66 Percent of Oregon Voters Disapprove of Protests in Portland, Poll Finds

A majority of Oregon voters say they disapprove the ongoing protests in Portland, according to a new poll.

The poll, which was conducted by DHM Research, an independent nonpartisan public opinion research firm in Oregon, 66 percent of voters in Oregon said they disapproved of the protests, with 52 percent saying they strongly disapprove and 14 percent saying somewhat.

DHM research surveyed 502 Oregon voters from September 3 to September 8, and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

On the other hand, the poll found 31 percent of Oregon voters saying they approve of the nightly protests, with 19 percent saying they somewhat approve and 12 percent saying they strongly approve.

Newsweek reached out to Oregon Governor Kate Brown's office for comment on the poll's findings but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The results come as protests in Portland have continued over 100 consecutive nights, calling for an end to police brutality against Black Americans, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The poll also asked Oregon voters if they think the protests have been helpful or harmful to Black Portlanders and race relations.

According to the poll, 48 percent of Oregon voters said they think the protests are harmful to Black Portland residents, while 29 percent said the opposite. Fifty-three percent of Oregon voters said they think the protests are harmful to race relations, while 23 percent said they were helpful.

Additionally, the poll found that 42 percent of Oregon voters say that the Portland police have not used enough force in responding to the ongoing protests. Twenty-nine percent said they were using too much, 18 percent said about right and 11 percent said they didn't know.

Oregon voters were almost evenly split on their ratings of Portland police, with 46 percent saying they approve of their response to the protests, while 45 percent said the opposite.

Portland Protests
Protesters retreat through tear gas as Portland, Oregon, police disperse a protest against police brutality and racial injustice on September. According to the poll, 48 percent of Oregon voters said they think the protests are harmful to Black Portland residents, while 29 percent said the opposite. Nathan Howard/Getty

A day prior to the poll's publication, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a new directive ordering the Portland Police Bureau to stop using CS gas, a type of tear gas, for crowd control at protests.

"It's time for everyone to reduce the violence in our community. We all want change. We all have the opportunity and obligation to create change," Wheeler said in announcing his directive. "We all want to focus on the fundamental issue at hand—justice for Black people and all people of color."

In response, the Portland Police Bureau issued a statement, saying that it considered the ban on CS gas "as reckless and short sighted."

"The OSP [Oregon State Police] will be forced to assess our involvement in assisting the city of Portland, we will not force our troopers into this untenable situation and limit their ability to defend themselves and others," the statement added.