Oklahoma City – Both State House Representative Tad Jones and John Doak, a political newcomer, show that Republicans may have realistic opportunities to take out Democrat incumbents in Oklahoma’s mid-term elections this November. Jones is running for State Labor Commissioner against the current commissioner Lloyd Fields, and Doak is running for State Insurance Commissioner against the current commissioner Kim Holland. Neither has run for statewide office before.
“Oklahoma has been trending Republican for some time now, even during 2008 when Democrats did extremely well at the national level,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com, “and this year, given the current political climate in Washington, Republicans in Oklahoma look like they are well positioned to pick up several statewide offices.”
In a statewide poll of likely voters, Jones led Commissioner Fields by three points, 30.1% to 27.1% with 42.8% still undecided. Doak, who has never run for public office before, trailed Commissioner Holland by five points (28.5% to 33.5%) with 38% undecided, but led in the generic ballot test by slightly more than two points.
“This should be very troubling for any statewide incumbent when as much as 40% of likely voters are undecided,” said Shapard, who went on to note that undecided voters will typically break for the challenger since they have already had a good look at the incumbent who has run before. “The power of the incumbency is literally non-existent among these Democrat incumbents.”
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1,000 likely voters in Oklahoma from February 25 – March 8. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1%.
Additional polling results showed Jones had more than a four-to-one party crossover vote advantage in the poll, which is important to Republicans candidates running statewide since Democrats have always outnumber Republicans in registration. Among Independents, Jones also had a slight advantage.
Poll results were much tighter for Doak and Holland, but Doak remained competitive in traditionally Democratic parts of the state and had a three-to-one advantage among likely voters who identified themselves as “very conservative.” Conservative voters make up 49% of the Oklahoma electorate.
“As the campaigns progress, these races will probably remain tight and the end result is very uncertain this far out,” Shapard said. “But, this same pattern developed in the Roth-Murphy race for Corporation Commission in 2008, and Murphy, the Republican, eventually won.”