PORTLAND, Ore. – As the debate raged before the Portland City Council’s unanimous vote to fluoridate Portland’s drinking water in September, fluoride opponents had the loudest voices.
But the latest KATU news poll conducted by Survey USA finds the fluoride debate has pretty much split voters down the middle.
The poll showed that 45 percent of Portland’s registered voters think fluoride should be added to the drinking water and 46 percent said no way.
The one percent difference is smaller than the poll's margin of error. It's a statistical tie, with only nine percent of voters undecided.
The KATU poll reveals that older voters, especially those over 65 years old, are more likely to support fluoridation.
Backers are more likely to support fluoridation if they are Democrats and have earned a four-year college degree - or if they make more than $40,000 a year.
Younger voters under the age of 35, and minority voters, are much more likely to oppose fluoride.
So are Republicans and Independents, those who haven't attended college and those who make less than $40,000 a year.
In terms of location, support for fluoridation is strong in Southwest Portland, where two out of three voters say they're in favor of fluoride.
Opponents can be found in Northeast and Southeast Portland, while North Portland and Northwest Portland are evenly split.
Opponents of fluoridation said they have submitted more than double the needed signatures to force a public vote on the issue.