When it comes to thinking about who should be the state’s next governor, a plurality of likely-voting Oklahomans have a preference — that he or she is from the more rural parts of the state.

[QUESTION] Please complete this statement: “I would prefer that our next governor is from:”

1. Oklahoma City 19.3%
2. Tulsa 16.7
3. The more rural parts of the state 36.8
3. Unsure [DNR] 27.2

Among Democrats, 37 percent preferred a choice from rural Oklahoma, as well as 34.8 percent of Independents.  With Republicans, 37 percent also preferred a rural candidate which, at first, might seem interesting but, considering the shift of Republicans from urban to rural areas, this results seems more in line with current party alignment.

Self-identified liberals are more split in their preference with a plurality, 24 percent, wanting a rural candidate and 21 percent for an Oklahoma City one and another 21 percent for a Tulsan.

A plurality of self-identified conservatives also liked the idea of rural candidate with 36 percent, 22.5 percent for an Oklahoma City candidate, and 16.3 percent for a Tulsan. Moderates were similar, although favored a rural candidate by six points with 43.3 percent, 14.5 percent for an Oklahoma City candidate, and 16 percent for a Tulsan.

Women were five points more likely to favor a rural candidate, 39 percent compared to 34 percent for men.

Obviously, geographical location played a big role in candidate preference, but further highlights the role that rural Oklahoma plays in Oklahoma politics — now even more so that the majority Republican Party’s greatest growth over the last decade has been in rural areas.

Just over half (51.8 percent) of those in the Tulsa-dominated First Congressional District preferred a Tulsan as the next governor, and a plurality (36.1 percent) of Oklahoma City’s Fifth Congressional District favored an Oklahoma City candidate.

But, in Oklahoma’s more rural three congressional districts, voters preferred one of their own with 59 percent in CD2, 38.7 percent in CD3, and 44.3 percent in CD4. The disparity was greatest in the very rural Second Congressional District, where only a combined 12 percent favored a candidate from urban Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from August 22-28, 2017 with 404 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus a online panel from Research Now. The sample was weighted by age, political party, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election. The weighting was conducted using a ‘layered technique.’

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.81 percent.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll’s Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here.  A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.

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