Like many other U.S. states, the politics of Oregon is centered mostly around regional concerns. Oregon leans Democratic as a state, with both U.S Senators from the Democratic party, as well as four out of Oregon's five U.S. Representatives. The state has voted Democrat, by relatively small margins, since 1988 in Presidential elections but also is showing a Libertarian streak in recent years.
The state is broken up into two main geographically separate political areas: the Portland metropolitan area and Eugene, liberal centers of the state, and the rest of the state, whose voters are moving from conservative to libertarian vs democrat. While roughly three fifths (~57%) of the population of Oregon (Total population 3.8 Million plus) lives in the Portland area, the state has a rural population with generally conservative views on gay marriage and state taxes. On most other issues however, the state leans considerably left, including public health care, medical marijuana, euthanasia and environmental protections.
For the first half of the 20th century, Oregon was the most consistently Republican west coast state. In 1954, the upset of incumbent Republican Senator Guy Cordon by Democrat Richard L. Neuberger, along with Democratic wins in the U.S. House and statewide races and pickups of 14 and two seats in the state House and Senate, respectively, signaled a strong shift towards the Democratic Party.
Key issues in Oregon include:
Population's political ideology
Presidential elections results
|2008||40.40% 738,475||56.75% 1,037,291|
|2004||47.19% 866,831||51.35% 943,163|
|2000||46.46% 713,577||47.01% 720,342|
|1996||39.06% 538,152||47.15% 649,641|
|1992||32.53% 475,757||42.48% 621,314|
|1988||46.61% 560,126||51.28% 616,206|
|1984||55.91% 685,700||43.74% 536,479|
|1980||48.33% 571,044||38.67% 456,890|
|1976||47.78% 492,120||47.62% 490,407|
|1972||52.45% 486,686||42.33% 392,760|
|1968||49.83% 408,433||43.78% 358,866|
|1964||35.96% 282,779||63.72% 501,017|
|1960||52.56% 408,060||47.32% 367,402|
|1956||55.25% 406,393||44.75% 329,204|
|1952||60.54% 420,815||38.93% 270,579|
Similar to the West Coast states of California and Washington, Oregon has a high percentage of people who identify as liberals. A 2010 Gallup poll that surveyed the political ideology of residents in every state found that people in Oregon identified as:
Another study on the state's resident'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 D.C.).
As of August 1st, 2012, there were 2,095,721 registered voters in Oregon and their political party affiliations were: