A new survey from Public Policy Polling finds that a majority of Portland voters are satisfied with the direction the city is heading with Mayor Ethan Strimling at the helm, but they are also eager to see changes made to education funding, housing regulations, and corporate welfare.
Strimling is exceedingly popular in the city with a 60% approval rating, and a similar 66% of voters say things are heading in the right direction in the city. Just 34% disapprove of the job Strimling is doing in his first year in office, and an even smaller 32% say the city is heading in the wrong direction.
That doesnâ€™t mean that voters are complacent about major issues facing the city, however. A whole host of progressive reforms on the agenda in Portland receive majority support from voters, including borrowing money to renovate local schools, tightening regulations on landlords, reforming corporate tax breaks, protecting public health, and expanding voting rights.
Voters are most unified around education funding improvements. More than two-in-three voters (68%) back the school boardâ€™s plan to borrow $70 million to renovate Reiche, Presumposcot, Lyseth, and Longfellow elementary schools. Just 23% oppose the plan.
Also receiving strong support is a litany of proposals to limit landlords when it comes to evicting residents and raising rents. A 56% majority of voters supports limiting how much a Portland landlord can raise rent annually, while 54% support requiring landlords to provide a 90-days notice before evicting a tenant.
Majority support is also seen for limiting the scope of the cityâ€™s corporate tax breaks. 74% of voters believe that Portland should not give tax breaks to individual businesses or should only do so if the business hires people from Portland and pays a living wage. Just 19% think that the city should give tax breaks to all businesses, regardless of their employment policies.
When it comes to the India Street Health Clinic, residents are strongly opposed to the proposal to close the clinicÂ and transfer its services to a privately run health center. By a two-to-one margin (55/27), voters say that the clinic should stay open, and it should continue to provide services through the public sector.
Expanding civic participation is highly important to voters. 58% agree that legal immigrants who are residents of Portland and 18 years of age or older should be allowed to vote in municipal elections. Less than one-third (32%) disagree with this proposal.
PPP surveyed 489 Portland voters from October 11-14. The margin of error is +/-4.4%. This poll was conducted by automated telephone interviews.