Idaho Voters Would Expand Border to Protect Some From Portland Politics: Poll

A majority of Idaho voters said they would be in favor of expanding the state's borders to include parts of rural Oregon for economic purposes and to protect those residents from "Portland politicians," according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by the Trafalgar Group and the organization Citizens for Greater Idaho, found that roughly 51 percent of state respondents are in favor of expanding the state's borders.

Citizens for Greater Idaho defines itself as an organization that aims to broaden Republican-dominated Idaho into parts of Oregon and other states so that "conservative counties can become a part of a red state," according to its website. The group says its movement began with a focus on Oregon but now includes parts of California and Washington.

"The Oregon/Idaho border was established 161 years ago and is now outdated. It makes no sense in its current location because it doesn't match the location of the cultural divide in Oregon. The Oregon/Washington border was updated in 1958. It's time to move other borders," the website states.

Idaho poster, expanding borders
A majority of Idaho voters, according to a new poll, would be in favor of expanding the state's borders to include parts of rural Oregon. Shown here is a vintage illustration of a "Greetings from Idaho" postcard from the 1950s. Found Image Holdings/Corbis/Getty Images

The new poll found that among Idaho residents that voted in the most recent Republican primary, 59 percent are in favor of expanding the state's borders while just 26 percent said they are opposed.

Additionally, the survey found that 60.8 percent of all respondents said they would favor the expansion if the proposed counties "were very similar to Idaho in voting patterns, and would help the state financially." Among Republican voters, that number jumped to nearly 73 percent.

When asked why respondents felt it would be important to expand Idaho into parts of Oregon, nearly 47 percent said it was in order to protect residents "from Portland politicians." An additional 35 percent said they believed it would help reduce tax rates and increase Idaho's budget, while 18.5 percent said making the move would push "Oregon laws and drug sales" further from where they lived.

The survey was conducted between October 23 and October 27, polling 1112 respondents across the state. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.94 percentage points.

The most recent polling comes after five Idaho counties voted in favor of the Greater Idaho movement earlier this year, with an average of 62 percent favorability, according to the organization. The issue is now being voted on in Harney County, Idaho, where polling will close on November 2.

According to the group, the ballot measures are intended to put pressure on the state legislatures of Oregon and Idaho in order for lawmakers to negotiate a deal and eventually expand borders.

"Idaho's government would defend us from the radical Left's cultural revolution and preserve our way of life – Oregon's government wouldn't," Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon's Border and Citizens for Greater Idaho, said in a statement.

However, the idea has already faced skepticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Idaho.

"How is it being received right now by the state of Oregon?" asked Republican Representative Ben Adams when the idea was presented to legislators in April, according to Nexstar. "How hard would they be fighting to make it not happen? Most states don't like to lose their resources to their neighbors."