OKLAHOMA CITY – The results of a poll conducted last week indicate strong support for Oklahoma’s 65% Solution, an initiative that could appear as a state question on the ballot in November. Of those surveyed, an overwhelming 93 percent said getting more tax dollars into the classroom was important to improving education in Oklahoma.

The scientific survey of 527 likely Oklahoma voters was conducted by SoonerPoll.com, an Oklahoma public opinion research firm, and commissioned by First Class Education of Oklahoma.  The poll had a margin of error of ±4.27%.

Eighty-one percent (81%) said it was very important that more of our tax dollars reach the classroom, while another 11.5 percent said it was somewhat important. Just 5.7 percent said it was somewhat or very unimportant.

“Oklahoma voters indicated overwhelming support for the 65% Solution,” said Bill Shapard, SoonerPoll’s CEO. “The results of the poll clearly signify that voters in our state believe getting more of our education dollars into the classroom will have a direct educational benefit for our schoolchildren.”

The measure, if approved by the voters, would increase the amount of taxpayer-supported educational funding spent on classroom instruction to 65 percent. It defines classroom instruction as expenditures directly related to the classroom, including teacher salaries, books, activities, special education instruction, tutors, classroom computers and supplies, libraries and activities such as field trips, athletics, arts, music and sports.  Currently, only 58 cents from every education tax dollar reaches the classroom.

More than three quarters of all respondents to the poll indicated some degree of support for the measure should it appear on the November ballot, with more than half stating they would definitely support it. Only 7.8 percent of respondents said they would oppose the initiative.

Party affiliation did not appear to affect the likelihood of respondents to support the initiative, with 81.9 percent of Republicans, 82.8 percent of Democrats and 87.8 percent of Independents expressing support for the ballot initiative.   Support for the measure was slightly stronger among women voters than men (57% to 50%), and strong among all age groups, ethnic classifications, and income levels.  A majority of liberals, moderates, conservatives, also expressed strong support for the proposal.

Another clear majority, 84 percent, said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the requirement that at least 65 percent of Oklahoma’s education dollars be spent on classroom instruction. From one end of the ideological spectrum to the other, liberal to conservative, Oklahomans overwhelmingly were more likely to support a candidate supporting the state question.

The survey was conducted of likely voters by live interviewers over the telephone August 29-31, 2006 from SoonerPoll’s Oklahoma City call center.  Potential respondents were randomly selected using computerized calculations and screened as to whether they planned to vote in the November election.  Keith Gaddie, PhD assisted with the analysis of the final data.

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