Poll: Oregon pessimism grows

From Moore Information Poll press release:

With the economy emerging as a leading concern among Oregonians in 2008, it isn’t surprising to learn that voter mood in the state is also more pessimistic in today’s climate. Interestingly, in looking over the last eight years, we find a distinct correlation between economic concerns and voter pessimism in Oregon, as found in our recent review. Following are the details.

Oregon Voter Mood and the Economy: Trends 2000-2008 We reviewed eight years of data on voter mood (i.e. are things in the state of Oregon going in the right direction, or off on the wrong track) and the leading issue concerns of Oregon voters. As the chart below illustrates, trends reveal that when economic concerns are prominent, voters are more pessimistic about the direction of the state.

See chart here

So, why is this important? As demonstrated in past elections, a pessimistic electorate plays a significant role in voter turnout, and turnout by party. Pessimistic voters are typically dissatisfied with the status quo and thus, more likely to favor change. As a result, these voters are more likely to be motivated to express their Oregon Mood and the Economy 2

discontent at the ballot box than their more optimistic counterparts. It seems clear that economics will play a role in this year’s elections, and we are likely to see a larger turnout among voters focused on these issues. Historically, this type of climate has spelled bad news for incumbent officeholders.

Oregon Voter Mood: April-May 2008

Looking more closely at the current perceptions on the direction of the state, Oregon voters today are more likely to say things in the state are off on the wrong track than headed in the right direction (51% wrong track, 40% right direction). This pessimistic sentiment is not shared by all subgroups, however. Regionally, Multnomah County voters are positive about the direction of the state, while Clackamas and Washington County voters are divided, and those residing elsewhere in the state are negative. By age, voters 18-34 are optimistic about the direction of the state, while voters age 35 and older are pessimistic. By party, Republicans are negative about the direction of the state, while Democrats and Independents are divided. Education also plays a role in voter mood: voters with less education (15 years or less) are pessimistic, while those with college degrees or post graduate education are optimistic.

Most Important Issue: April-May 2008

Our current survey also offers deeper detail on the most important issue in the state today. Specifically, jobs and the economy clearly top the list of issue concerns for Oregon voters today. Indeed, one-fourth (25%) say jobs and the economy are the most important issue facing the state today, followed by health care/insurance/HMOs (8%), quality of education (8%), high gas prices (7%), taxes/tax structure (6%), and the environment/pollution (5%). Further, when we combine all economic related responses into one category, we find fully 43% of voters offered an economic-related concern.

This sentiment is consistent among most voter subgroups, with the exception of voters age 18-34, who are equally concerned about jobs/the economy and the quality of education, and Multnomah County voters who express similar levels of concern for three issues: jobs/economy, health care and quality of education. Please feel free to call or email with any questions.