Portland Metro Chamber survey

By Portland Metro Chamber
Press release,

From December 13 to December 19, 2023, DHM Research conducted a hybrid survey of 500 registered voters in the tri-county area. The purpose of the survey was to track opinions about the economy, jobs, and community issues over time, assess voters’ top priorities, and measure voters’ attitudes about multiple tax problems.

Key Findings

— 78% of voters say that quality of life is getting worse- remains consistent to 2022.
— 51% of voters say the Portland region is headed on the wrong track- down from 52% in 2022.
— Voters are very concerned about affordable housing (72%), cost of living (52%), and crime rates (50%).
— Voters outside of Portland generally feel unsafe going downtown during the day or night, most region’s residents feel unsafe in downtown Portland at night (81%).
— Seven in ten voters feel their taxes are too high.
— A majority of Portland voters (65%) support Portland Public Schools property tax to fund k-12 teaching positions and classroom. support, with 31% of voters opposing.

Survey Data

Each year, the Portland Metro Chamber contracts with DHM Research to survey voters and better understand the shared experience of those who live here.

From December 13 to December 19, 2023, DHM Research conducted a survey of 500 registered voters in the tri-county area. The purpose of the survey was to track opinions about the economy, jobs, and community issues over time, as well as to measure support for local governance and policy proposals.

This hybrid (phone and text-to-online) survey included 250 voters in the City of Portland, and 250 voters from Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties who do not live within the Portland boundary. This is a sufficient sample size to assess voter opinions generally and to review findings by multiple subgroups, including age, gender, region, and party affiliation. Statistical weighting by age, gender, region, and party affiliation allows us to ensure results are representative of registered voters. The margin of error for the full tri-county sample is +/- 4.4%; and the for the City of Portland sample is +/- 6.2%.

Voter Pessimism

Voter pessimism regarding the direction of the county and quality of life in the region continues to be high but is not increasing.

In the Portland region, 51% of voters believe their county of residence is on the wrong track. Multnomah County residents express higher dissatisfaction (69% wrong track) compared to Washington (34% wrong track) and Clackamas (40% wrong track) County residents. Sentiment on county direction has remained stable since 2022. Similarly, voters maintain a pessimistic view of quality of life in Portland, with 78% expressing that it’s getting worse, similar to what we saw in 2022.

Top Issues

Voters continue to consider homelessness and crime as top issues in the region.

When asked to identify the biggest issue facing the region, homelessness and crime remain prominent concerns for tri-county voters. The number of people mentioning homelessness increased from 34% in 2022 to 40% this year, while mentions of crime remained stable at 19%. This year 16% of voters specifically named drug use and addiction as their top concern, which is a measurable jump from 2022. When asked to rate level of concern for specific issues, a majority of voters express very high concern about homelessness (72%), cost of living (52%), and crime rates (50%). Overall, voters’ level of concern about most issues has remained stable in relation to 2022, aside from declines in concern about climate change (35% in 2022 to 28% in 2023) and COVID-19 (12% in 2022 to 5% in 2023).

Economic Outlook

Approximately five in ten tri-county voters harbor pessimistic views regarding their economic opportunities within the region.

The economic outlook of Portland region voters has slightly deteriorated over the past year. About half of voters (49%) feel worse off compared to two years ago, with fewer maintaining (35%) or improving (15%) their economic position. Those outside of Portland are more likely to perceive their household as worse off (54%) financially compared to two years ago, in contrast to Portland residents (39% worse off). In 2023, negative perceptions of economic opportunities (47%) surpassed positive ones (42%) for the first time. The rise in pessimistic views is most likely linked to increased concerns over the cost of living (52%) and affordable housing (48%)—as concern for those issues is much higher than concern for jobs (14%).

Downtown Portland

Tri-county voters continue to feel unsafe downtown, particularly at night. Increasing numbers of those who live outside of Portland are not visiting downtown.

Approximately half of tri-county residents visited downtown Portland in the last 30 days, with 46% having not visited at all. Residents over 35, those outside of Portland, and Republicans are less likely to have visited. Compared to last year, more residents outside of Portland did not visit at all in the previous month (46% in 2022 to 55% in 2023). While most residents consistently feel unsafe downtown (55% during the day, 81% at night), Portland residents are more likely to feel safe during the day (41% feel unsafe) than non-Portland residents (63% feel unsafe). Safety perceptions tend to differ along partisan lines: Democrats feel safer (35% unsafe during the day, 70% at night) than Republicans (75% unsafe during the day, 93% at night) or NAVs (67% unsafe during the day, 86% at night). Notably, those least likely to have visited downtown in the last month are also the most likely to feel unsafe in the area.


Despite seven in ten voters feeling that their taxes are too high, voters are generally split in attitudes toward or supportive of many of the taxes they currently pay.

Seven in ten voters in the tri-county region feel that taxes are too high considering the services they receive—an increase from six in ten in 2022. Republicans and voters in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties are more likely than their counterparts to feel taxes are too high. 76% of Multnomah County residents now feel that taxes are too high.

Tri-county voters are divided on the Metro tax to funds homeless services, with a higher number strongly opposing than strongly supporting.

— Metro regional government’s income tax on higher earning individuals and larger businesses in Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah counties to fund homeless services (n=467, 48% support, 47% oppose).

Multnomah County voters are split in their support of the pre-school for all tax.

— A Multnomah County income tax on higher earning individuals to fund tuition free preschool program for all children ages 3 to 4 (n=278, 51% support, 45% oppose).

City of Portland voters continue to support existing taxes for education and infrastructure improvements, although not as strongly as they have in past years.

— Portland Public Schools property tax to fund K-12 teaching positions and classroom support (n=209, 65% support, 31% oppose).
— PBOT gas tax to fund pothole repair, build sidewalks, and install new streetlights and traffic signals (n=250, 64% support, 32% oppose).
— A City of Portland tax on large businesses of 1% of their sales within the city to fund energy efficiency improvements to local buildings and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (n=250, 55% support, 41% oppose).

About DHM Research:

DHM Research is an independent research firm that specializes in measuring the values and priorities that drive public opinion. Our research provides high-quality, objective information to help organizations and leaders make informed decisions about complex issues. We have decades of experience in polling, public policy research and how it can help shape communities. DHM is proud to be recognized as a B Corp certified company that meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

About the Portland Metro Chamber:

The Portland Metro Chamber – Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce – was founded in 1870 and represents the largest, most diverse business network in the region. The Chamber brings together more than 2,100 members represented by dynamic and varied employers from around the Portland region, and offers a strong source of support, information, advocacy, engagement, and professional development opportunities. Grounded in its mission to create opportunity and advance well-being for all who live and work in the Greater Portland and SW Washington region, the Chamber envisions a healthy and resilient business ecosystem where we work together to increase collaboration in governance; engage community; increase civic leadership; and advocate for a vibrant, livable region for all.

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