Poll: Majority support repealing OR ban on rent control

52 percent of statewide voters support eliminating the existing ban on rent control

With rent prices skyrocketing across the Portland metro area, many are campaigning for the controversial practice of rent control, July 27, 2015. (KOIN)
A For Rent sign in Portland, July 27, 2015. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — As housing costs increase across the state, a slim majority of Oregon voters support repealing the statewide ban on rent control — with the most support being in the Portland area.

According to a new poll by DHM Research, 52 percent of statewide voters support eliminating the existing ban on rent control.

Support is highest in the Portland area, where 58 percent support a change in Oregon laws to allow cities and counties to enact their own rent control policies.

Voters in the Willamette Valley are also supportive, but less so, at 52 percent. Voters elsewhere in the state are split on the issue: 42 percent support ending the ban and 44 percent oppose it.

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Portland Democrat, recently said she will ask the 2017 Oregon Legislature to repeal that statewide ban on rent control.

According to the poll, partisan politics play a role in the issue. Statewide, 60 percent of Democrats support the repealing the ban, compared to 53 percent of nonaffiliated voters and compared to 39 percent of Republicans.

DHM Research says the debate over rent control is happening at a time when many Oregon voters are feeling squeezed by the cost of housing. A little more than one-quarter of respondents indicate that their housing costs, including basic utilities, exceed 30 percent of their income.

Although the affordability issue affects residents from all parts of the state, in the Portland area, 28 percent of voters say their housing costs are too high. That compares to 23 percent in the Willamette Valley and 25 percent in the rest of the state.

Portland-area voters are also the most likely to view housing in their area as unaffordable, regardless of their personal circumstances, the poll found. A majority of Portland-area voters — 56 percent — say housing in the community is not too affordable or not at all affordable. Just 6 percent of Portland-area voters say housing costs in their community are “very affordable.”

In contrast, a majority of voters in the Willamette Valley (57 percent) and elsewhere in the state (54 percent) say housing in their community is affordable.

DHM Research is a widely-respected Portland polling firm. Its telephone survey of 517 registered Oregon voters was conducted from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 6, 2106. It has a margin or error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.

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