Finding Common Ground in a Divided Political Culture

In December of 2017, PolicyInteractive conducted surveys that capture the subtleties of public opinion in Oregon. Through this project, we made the discovery that Oregon is not as polarized as the November 2016 election results would suggest. Despite the stark red-and-blue divisions exposed by many of the choices on the ballot, most Oregonians share common ground on important issues — notably climate change and health care.

Building on surveys conducted on a national scale by the Pew Research Group, this project involved sorting Oregonians into eight political archetypes or typologiesranging from “Solid Liberals” on the far left to “Core Conservatives” on the far right.

We found that in Oregon, only 30 percent hold opinions that place them in those solid blue liberal or bright red conservative outer bands of the political spectrum. The remaining 70 percent comprise six other voter archetypes in which liberal and conservative ideas are mixed in surprising ways.

The overall picture is one of great complexity — Oregonians see the world in full color, not just red and blue. Disagreements do exist, but not nearly so much as agreement. Of 25 defining topics often parlayed as divisive, only five can be observed as truly contested. The larger picture displays opportunities for cooperation and progress on challenging topics most Oregonians want solutions on.

I.  Reports and Supplements from Dec. 2017 survey:

  1. Report Summary and Methodology
  2. Typology 1 Survey: Unabridged results questions, results, and benchmarks
  3. Who Are These People? A sketch of 8 political archetypes
  4. Public Opinion Re Climate Policy: Bar charts
  5. Public Opinion Re Health Care Policy: Bar charts
  6. Climate Policy: Detailed report

Replication of Finding Common Ground Project

PolicyInteractive replicated this Finding Common Ground Study survey in December of 2018 with the intention to validate questions and methodology from the original study from December of 2017, extend and refine methods, obtain a larger sample to increase confidence in results, and to explore public opinion on current bills being considered in the upcoming Oregon legislature. Methodology is included at the end of the first document below.

II.  Reports and Supplements from Dec. 2018 survey (data hot off the press– reports still in progress):

  1. Typology 2 Survey: Unabridged results questions, results, benchmarks, and methodology
  2. Public Opinion Re Campaign Finance: Bar charts
  3. Public Opinion Re Career Technical vs. University Education: Bar charts
  4. Public Opinion Re Spending on Education: Bar charts
  5. Public Opinion Re Tax Revenue: Bar charts
  6. Public Opinion Re Public Service Wants: Bar charts

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