Readers' confidence cools as political season heats up

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Some Oregon leaders are less than pleased with the current state of politics, according to the 600 respondents to our online survey conducted by Conkling Fiskum & McCormick. They were much more optimistic in August 2005, when 45% said they thought things were headed in the right direction. In this month’s survey, that dropped to 35% saying they think things are on the right track.

This increased pessimism could be because of reservations about newly elected officials, according to Regina Lawrence, chair of the political science department at Portland State University’s Mark O. Hatfield School of Government. She notes these results reflect a national trend of declining confidence in politicians.

One of the biggest changes in this year’s Legislature is the Democrats gaining control. This made more of an impact on our respondents than Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s re-election. The fact that 47% say the climate for business will decline “may indicate the feeling that ‘Democrats aren’t good for business,’” says Lawrence.

However, respondents remain steadfast in their support for improving Oregon’s schools, with 58% saying that K-12 education should be a top priority for the 2007 Legislature. After all, without workers who excel at the three R’s, no business is on solid ground.

“This reinforces the message to politicians that now is the time [to reform education],” says Lawrence.

— Colleen Moran

 

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Research conducted by Conkling Fiskum & McCormick.

 

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