Politics of Oregon

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Like many other U.S. states, the politics of Oregon is centered mostly around regional concerns.[citation needed] 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.[1] The state has voted Democratic, by relatively small margins, since 1988 in Presidential elections.[2]

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 democratic. While roughly three fifths (~57%) of the population of Oregon (Total population 3.8 Million plus) lives in the Portland area,[3] 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,[4] medical marijuana,[5] euthanasia[6] and environmental protections.


For the first half of the 20th century, Oregon was the most consistently Republican west coast state.[7] 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 fourteen and two seats in the state House and Senate, respectively, signaled a strong shift towards the Democratic Party.[7]

The last Republican Governor of Oregon was Victor G. Atiyeh who served from 1979-1987[8][9]

The most prolific Governor in Oregon history is John Kitzhaber who had served two consecutive terms as governor before winning a third from Republican debutant and former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley[10][11][12] In 1994, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Key issues[edit]

Key issues in Oregon include:[citation needed]

Population's political ideology[edit]

Presidential elections results[13]
Year Republican Democratic
2012 42.18% 754,095 54.27% 970,343
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:[14]

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.).[15]

Political parties[edit]

As of August 1, 2012, there were 2,095,721 registered voters in Oregon and their political party affiliations were:[16]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]