Addressing Oregon’s Challenges

DHM/OVBC Survey Results

November 9, 2020

Although the divisive 2020 election may be over and there are just a few weeks left in a year of unprecedented challenges, don’t assume it is going to be smooth sailing for Oregon in 2021. A recent poll found 80% of Oregonians are ending the year worried about our state’s future and concerned about the continuing impacts of COVID-19, homelessness, racial injustice, riots, lawlessness, climate change and more.

What’s even more disconcerting is only 33% of us feel we can come together next year as Oregonians—urban and rural, Republican and Democrat, Whites and communities of color—to make progress addressing these challenges and resetting Oregon.

These findings come from a DHM Research (DHM) and Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (OVBC) online survey conducted from October 1 to October 6, 2020 about a variety of issues including COVID-19, climate change, homelessness, and public finance and taxation. Quality control measures were taken including pretesting the questionnaire and randomizing questions to reduce order bias. Demographic quotas and statistical weighting were also used to ensure a representative sample of 600 Oregonians ages 18+. The margin of error for each question falls between +/-2.4% and +/-4.0% at the 95% confidence level, depending on how the response category percentages split for any given question.

Four out of every five Oregonians are worried about Oregon’s future.

Survey respondents who were worried about Oregon’s Future were asked to describe their worry in 10 words or less.  Following are some representative responses:

Nine talk balloons showing direct different voters and their worries about Oregon's future.

Worries like these extend across the state with women and younger Oregonians being most worried about Oregon’s future.

Only about a third of Oregonians believe we can come together to address our state’s challenges.

About a third of Oregonians (32%) do not believe we can come together as Oregonians—urban and rural, Republican and Democrat, Whites and communities of color—and make progress addressing our state’s challenges. An addition 35% are not sure.

Republicans are the most likely to feel we can not come together as are Oregonians living in the rest of state.

There is a strong difference in feelings by age with Oregonians ages 18-44 feeling more optimistic that we can come together (42%-51%) compared to ages 45+ (21%-22%).

Men are more likely to feel we cannot come together (39% vs. 26%) while women were more likely to be unsure (43% vs. 27%).

The challenges Oregon faces post-election are numerous and complex. What makes the task of addressing these challenges more daunting is the belief that we cannot come together to get the job done. Our leaders are in for a real test that will reward coalition building across the private, public, and non-profit sectors and good communications with all Oregonians, including those residing in rural areas of the state and communities of color.

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 ( and OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (