SoonerPoll’s most recent poll finds the field is narrowing as clear front-runners appear in the Republican primary race for Oklahoma’s fifth district U.S. Representative seat. Former State Representative Kevin Calvey, who was leading when SoonerPoll first fielded this race in March, remains the leader with support from 27.8 percent Republicans whom are likely to vote in the 5th District primary on July 27th.
Political newcomer James Lankford has moved into the second place position with19.9 percent, while State Representative Mike Thompson, who was previously the second place candidate is currently in third with support from 14.1 percent of respondents.
Robert Weber a respondent from Oklahoma City said he wants to vote for Lankford precisely because he is fresh to politics. “It is time to get rid of the professional politicians that is why I am voting for Lankford,” Weber said.
“What we might be seeing, is a consequence of the campaign strategies of Lankford and Calvey,” Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll noted. “Lankford is attempting to bring new voters into the process, while the Calvey campaign is going after active, core conservatives.”
It is important to note that the lead Calvey has over Lankford and the lead Lankford has over Thompson both fall within the margin of error.
State Representative Shane Jett, the last major candidate to join the field, received support from 6.2 percent of respondents, while Dr. Johnny Roy, Harry Johnson and Rick Flanigan finished in respective order, all with less than 3 percent of voters support.
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 306 likely fifth district Republican voters from July 7– July 9, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ± 5.6 percent.
Complete Results and Analysis
29.1 percent of respondents were still undecided about the race, but if the current figures hold through the July 27 primary, Calvey would face Lankford in a runoff election since no candidate is expected to receive an absolute majority of votes.
To preliminarily measure runoff voting, SoonerPoll also asked respondents who their second preference would be. Results show that those who preferred a candidate other than Calvey or Lankford as their first choice chose Calvey over Lankford by a 2 to 1 margin as their second choice. The runoff results are only preliminary at this point; however they serve as an indicator of what the runoff election will likely bring.
“Last minute campaigning and advertising spending could sway the large amount of undecided voters and affect who the top two candidates are going into the run-off,” Gaddie said.
Much like the primary dynamic, late advertising can alter the second-choice environment. Political experts anticipate large amounts of third party money to be spent in the closing weeks of the campaign, a reflection of the recent Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC, which changed campaign fund-raising laws and allows for unlimited corporate spending.