The 15-minute online survey was conducted from September 3 to 8 by Portland-based opinion research organization DHM Research. It consisted of 502 likely Oregon voters, with a little under half of them residing in either Multnomah, Washington or Clackamas County – the tri-county area in and around Portland. A quarter of participants live somewhere else in the Willamette Valley, and the remaining respondents live in other parts of the state.
According to the poll, 66 percent of Oregon voters disapprove of the ongoing rioting and violence in Portland, while 31 percent approve of them. For people who live within the tri-county area, 61 percent disapprove with 36 percent approve.
The only demographic who approved of the rioting were likely voters aged 18 to 29, with 62 percent of them saying that they approve compared to 33 percent who disapprove. Respondents who identified as people of color, meanwhile, were split almost evenly down the middle, with 49 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving.
Furthermore, when the survey respondents were asked if they believe the violence in Portland was helpful or harmful to Black Portlanders, a strong plurality of 48 percent said that they were not helpful. Twenty-nine percent said that the rioting was helpful, 16 percent answered that they were neither helpful nor harmful and seven percent were unsure. Similarly disapproving numbers appeared when they were asked if the rioting was helpful to race relations and to genuine efforts to pass meaningful police reforms.
Similar demographic differences can be seen, as young people and people of color were more likely to believe that the demonstrations were helpful to Black Portlanders, to improving race relations and to passing reforms.
When asked whether they believe the demonstrations were either mostly violent or mostly peaceful, 56 percent said they were the former, while only 36 percent said the latter and seven percent were not sure. There is a strong partisan difference in this assessment, as 57 percent of people who identified as Democrats believed the demonstrations were mostly peaceful compared to 83 percent of Republicans who said they were mostly violent.
Furthermore, a large plurality of the voters – 42 percent – believe that the Portland Police Bureau and the Oregon State Police have not used enough force in their response to the rioters, compared to just 29 percent who believe that they have used too much force and 18 percent who think the amount of force currently being used against the violent mobs is just right. Eleven percent were unsure.
A majority of respondents – 55 percent – believe that the word “riot,” rather than “protest,” more accurately describes the ongoing events in Portland.
When asked about how much they like or dislike the way Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, both Democrats, have responded to the rioting, nearly six in 10 Oregonians – 57 percent for Brown and 58 percent for Wheeler – have expressed their disapproval.
When the fact that Oregonians believe that law enforcement needs to use more force against the violent riots is taken in with the data that shows that they largely disapprove of the way Brown and Wheeler have handled the civil unrest, it shows that they believe more needs to be done to finally bring peace to the state, and that they do not believe Brown and Wheeler are capable of finally bringing law and order to Portland. (Related: Antifa “war encampment” found in Portland, housing agitators who emerge from tents each night to unleash CHAOS and violence.)
Previous surveys conducted to ask Oregonians how they feel about current events in their state shows that the discontent over the nightly violence is growing.
From August 25 to 30, opinion research and strategy company FM3 Research conducted a survey of 434 likely voters in Portland and found that 67 percent of them supported the “protests” while 31 percent opposed it. A slight majority also believe that police use of force, including the use of tear gas and batons, has been inappropriate.
An earlier poll conducted by DHM Research back in late July showed that there were also more mixed views regarding the rioting in Portland at that time, with 67 percent of respondents stating that they approved of the recent protesting, and 66 percent stating their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In this survey, only 19 percent of respondents believed the riots were mostly violent, compared to 27 percent who said they were mostly peaceful.
John Horvick, DHM Research's Director of Client Relations and Political Research, believes that something has changed “in the public's minds about the events that have been happening in Portland.” Horvick argues that the new data may have been influenced by the fact that Oregonians watch footage of the nightly clashes between police and demonstrators, which often includes depictions of massive vandalism and property destruction.
Ron Noble, a Republican member of the Oregon House of Representatives, said that he was not surprised by the latest survey from DHM Research. Noble was supportive of the initial protests, which helped the state legislature pass several police reform bills such as a ban on the use of chokeholds and the creation of a public records directory on disciplinary actions made against individual officers to make it harder for other state law enforcement agencies to hire abusive cops.
Unfortunately, the pursuit of meaningful police reform has been overshadowed by the massive criminality displayed by the Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters.
“It's not about racial equity anymore,” said Noble. “In fact, that message has been co-opted, to where it's really more about anarchy.”
The tide is turning against the rioters. Stay updated on the latest events concerning the civil unrest in the country by reading the articles at Rioting.news.