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OPB Poll: Oregonians Are Uninformed About How Government Works

OPB | May 9, 2014 11:33 a.m. | Updated: May 12, 2014 4 p.m. | Portland

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Many Oregonians are uninformed about how government works, according to a new OPB poll.

DHM Research found that when asked to name a tax that pays for state services, only 36 percent knew it was income tax. 33 percent named the property tax, which pays for local services.

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Political analyst Jim Moore with Pacific University says Oregonians are in the middle of the pack when it comes to political knowledge.

“We’ve got polling data going back for decades that show that people don’t know the answers to these questions,” said Moore. 

“And you can argue the polices have been okay over that time. So yes, it’s something to be worried about, but when we look at the outcomes and policy and who gets elected and things like that, it’s about what we would expect, even if people knew nothing about government.”

Only a little more than half of those surveyed knew how many U.S. senators Oregon has:  53 percent knew that each state has two.

Moore says the lack of political knowledge is the reason candidates are marketed like soap.  He says voters make their choices as much for emotional reasons as they do for issues.

The poll surveyed 400 registered voters in Oregon and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

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