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Politics of Oregon

politics of bend oregon, politics of portland oregon
Like many other US states, the politics of Oregon largely concerns regional issues1 Oregon leans Democratic as a state, with both US Senators from the Democratic party,2 as well as four out of Oregon's five US Representatives3 The state has voted Democratic, by relatively small margins, since 1988 in presidential elections4 Both houses of Oregon's legislative assembly have been under Democratic control since the 2012 elections5

The state is broken up into two main geographically separate political areas: the liberal cities of the Willamette Valley and the rest of the state, whose voters are moving from conservative to libertarian16 While about 47% of the population of Oregon lives in the Portland metropolitan area as of 2013,78 the state has a rural population with generally conservative views on same-sex marriage and state taxes On most other issues, however, the state leans considerably left, including on public health care,910 medical marijuana,11 assisted dying12 and environmental protections13


  • 1 History
  • 2 Political geography
  • 3 Key issues
  • 4 Population's political ideology
  • 5 Political parties
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


For the first half of the 20th century, Oregon was the most consistently Republican west coast state14 In 1954, the upset of incumbent Republican Senator Guy Cordon by Democrat Richard L Neuberger, along with Democratic wins in the US House and statewide races and pickups of fourteen and two seats in the state House and Senate, respectively, signaled the beginning of a shift towards the Democratic Party14 The last Republican governor of Oregon was Victor G Atiyeh, who served from 1979–19871516 Since 1988, Oregon voters have consistently favored Democratic candidates for most major elected positions, including the US presidency

The longest-serving governor in Oregon history is John Kitzhaber, who served two consecutive terms as governor, then left office before returning to office by winning a third term in 2010 ahead of Republican and former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley and the 2014 election against Republican Dennis Richardson Kitzhaber submitted his resignation in February 2015 after allegations of financial impropriety involving his partner, Cylvia Hayes, and certain lobbying efforts171819

Political geographyedit

Oregon's politics are largely divided by the Cascade Mountains, with much of western Oregon leaning Democratic and eastern Oregon leaning Republican20 Republicans do have some strongholds in the western part of the state, however, such as Linn County, where the Republican presidential candidate has won in every election since 198021 Southern Oregon is also a Republican stronghold, except in Jackson County, which frequently votes for both Republican and Democratic candidates

In the 1998 gubernatorial election, the only county won by Republican candidate Bill Sizemore was Malheur County

Based on voting data from the 2012 presidential election, Ontario in Malheur County was rated as the most Republican in the state22 Gresham in Multnomah County was rated as the most Democratic23

In the 2016 presidential election, Republican candidate Donald Trump performed best in Lake County, where he received 77% of the vote Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton performed best in Multnomah County, where she received 73% of the vote Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson performed best in Gilliam County, where he received 8% of the vote

The last time a Democrat won every county in the state in a presidential election was in 1936, when Franklin D Roosevelt carried all counties The last time a Republican accomplished this feat was in 1928, when every county was won by Herbert Hoover The last time a third-party candidate won any county was in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt carried Clatsop, Columbia, Jackson, and Washington counties on the Progressive ticket

Key issuesedit

Key issues in Oregon include:citation needed

  • Employment
  • Environmental protection1
  • Native American relations particularly in respect to gambling and casinos
  • Public health care
  • Public transportation
  • School funding
  • Taxes
  • Land use

Population's political ideologyedit

Presidential elections results24
Year Republican Democratic
2016 411% 742,506 517% 934,631
2012 4215% 754,175 5424% 970,488
2008 4040% 738,475 5675% 1,037,291
2004 4719% 866,831 5135% 943,163
2000 4646% 713,577 4701% 720,342
1996 3906% 538,152 4715% 649,641
1992 3253% 475,757 4248% 621,314
1988 4661% 560,126 5128% 616,206
1984 5591% 685,700 4374% 536,479
1980 4833% 571,044 3867% 456,890
1976 4778% 492,120 4762% 490,407
1972 5245% 486,686 4233% 392,760
1968 4983% 408,433 4378% 358,866
1964 3596% 282,779 6372% 501,017
1960 5256% 408,060 4732% 367,402
1956 5525% 406,393 4475% 329,204
1952 6054% 420,815 3893% 270,579

Similar to the West Coast states of California and Washington, Oregon has a high percentage of people who identify as liberals A 2013 Gallup poll that surveyed the political ideology of residents in every state found that people in Oregon identified as:25

  • 348% moderate
  • 336% conservative the 10th least conservative state
  • 279% liberal the 5th most liberal state

