A new poll commissioned by OPB and Fox 12 finds the economy was the most important issue for Oregon voters this past election.
But with the election results tallied, a large number of Oregonians report negative feelings about the recent campaign and the political system as a whole.
Pollsters at DHM Research contacted 500 registered Oregon voters and asked them a number of questions to gauge their feelings about the 2012 campaign, American politics as well as their confidence moving forward. One open ended question went like this. What one world would you use to describe this past election? Nearly 40 percent of respondents had a negative impression.
“I think I said bitter, but I’m not positive,” was Amy Welter’s response. She’s registered as an Independent, and lives in Corvallis.
And just as she did four years ago, Welter cast her for Barack Obama. But she says she was frustrated by what she perceived to be the negative campaigns by both candidates running for president.
In fact, when asked about candidates themselves, Welter, along with 54 percent of respondents described this year’s races a choice between “the lesser of two evils.”
Forty percent believe the races offered good choices. Six percent didn’t answer. Voters were even more down on the political system as a whole. Nearly 60 percent believe the system is broken and needs to be fixed.
But pollster Tim Hibbitts says one thing the poll didn’t ask is what that remedy might look like.
“For some voters that would simply mean ‘Put my party in charge and don’t compromise with the other party.’ But for some voters as well, it would be ‘Look we need more compromise and we need an ability for both parties to come together on some of those issues and solve problems.’ “
With the election over, attention now turns to the fight brewing on Capitol Hill over government debt and spending.
Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed indicated they would like to see government address the country’s debt before spending any more money. That’s compared to 36 percent who would like to see the government spend money to create jobs, but wait to address the debt until the economy improves.
An when it comes to tackling the national debt, a majority of Oregonians — 52 percent — say they prefer a strategy that combines spending cuts with tax increases, primarily on higher earners.
“And I don’t think there’s any doubt that when you ask people where would you want to go with the tax increase the first place, obviously they’re going to go to is looking at an increase among high income individuals or wealthy individuals,” Hibbits says.
Amy Welter agrees with that strategy, but says she’d be willing to pay a little bit more herself, even though right now she’s between jobs. She says she was laid off two years ago from her job as a mechanical engineer.
The poll’s margin of error is 4.4 percent.