Poll shows opposition to Oregon's Measure 114 now ahead of support

Poll shows opposition to Oregon's Measure 114 now ahead of support
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Oregon is one of the most progressive states in the nation. While there are signs that may be changing, it’s not going to happen overnight.

And that brings me to Measure 114.

If it passes, the ballot initiative would make Oregon most of the most restrictive states in the entire nation when it comes to gun ownership. In fact, it treats gun ownership as a privilege, not a right.

But the question is, will it pass? It might be easy to think this is a no-brainer, but according to polling, it’s not.

Civil rights leaders and supporters of Measure 114 took their voices to Dawson Park Thursday morning as Election Day is less than a week away.

A recent poll put out by Nelson Research — a public opinion research firm based in Salem — asked 577 likely Oregon voters their thoughts on Measure 114.

About 46.1% of them said they support the measure with 49.4% opposing it. Meanwhile 4.5% of people were still undecided — with a margin of error of 4.1%.

In other words, there’s a possibility of about 8.6 points of variation come next week’s voting.

That’s seriously bad news for Measure 114 proponents. As Cam noted earlier in the week, the funding for supporters is astroturf backed by wealthy benefactors while the opposition is truly grassroots.

So why is it so close?

There are a lot of potential reasons, but part of it is that Measure 114 enacts a whole lot of restrictions right off the bat. It’s not a slow boil that the frog in the pot doesn’t notice until it’s too late. This is a rolling boil right from the start that the frog can’t ignore.

Oh, but this isn’t that big of a deal, according to supporters.

“Nowhere in 114 is anyone said that we’re coming after your Second Amendment right,” said Reverend Dr. Matt Hennessee of the Interfaith Peace and Action Collaborative. “It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with people being responsible about the guns that they have, and not using them against each other.”

Uh…that’s exactly what it does.

Measure 114 would require a permit to purchase a firearm, after undergoing mandatory training as well as banning standard capacity magazines. Just because the measure does explicitly spell out the plan from here doesn’t mean anti-gun groups will stop here, either.

We all know it.

What’s more, a lot of people in Oregon know it.

Remember, Biden won Oregon with nearly 57 percent of the vote. For it to be this close in the polls this close to the voting is a very bad sign for Measure 114.

Then there’s the idea of voter motivation. A lot of Democrats aren’t really happy in general, which means they might well sit out this election entirely. If that happens, a lot of the support for the measure evaporates, and votes proponents expect simply don’t materialize.

Yet no one should get complacent. After all, this is just one poll, and the last survey we saw had the ballot measure getting support of 51% of voters. That means voter mobilization efforts become far more critical now than they might otherwise be.