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Community Strongly Opposes Permanent Encampments

PORTLAND – A public opinion survey of registered Portland voters conducted in late March shows a dramatic 40% decline in net support for the Portland City Council over the last 15 months.

In a December 2022 poll conducted by Peak Insights, the City Council was viewed favorably by 55% of Portland voters, and unfavorably by 32% — a net favorability of +23%. But a new poll, conducted by Peak Insights from March 21-26, showed only 34% of Portland voters now have a favorable opinion of the Council, while 51% view them unfavorably, a net favorability of -17%.

“The decline in the City Council’s favorability is striking,” said Hans Kaiser of Peak Insights, a public opinion research company that has been conducting polls in Maine and across the nation for more than 20 years. “The decline in support has happened across all demographics – gender, age, and party registration – showing a relative consensus that the City Council is headed in the wrong direction.”

The sharp decline in support for Portland’s City Council coincides with the conflagration caused by the rapid proliferation of homeless encampments in the city, and the controversial positions taken by some members of the council.

In November 2023 – despite overwhelming evidence of crime, physical violence, drug use, and threats to human health – Portland Councilors Victoria Pelletier, Roberto Rodriguez, and Anna Trevorrow voted to prohibit the city from clearing the homeless encampments by making “camping” in Portland’s public spaces legal, effectively making the encampments permanent.

Just this week at a meeting of the City’s Health and Human Services Committee, City Councilors reacted to a disturbing video showing various criminal activities including open drug use, public urination, stabbing, and the brandishing of firearms on the front steps of an apartment building in the city’s Bayside neighborhood. Councilor Kate Sykes commented on the video noting “There are also some kind of beautiful moments between human beings in their actions. As difficult as their interactions are and the things that are happening, there’s kindness there.”

The March survey shows that Portland voters strongly disagree with this approach to encampments and their attendant criminal activities. Survey respondents oppose making parks a safe haven for the encampments by more than 2 to 1 – 63% opposing and 28% supporting, with a definitive 52% of registered voters strongly opposing the camping proposal.


While this poll shows a dramatic drop in support for the City Council, Portland’s newly-elected Mayor Mark Dion is receiving strong support. Dion is viewed favorably by 49% of respondents, and unfavorably by only 26%, a net favorability of +23%.

“This poll shows what most Portland citizens have felt for some time – that the current City Council does not represent the interests or priorities of the city overall,” said Matt Marks, spokesman for Enough is Enough. “While Portland continues to struggle with homelessness, crime, and addiction, many on the Council fail to grasp the seriousness and real-world impacts of these issues. Governing is not an academic experiment. The Council must recognize the threats to human health and physical safety their policies are creating for Portland’s citizens, businesses, and the unhoused population.”