The proposed Lane County Vehicle Registration Fee is losing in a landslide.
There are three factors that alone or in combination might explain this. First, Lane County generally does not like new kinds of taxes or fees, such as income taxes and the like. They usually lose in landslides. Just look at Mayor Piercy’s failures in Eugene. In that sense, this result is to be expected.
Second, it might not be clear to the general public how this measure fits in the larger context. The campaign for the successful jail levy had its direct roots in the 2009 “Fund the Jail” grass roots campaign. By contrast, road maintenance didn’t seem to figure at all in last May’s campaigns. Commissioner Bozievich, for example, emphasized the economy and public safety.
Finally, the Kitzhaber resignation could be compounding the measure’s woes. Other research implies that Oregon’s confidence in its government took a huge hit and the vehicle registration might just be on the ballot at the wrong time.
How to balance these? These results are consistent with other polls our company has done in the area. That observation supports the first two factors. The extremely low “don’t know” percentage supports the third factor – people will say “no” to anything government proposes. This should not be underestimated. Under usual circumstances, the “don’t know” should be closer to 20 percent.
QUESTION: Lane County plans to place this measure on the May ballot:
To ensure road safety by modestly increasing vehicle registration fee. Shall streets, roads, and bridges be kept safe and well maintained through a $35/year increase in the vehicle registration fee? If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no?
IF YES/NO: Is that strongly or somewhat?
IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?
METHODOLOGY: Live telephone interviews of 200 likely Lane County May Special Election voters were conducted March 9-10, 2015 and April 1-2, 2015. The margin of error at the sample median for each survey is 7%. Registered voters were called. Quotas were established based on gender, age, party, and region. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
REFERENCES: Polling presented at the Dorchester Conference: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/03/at_seaside_conference_gop_mode.html.