Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on February 18th, 2014 at 10:13 am
Here’s one: despite what you might have heard or assumed, Portlanders of almost every stripe support better bike infrastructure by huge margins.
In all, 64 percent of all Portlanders surveyed said they’d be more likely to support a city transportation package that included protected bike lanes and/or off-street paths.
For comparison’s sake, the last time President Obama’s national approval rating was that high was the third week of his first term.
But what’s especially interesting about this data, released by the city’s pollster last week at our request, is how much consensus there is among Portlanders that the city should prioritize building more of the most advanced type of bike infrastructure.
As you can see, the only demographic group that really sticks out as a strong supporter of separated bikeways is adults under 35, with 78 percent support. Also particularly high is the support among people of color (73 percent), political independents (72 percent) and people who make less than $30,000 a year (72 percent).
Take a grain of salt with some of these fine-tuned categories, especially race and income. The base margin of error in the 800-person survey was 3.5 percent, but it rises to high single digits for many of the narrower categories. Also, this poll seems to have been conducted only in English; 19 percent of Portlanders speak some other language at home. Latinos represented only 2 percent of respondents to this poll, even though 9 percent of Portlanders are Latino.
The language barrier is a pretty big shortcoming in the poll, especially for active transportation advocates, because non-English speakers tend to have lower incomes and the poll shows that lower-income people tend to be more supportive of measures like slowing auto traffic and improving biking, walking and public transit.
That said, of the demographic groups measured here, there’s only one that would actually be less likely to vote for a package if it included top-notch bike routes: Republicans (43 percent). Which, as all the other numbers show, are not a very numerous group around here.
The groups of Portlanders posting the narrowest majorities in support for biking are people who make $75,000 to $100,000 per year (55 percent), people who live east of Interstate 205 (58 percent) and people over age 55 (58 percent).
I’ll share another number for context: the last time President Obama’s approval rating was above 55 percent was five months into his first term.