Another study on the state's political ideology noted that the state's conservatives were the most conservative of any state more so than Utah or Tennessee and that the state's liberals were more liberal than any state more so than Vermont or DC26

Political partiesedit

Main article: List of political parties in Oregon

As of December 2016, there were 2,571,722 registered voters in Oregon and their political party affiliations highest to lowest were:27

  • 380% Democratic Party
  • 277% Republican Party
  • 272% "Non-affiliated" with any party
  • 46% Independent Party
  • 07% Libertarian Party
  • 04% Working Families Party
  • 04% Pacific Green Party
  • 01% Constitution Party
  • <01% Progressive Party
  • <01% Americans Elect Party
  • 07% with other political parties

See alsoedit

  • Political party strength in Oregon


  1. ^ a b c Cohen, Micah August 16, 2012 "Oregon, Sitting at the Border of Safe and In Play" FiveThirtyEight Retrieved August 6, 2014 
  2. ^ "Oregon's United States Senators" Oregon Blue Book Oregon Secretary of State Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  3. ^ "Oregon's United States Representatives" Oregon Blue Book Oregon Secretary of State Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  4. ^ "Votes Cast in Oregon for US President 1860-2012" Oregon Blue Book Oregon Secretary of State Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  5. ^ "2012 Election Results: Oregon Legislature" OregonLivecom Retrieved November 7, 2012 
  6. ^ Yardley, William May 19, 2008 "A Shift in Voters, but Oregon Still Embraces the Unconventional" The New York Times Retrieved July 27, 2014 
  7. ^ "State & County QuickFacts: Oregon" US Census Bureau Retrieved July 27, 2014 
  8. ^ "Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses" PDF The White House November 20, 2007 p 45 Retrieved July 27, 2014 
  9. ^ "Oregon Health Plan" State of Oregon Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  10. ^ Vekshin, Alison May 19, 2014 "Doctor-Governor Kitzhaber Imperiled by Oregon Insurance Failure" Bloomberg Businessweek Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  11. ^ "Oregon Medical Marijuana Program OMMP" Oregon Health Authority State of Oregon Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  12. ^ Oregon Death with Dignity Act
  13. ^ McCaulou, Lily Raff December 10, 2012 "Oregon's political divide" The Bulletin Bend, Oregon Retrieved July 27, 2014 
  14. ^ a b Swarthout, John M December 1954 "The 1954 Election in Oregon" The Western Political Quarterly The Western Political Quarterly 7 4: 620–625 JSTOR 442815 doi:102307/442815 
  15. ^ "Governor Victor G Atiyeh's Administration: Biographical Note" Oregon Secretary of State Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  16. ^ Turner, Wallace May 18, 1982 "Oregon's Governor Leading 6 in Polls" The New York Times Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  17. ^ "Governor John Kitzhaber" Oregon Blue Book Oregon Secretary of State Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  18. ^ Kaplan, Thomas August 2, 2010 "Candidate’s Platform: Jobs Experience: NBA" The New York Times Retrieved July 31, 2010 
  19. ^ Nakamura, Beth "Governor John Kitzhaber announces his resignation" The Oregonian Retrieved February 13, 2015 
  20. ^ Cohen, Micah August 16, 2012 "Oregon, Sitting at the Border of Safe and In Play" FiveThirtyEight The New York Times Retrieved January 3, 2016 Oregon, like Wisconsin, is an ideologically polarized state The Cascade Mountains are a convenient dividing line, politically and geographically 
  21. ^ Presidential Election of 1976 by County
  22. ^ White, Carrie June 14, 2016 "These Are The 10 Most Conservative Cities In Oregon" RoadSnacks Retrieved January 7, 2017 
  23. ^ White, Carrie June 14, 2016 "These Are The 10 Most Liberal Cities In Oregon" RoadSnacks Retrieved January 7, 2017 
  24. ^ Leip, Dave "Presidential General Election Results Comparison - Oregon" Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  25. ^ Swift, Art January 31, 2014 "Wyoming Residents Most Conservative, DC Most Liberal" Gallup Retrieved July 31, 2014 
  26. ^ Silver, Nate May 17, 2008 "Oregon: Swing State or latte-drinking, Prius-driving lesbian commune" FiveThirtyEightcom Retrieved February 24, 2010 
  27. ^ Oregon State Elections Division 2017-01-09 "Voter Registration by County" PDF Oregongov Oregon Secretary of State Retrieved 2017-02-06 

External linksedit

  • Politics of Oregon at DMOZ

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