Impact on the general election
When the respondents who voted in the primary election were asked who they plan to vote for in the general election, 57 percent said Askins and 24 percent said Fallin while 20 percent remained undecided. Of those who did not vote, 46 percent said Askins and 28 percent said Fallin while 26 percent remained undecided.
A deeper look into secondary polling data indicates that Democrats who stayed home in the primary election were ‘disenfranchised’ with the party. Non-voters were slightly more likely to be conservative, disapprove of Obama, and not have a preference in the primary.
“The large number of undecideds and Fallin supporters among those who did not vote, indicates that many Democrats may have sat out of the primary election because they anticipated voting Republican in November regardless of who the candidate was,” Shapard said.
In the 2008 election, 49.3 percent of Democrats, 43.8 percent of Republicans, and 6.7 percent of Independents turned out to vote.
Using that turn out model and the rule of thumb that 90 percent of Republicans will vote for the Republican candidate and Democrats and Republicans will split the Independent vote, Republicans need as little as 15 percent of Democratic votes to win the election.
With 24 percent of Democratic voters and 28 percent Democratic non-voters in favor of the Republican nominee, the 15 point threshold is a daunting figure. The most recent SoonerPoll conducted earlier this month shows 31.2 percent of Democrats are now in favor Fallin, raising the hurdle even higher for the Askins campaign.
“Right now the election is Fallin’s to lose,” Shapard said. “She has a 17.3 percent crossover advantage and has the support of both Republicans and Democrats who do not approve of the president,” Shapard said.
The Fallin campaign has been able to capitalize on the low approval of Obama among Democrats. Conservative political groups unaffiliated with Fallin’s campaign have been running commercials which link Askins to Obama. so far the commercials have been effective and will probably continue to be until Askins makes an effort to distance herself from the president.
“If Askins has any hope of making up ground in this race she is going to have to focus within her own party,” Shapard said. “Democrats like Joe Manchin from West Virginia have been able to overcome similar situations by giving Democrats who don’t approve of Obama a Democratic candidate to run to.”
Gaddie says that the Askins campaign needs a game-changer in order to stay competitive in this election.
“The initial debate has telegraphed a plan to challenge Republican characterizations of the Lieutenant Governor that tie her to unpopular national Democratic politicians and policies,” Gaddie said. “They were able to run stealthy in the primary in order to break the turnout model. There is no such privilege in a high-salience general election with an energized conservative electorate. They have to move, aggressively and in the open, if they want to overcome the ambivalence of a significant and important portion of the Democratic electorate.”
Following the election SoonerPoll commissioned and conducted a poll of 450 registered Democrats who voted in the July 27th Primary and 401 registered Democrats who were likely to vote in the July 27th primary but did not. The scientific study used live interviewers by telephone from, 2010 and has a margin of error of ± 4.62 percent among those who voted and ± 4.89 percent among those who did not vote.