Oregonians Reveal Views on Racial Injustice in New Poll

A new poll by DHM Research and the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center revealed on Tuesday, July 28 that 45 percent of Oregonians do not approve of the job local police have been doing. The poll displays many of the concerns Oregon citizens have regarding racial injustice in the state, including information on Black Lives Matter support, banning tear gas and other munitions, and other hot-button topics.  

The survey polled 603 Oregon citizens from across the state about their opinions on police, protests, and racial injustice and found that 55 percent think that police treat white people better than Black people. The poll’s margin of error, depending on the question asked, has a range from plus or minus two to four percentage points.   

The poll also found that more than two-thirds of surveyed Oregonians support the Black Lives Matter movement, an increase from the 54 percent of citizens that supported it in a 2018 survey also conducted by DHM Research. Democrats, Portland residents, and those aged 18 to 29 are the most supportive of the current protests occurring in Portland, the survey also found.   

35 percent of Oregon citizens polled support the nationwide response to protests by police. Oregonians are also concerned with statewide issues regarding the police force. 51 percent of citizens believed the state was going in the right direction in April, that percentage fell to 43 percent in June and landed at 33 percent in July. According to DHM Research, they have not recorded a decline this sharp since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.   

It was also found that Oregonians are more likely to think crime is increasing in their communities, and 62 percent as reported by The Oregonian “reported that the deaths of Black people during encounters with police in recent years are a sign of a bigger problem.”  

DHM reported that 31 percent of those polled reported that police reform has not worked in the past and that defunding the police will be necessary in making legitimate change, while 39 percent believe that issues can be fixed while keeping the current system, and one-fifth stated that police departments aren’t in need of reform. 57 percent of Oregonians are in support of cutting at least some police funding and reallocating the money to social services.   

There were also high levels of support among those polled for requiring the following: for police officers to intervene and stop excessive force enacted by their colleagues, for officers to report when they utilize or threaten to utilize force against an individual, and for states to release officer disciplinary records. There are also high levels of support for banning the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants.   

Oregonians are split about banning tear gas and other munitions used by the police force, with 50 percent statewide saying they would support a ban and 55 percent in the Portland metro area saying they would support one.   

Two-thirds of those surveyed are also concerned that recent protests occurring across the state will cause an uptick in positive coronavirus cases.   

Finally, the poll also found that Oregonians are extremely concerned about racial injustice as a community issue, second only to COVID-19.   

By Cara Nixon