The line between conservative and moderate political ideology in Oklahoma became less visible during the 2008 party conventions and presidential election.

A series of public opinion polls conducted by SoonerPoll and TvPoll from October of 2004 reveal that Oklahoma has been trending conservative, though the 2008 presidential campaign moderated that trend for the latter part of 2008.

Poll results show that during the 2008 conventions and election Oklahoma trended away from conservative views as the number of moderates rose 9 percentage points to 41 percent, while conservative numbers dropped 4 points to 46 percent.

“The change during the campaign is sustained, consistent, and statistically-significant,” Keith Gaddie, SoonerPoll.com Vice President, said. “The national presidential campaign penetrated Oklahoma politics and had some moderating effect on the electorate. However, it didn’t really shift many votes.”

Poll results since Obama’s first 100 days as president reveal the trend to be short lived as Oklahomans are more likely to label themselves conservative now than any other time in the last five years. Conservative numbers rose to 58 percent, higher than pre-election figures, while moderate numbers have dropped to 30 percent.

SoonerPoll’s public opinion polls use a scientific random sample to consistently test Oklahoma’s likeliest voters’ political views and track them over time. The surveys used in this analysis had sample sizes of 251 to 752 Oklahoma residents (with a margin of error of ± 6 to ±3.57%). All of the studies used in this release were conducted via telephone using live callers or interactive voice recording.

More results:

• Those who describe their current political beliefs as conservative were more likely (32%) to say they have switched parties in the past compared to those who describe their beliefs as either moderate or liberal; the same is true for those who say they switched to the Republican party (39%) compared to the Democrat or Independent party;
• Of those who claimed a switch, conservatives were most likely to say they chose their current party because they psychologically identify with it and chose their previous party because their parents identified with it;
• Those younger than 44 (especially those between 35 and 44 years) were 6 points more likely to have switched parties than older voters;
• After answering which political party they most consistently associate with, conservatives were less likely than moderates (7 points less) or liberals (6 points less) to answer ‘legally registered with’ that party.

“All of these findings should be considered in the context of our earlier releases on job approval of the incumbent administration.  Despite the conservative trend in Oklahoma and the anemic showing of Democrats here in the fall campaign, the administration has been getting some benefit of the doubt.  You can expect that approval to collapse when voters in this state reengage politics this time next year,” Gaddie said.

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