Oklahoma has long been a conservative state, but as hard economic times have hit the country a new conservative movement has taken hold both nationally and with Oklahomans.
The results of a recent SoonerPoll found that 42.7 percent of Oklahomans have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party Movement. The Tea Party Movement’s core values include traditionally conservative ideas like fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.
“Oklahoma had ‘Tea Party’ values before the tea parties put their label on it,” Keith Gaddie, Vice-President of SoonerPoll, said. “The tea parties are an anti-big government party, but they are also an anti-big business party. They just haven’t said it yet. But if you talk to them about the things they distrust, they distrust big government, they distrust big corporations. It’s an Oklahoma tradition.”
Although 42.7 percent is no majority, there are more who favor the movement than oppose it since a large part of the voting block still has no opinion of the polarizing party. The movement is looked upon favorably by 61.2 percent of Oklahoma Republicans and 46.8 percent of Oklahoma Independents, while 37.8 percent of Oklahoma Democrats have unfavorable opinions about the movement.
“What is important to note about these results is that there are many Independents joining this conservative movement,” Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll, said. “Independents often have the power to swing elections and the majority of Independents voted Democratic in the 2008 election.”
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from February 25 – March 8. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.
Results indicate that the average Oklahoma Tea Party supporters are predominately Republican or Independent, and further analysis of the results reveal even more about the typical Tea Party supporter.
News 9 Impact Team, “Who is the Tea Party in Oklahoma?”
Tea Party supporters are highly ideological, 80.3 percent of those who have favorable opinions of the movement also said they would like to see a smaller government with less services.
Tea Party supporter’s strong ideology goes beyond the political sphere, the majority – 60.9 percent – of those who have favorable opinions of the movement consider themselves to be evangelical Christians, while 70.7 percent say they attend religious services at least once an month.
The Tea Party is supported by a relatively older section of the electorate, 88.2 percent of those who have favorable opinions of the Tea Party are over the age of 45. Of that 88.2 percent, 42 percent of are over the age of 65, 29.7 percent are between the age of 55 and 64, and 28.3 percent are between the age of 45 and 54.