My View: Taking post-election pulse of Oregonians
The 2018 midterm election was the first real opportunity since 2016 for Oregonians to express what's on their minds and effect change by voting in support or opposition to the status quo.
So, how'd that work out for all of us, and how do we feel about how it turned out?
DHM Research asked just that of 567 Oregon voters in a scientifically conducted statewide survey between Nov. 13 and Nov. 17.
The survey was timed to allow Oregonians to decompress from what may have been a record-setting political advertising and campaigning marathon.
Here are some highlights of what Oregonians have to say about their views of the most recent election and how they're feeling about things going forward.
Mixed emotions pre- and post-election
Oregon voters all across the political spectrum felt anxious leading up to the election: 17 percent sad, 20 percent angry, 43 percent fearful, 7 percent happy.
About 80 percent talked with family and friends about the election, 36 percent posted about the election on social media, 23 percent donated to a political campaign in Oregon, 20 percent participated in a political meeting or forum, 11 percent volunteered time with a political campaign in Oregon, and 7 percent protested.
In the aftermath of the election, some of the emotions have shifted, even improved: 24 percent sad, 11 percent angry, 14 percent fearful, 37 percent happy. Democrats tend toward happier while Republicans are both sadder and angrier.
Mixed reviews for candidates
Oregonians are divided across the state about the candidates who ran for office in this past election. About equal numbers feel most political races in Oregon offered good choices (50 percent, with Democrats at 72 percent) or it was a choice between the lesser of two evils (48 percent, with Republicans at 69 percent).
Both political parties feel there was more discussion of the issues in this campaign, compared with past midterm elections, and it was one thing both parties agreed on (86 percent).
A majority of Oregonians say the opinions and candidates offered by the national political parties do impact their vote when considering choices for state or local offices here in Oregon. Though Republicans were less likely than Democrats to agree, (53 percent vs. 74 percent) a majority admitted to being influenced by what is going on nationally.
When asked about the midterm election across the country compared with past midterm elections, Oregon voters felt there was more discussion of the issues and at the same time much more negative campaigning. They also think news organizations had too much influence on the outcome of the election.
Going forward: Not optimistic
Nationally, Oregonians are not optimistic that Congress and the president will be able to make significant progress on the key issues facing the nation (88 percent, with 54 percent not at all optimistic).
In Oregon there's more optimism, but still a majority are not too optimistic (19 percent) or not at all optimistic (33 percent) that the Oregon Legislature and governor will be able to make significant progress on key issues facing the state.
Not surprisingly in Oregon, with Democrats now having a supermajority in the Oregon Legislature, Republicans are especially pessimistic about making progress on the key issues. Among all voters, however, there were only two issues out of 13 (the environment and access to health care) that the supermajority is felt to be a good thing.
For the rest of the issues, a majority of voters feel it is a bad thing or makes no difference. A plurality of Oregon voters feel the Democratic supermajority is a bad thing for political polarization, rural communities, government efficiency, PERS reform, housing costs and economic growth.
"It remains to be seen whether grim, pessimistic expectations for the state Legislature and Congress are pleasantly exceeded by the time the 2020 election rolls around, and if so, how that will shape the mood heading into that vote," says Adam Davis, DHM Research co-founder and senior counsel. "We'll be watching, listening and reporting."
Adam Davis is co-founder and senior counsel of DHM Research. Findings come from the company's monthly surveys in August and October. A representative sample of about 600 Oregonians participated each month. The margin of error ranges from plus or minus 2.5 percent to 4.2 percent.
You can find more survey results at: dhmresearch.com.