FEBRUARY 15, 2017 – Clout Research recently conducted one of its periodic company surveys of Oregon voters statewide regarding political and social issues confronting the state. We surveyed the state regularly during the 2016 election cycle with phenomenal accuracy, properly identifying the winners and the margins of victory in the races for president, governor, and secretary of state, as well as state ballot measures. Here is our latest polling memo – methodology is at the bottom of the post, as is a link to the poll topline summary:
Governor Brown Off to Rocky Start
The Clout Research survey of likely voters statewide in Oregon finds that newly-elected Governor Kate Brown, first appointed to the office to replace scandal-ridden Democrat John Kitzhaber, is off to a rocky start with voters.
Her approval rating sits just below 50%, and voters said they are opposed to several legislative and executive initiatives she is heading up. And, the survey shows, a plurality is concerned she has bowed to pressure from a liberal special interest group.
Nearly half – 45% – said they believed Brown was influenced by a sizable donation from a group funded by anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg in banning Oregon gun owners from carrying weapons into state-owned buildings. Another 36% said they thought Brown was not influenced by the $250,000 contribution from Bloomberg, while 20% said they were unsure.
Brown also comes under very heavy fire from voters in the survey for her budget proposal to cut the General Fund allocation for veterans services by 75%, or $10 million. This cut proposal comesin the wake of overwhelming voter passage of M96 last fall, known as the Oregon Veterans Lottery Bill. The survey shows 73% of voters oppose Brown’s budget cuts to the veterans programs, while just 10% said her cuts should stand.
Dim View of Sanctuary Immigration Status
The survey also shows Brown faces trouble over sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. Half of those surveyed said they oppose local jusidictions who declare themselves “sanctuaries” from federal immigration law, but that figure jumps to 65% who oppose sanctuaries in Oregon when they learn such places may be harboring undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes. Just 25% support sanctuaries in Oregon protecting criminal aliens, the survey shows.
Asked if they favored or opposed Governor Brown’s sanctuary state order, knowing state taxes would have to make up for lost federal dollars withheld from Oregon because of the state’s refusal to obey federal immigration law, 53% said they oppose Brown’s order. Another 38% said they still favored it, while 9% said they were unsure.
The survey also showed that 49% would oppose an Oregon tax increase to pay for a $55 million allocation to pay for healthcare services for undocumented children. Another 40% supported paying such a tax.
Voters Want Budget Hole Closed with Spending Cuts
The survey shows that a significant plurality of 45% want the state budget balanced with spending cuts, while just 13% said it should be balanced with increased taxes. Another 27% said they prefer a mix of the two, while 16% said they were unsure on the issue.
Regarding business taxes, 34% said they felt “big business” should pay more in taxes, while 27% said small businesses in Oregon deserve a tax cut. One in four voters said they would prefer a flat tax that would treat all businesses the same.
The Kate Brown budget proposal to increase small business taxes by 28% is widely hated, the survey shows. Fully 78% of Oregon voters said they are less likely to support a state budget with that provision included., Just 6% said they were more likely to support such a budget proposal.
On a related issue, many more respondents in the survey said they oppose the Oregon Legislature’s plans to force employers to pay for family leave. While 47% oppose forcing employers to pay for family leave, just 34% said they support it. The rest said they were unsure.
Regarding the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, a substantial majority of 61% said they are opposed to raising taxes for a PERS bailout. Just 23% said they support such a scheme.
Among those who said they would oppose such use of a tax increase, 27% said they would rather require employee contributions to the retirement system, while another 15% supported a $100,000 yearly cap on benefits, while others favored extending the retirement age and stopping all cost of living increases in benefits. But 36% of those respondents said they supported a process in which all of these fixes were applied to the PERS system.
Regarding a plan to pay for road and transportation improvements, voters’ top response from a menu of choices, winning 24%, was to fund such plans without raising taxes. Their second choice, at 20%, was to pay for such things with an increase in the gas tax. Third was to develop a scheme to tax motorists on each mile they drive.
Majority Supports Non-Political Commission to Draw Congressional and Legislative Boundaries
Two out of every three respondents in the survey said they would support an Oregon Constitutional amendment to create an independent redistricting committee to remove partisanship and political gerrymandering from the process of adjusting Congressional and legislative boundaries. Just 10% oppose such an amendment, while 26% said they were unsure on the question.
Clout Research is a national survey research firm based in Columbus, Ohio and working nationally with clients in business, politics, government, media, and the non-profit sector. It was established in 2005. Clout conducted a statewide telephone survey of likely general election voters in Oregon from February 10-12, 2017. The hybrid survey included 682 responses reached from landline and mobile telephones, and it carries a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/- 3.75%.