Portland Mayoral Election: One-Day Survey Results

by Dorothy Scheeline // Published November 7, 2011

Voters Overwhelmingly Rank More than One Candidate and Find it Easy

FairVote conducted a one-day survey of 122 early voters on Thursday, November 3 participating in Portland's first mayoral election in nearly a century. 

The survey reveals that Portland voters find their new ranked choice ballot easy to use and have experienced a mayoral campaign that has promoted civic engagement.

Highlights of the survey include:

"Were the voting instructions &/or the ballot design easy or difficult to understand?
o 94.2%: I understood them fully
o 5.0%: I only partially understood them
o 0.8%: I was confused about them

"How difficult or easy did you find the concept of ranking candidates?"
o 39.7%: Very easy
o 26.4%: Easy
o 22.3%: Neither difficult nor easy
o 7.4%: Difficult
o 4.1%: Very difficult

"In the mayor's race, did you:"
o 35.0%: Rank more than 5 candidates 
o 52.5%: Rank 2, 3, 4 or 5 candidates
o 12.5%: Rank only 1 candidate

In addition to these results, 40.5% of respondents felt there was less negative campaigning, as opposed to only 8.6% percent who found it more negative.

45% of respondents felt more inclined to vote for their preferred candidate than in past elections, as opposed to only 0.8% percent who said they were less inclined.

39.2% of respondents said they gathered more information about candidates than in past elections as opposed to 9.2% who said they gathered less information.

"These results show that voters not only understand the ranked choice system, but are using their rankings in the way that benefits them, by ranking as many candidates as they prefer. The majority of voters are choosing to rank multiple candidates, and not a single respondent choosing to vote for only one said they did so because they didn't understand RCV" said FairVote Executive Director Rob Richie. 

"Portland is traditionally a very civicly engaged community and voters have continued that tradition in this election by researching more candidates than just their top choice. This means that they have back-up choices if their first choice is dropped from the race during the counting process."

 FairVote applauds the City Clerk and the Elections Department and Portland's civic organizations for their work preparing for Portland's first ranked choice voting elections. For more information, please visit PortlandVotes123.com