Results of a poll commissioned by the Portland Business Alliance released Monday morning show low reelection support for City Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Dan Ryan—but high rates of uncertainty how voters will cast their ballots come spring.
Hardesty and Ryan are the only two city commissioners up for reelection this spring. Only 18% of respondents said they would vote for Hardesty, and only 10% said they’d reelect Ryan.
The results of the survey, conducted by DHM Research, were first reported today by The Oregonian.
Though Ryan’s and Hardesty’s numbers appear dismal, many survey respondents said they were unsure of how they would vote come spring.
Thirty-four percent of respondents said they’d vote for someone other than Ryan, but the remaining 56% said they remained unsure of their ballot selections.
Public opinion on Hardesty appears more settled: 54% of respondents said they would vote for an opponent to Hardesty, while only 28% remained unsure.
That makes some sense, as Hardesty has served on the Portland City Council longer than Ryan and has been a high-profile figure in news coverage surrounding police reform, as well as an attempt by the police union’s president to sabotage her political prospects.
The survey, conducted over one week in mid-December, has a 6.2% margin of error. It reflects larger trends across the West Coast, where frustrations about homelessness and crime have overwhelmed incumbents. Voters dealt progressive candidates a rebuke in Seattle’s city elections late last year, while San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, has taken a hardline approach to shoplifting, open drug use and homeless camping.
The survey gauged the opinions of 500 prospective voters. Of those, 250 were Portlanders, and the other 250 were from Washington and Clackamas counties. (Only Portland voters were surveyed about the upcoming City Council elections.)
The survey also gauged voters’ sentiments about hot-button issues such as homelessness, police oversight and staffing, and charter reform to potentially rework the structure of the city’s government.
Seventy-nine percent of Portlanders surveyed said they thought homeless people should be required to either sleep in overnight shelters or “designated camping locations.” Forty-six percent of those surveyed also named homelessness as the city’s biggest issue.
Eighty-one percent of Portlanders feel the City Council is ineffective.
Over half of the respondents said they’d like a form of government in which a city manager reports to City Council. Just over a third of respondents said they were unsure. Over two-thirds of those surveyed said they want city commissioners to be elected by district.
Respondents felt particularly strongly about beefing up law enforcement: 83% support hiring more police officers, just shy of 80% want more prosecutors to prosecute violent crimes, and 90% want body-worn cameras for cops. Seventy-two percent said they’d like to see more funding go to community safety groups, too.