Regardless of where they live, most Oregonians support Gov. Kate Brown’s stay-at-home orders, according to survey results released Wednesday by an independent firm. That support is strong even among the 40% of respondents who had suffered job losses, pay cuts or reduced work hours.
The survey conducted by Portland-based DHM Research indicated that, overall, 60% of Oregonians strongly support the stay-at-home orders, and an additional 22% somewhat support them. Only 6% are strongly opposed. Those are similar to national results, in which strong opposition is uncommon.
“This last week we’ve been seeing small but visible protests, including in Redmond, and they are just absolutely the exception,” said John Horvick, DHM’s director of client relations and political research.
The online survey of 900 adult Oregonians was conducted April 17-21.
Participants indicated that the most important prerequisites for reopening the economy were having widespread testing for COVID-19, sufficient hospital capacity and available effective treatments. But Horvick said support for testing hinges on Oregonians then seeing a decline in positive cases.
“This is very fluid. People could change their minds tomorrow,” he said. “As of today, without testing people are going to be reluctant to allow businesses to open. They’re going to be reluctant for themselves to re-engage in the community.”
His takeaway was that Oregon should do whatever it could to increase testing.
As of Wednesday morning, 2,059 people in Oregon had tested positive for COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority could not give the number of negative tests and overall tests “due to a technical issue with the test reporting database.”
The DHM survey found little support for allowing businesses, schools and other places to reopen on a specific date — either June 1 or Jan. 1 — no matter what. Neither was there support for using a high unemployment rate (15%) as a barometer for reopening.
Fifty-one percent of respondents said Oregon is headed in the right direction, an 11 percentage point jump from last month’s survey. Horvick said he saw a similar increase in Washington state.
That sentiment varied little throughout Oregon, with 49% in the tri-county Portland area saying the state was heading the right way, compared with 52% both in the Willamette Valley and in the rest of the state.
“I think what this ‘right direction’ number is saying is Oregonians are hyperfocused on COVID, and they’re giving the state high marks for how it’s managing it,” Horvick said.
But partisan differences showed, with Democrats (70%) more positive than Republicans (28%) and nonaffiliated or “other party” voters (48%).
Worry about COVID-19 spreading locally was highest in the Portland metro area at 74%, compared with 68% among Willamette Valley residents and 66% in the rest of the state.
Slightly less than majorities agreed with monitoring COVID-19 patients with GPS to ensure they stayed in self-isolation, fining people who violated the stay-at-home orders or allowing people who have recovered from the virus to resume normal activities without restrictions.
DHM plans to release additional results on Thursday and Friday. The survey was conducted in partnership with the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center.