In our most recent Oregon survey, we asked voters their opinions about immigration and foreign trade. To see if, and how, opinions have changed, we returned to some questions we have asked before.
On immigration, voters have conflicting opinions. While most (59%) think that immigration is a good thing for the country, just 1 in 4 (24%) want immigration levels to increase. Focusing specifically on illegal immigration, half of Oregon voters (50%) say that it is a serious problem. At the same time, a majority of voters (54%) support Oregon maintaining its status as a sanctuary state, a level of support that has remained steady since 2016.
Digging beneath the topline results, we see that there are large and consistent differences in opinions among voting groups. In particular, young voters and Democrats are more supportive of immigration and less concerned about illegal immigration than older voters and Republicans.
Oregon’s economy is intertwined with international markets. Whether it’s wheat, timber, athletic apparel, or computer chips, much of what we grow and make in Oregon is marketed and sold to the world. It’s not surprising, then, that most Oregon voters are supportive of foreign trade.
Voters are more likely to believe that foreign trade is an opportunity (56%) than a threat (27%). They are also more likely to think that foreign trade is more positive than negative to them personally, their communities, the state, and the country. The share of Oregon voters who say that foreign trade is positive for America has nearly doubled since 2016 (23% to 42%).
However, Oregonians hesitate when it comes to foreign companies doing business in Oregon, particularly Chinese companies. We asked voters if they would rather have an American company in their community that employs 1,000 people or Canadian and Chinese companies that employ 2,000 people. In both cases, Oregon voters say that they would prefer an American company that employs fewer people. Just 13% would prefer a Chinese company to an American one.
Like immigration, there are substantial demographic differences of opinion about foreign trade. Voters with higher incomes and more education are more supportive of trade than those with less income and education.