Poll: Teachers believe state should cut wind energy subsidies to better fund public education

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Nearly two-thirds of teachers in the state of Oklahoma believe corporate tax credits should be used to better fund public education, according an online poll of teachers conducted by SoonerPoll.  Just 11.8% of teachers disagreed.

During the 2016 legislative session earlier this year, several attempts to cut wind energy tax credits failed to get a vote, even though legislators grappled with more than $1 billion deficit and severe cuts to public education appropriations.

“It’s unfortunate, but it appears to teachers that our governor and state legislature prioritized the out-of-state wind energy producers over public schools,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.

 Our state should cut corporate tax credits, like subsidies for wind energy, and use those savings to better fund public education.  Do you: [PROBE: STRONGLY/SOMEWHAT]

1. Strongly agree 31.2
2. Somewhat agree 33.6
3. Don’t know/refused [DNR] 23.4
4. Somewhat disagree 9.2
5. Strongly disagree 2.6

Windwaste, a citizen advocacy group that opposes wind energy subsidies, believes subsidies given to wind farms could fund more than 1,200 new teachers. Oklahoma pays an average of $32,000 to a first-year teacher, yet gives $38,000 per turbine in tax subsidies to wind energy companies, according to the group.

In June, Secretary of Finance Preston L. Doerflinger reported that tax incentives for wind producers had once again exceeded the monthly collections of ALL corporate taxes paid into the General Revenue Fund (GRF), the key indicator of state government’s fiscal status and the predominant funding source for the annual appropriated state budget.

Teachers registered as Republican or Democrat were near equal in their support of eliminating wind energy tax subsidies, and teachers in rural areas were also strongly in support with 65.1% in combined agreement.

“These poll results might be expected,” said Shapard, “but pro-wind energy groups have made numerous claims this year that Oklahoma’s schools would greatly benefit from property taxes paid by wind producers. Teachers, who can see first-hand the impact funding has in the classroom, would seem to disagree.”

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the online poll of 458 Oklahoma teachers. The poll was commissioned by the Oklahoman.

The scientific study was conducted online September 29 – October 10, 2016 and respondents were selected at random among those with a teaching certificate in the state of Oklahoma. Teachers were identified by filtering out only teachers who were currently employed, retired, or looking for a teaching position in the state. The data was also filtered for those registered to vote and likely to vote in the November election.

The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.56 percent.

This year’s presidential winner in Oklahoma: Who’s disliked the least

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It’s safe to assume that, overall, a majority of Democrats find Donald Trump unfavorable and a majority of Republicans find Hillary Clinton unfavorable.  But, could the reason Clinton has not gained in polling among Oklahomans during the last six months be because a good portion of those within her own party do not like her?

The highest Clinton has been in the SoonerPoll is 35 percent, but most of the time she’s been around 30 percent or lower.  Unlike Trump, Clinton has not improved in her numbers over time.

So why is this? Perhaps the answer lies in the favorable ratings of the two candidates by those voters within the same party as each of the two candidates.

clinton-unfavorable

In the chart above, the level of strong favorability of voters toward the candidate of their own party is relatively equal, with Republicans slightly more “very favorable” toward Trump than Democrats toward Clinton. But, on the other end of the spectrum, Democrats are much more likely to be very unfavorable toward their own candidate, with nearly 75 percent of the total very unfavorability coming from Democrats toward Clinton.

That’s not to say that there are not Republicans who are unfavorable toward Trump, in fact Republicans lead Democrats in the “somewhat unfavorable” rating toward their own candidate.

“What we would be expecting from this chart is a close or near divide at 50 percent all the way across this chart if the two candidates were near equilibrium in their favorable and unfavorable ratings among voters in their own party,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.

“There is a pronounced strong unfavorability toward Hillary Clinton among likely voters in Oklahoma, more so among Democrats, that weights her down in the ballot,” Shapard said. “The bottom line is, Clinton has to contend with about one-in-three Democrats — those within her own party in Oklahoma — who find her very unfavorable.  Until that is rectified, her ballot numbers are not going up anytime soon.”

About the Poll

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ± 4.26 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.

Faith voters voting more on economic issues as religiosity in state declines

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As Ben Felder with the Oklahoman noted, Oklahoma is still a state with a majority of voters who identify as an Evangelical Christian, and they play a significant role in our elections.  But, changes in how evangelicals and high church goers vote is effecting the outcome of elections and state questions in ways not expected or anticipated.

The greatest change and surprise may be that evangelicals and high church goers are not necessarily voting social issues but rather economic issues as their most important issue.  When Evangelicals were asked which issues were more important to them, 49.8 percent said economic issues like lower taxes, government spending and job creation.  Only 23.3 percent said social issues like abortion and traditional marriage protection, and 24.7 percent said education issues like teacher pay, state standards, and increased funding to schools.

Do you consider yourself to be an Evangelical Christian?

1. Yes 55.6
2. No 40.9
3. Don’t know [DNR] 3.5

How often do you attend religious services?

1. Several times a week 16.5
2. Weekly 30.2
3. Less than weekly/infrequently throughout the year 24.9
4. Never 25.0
5. Don’t know/Refused [DNR] 3.3

Among those who reported attending religious services several times a week, 35.5 percent said social issues, but a near equal amount, 31.4 percent, said economic issues and 27.7 percent said education issues.  Among those who reported attending religious services only once a week, 51.6 percent told us economic issues were the most important and only 21.1 percent said social issues.

Regarding State Question 792, where it might be expected that evangelicals or high church goers would be united in opposition to the expansion of wine and strong beer in the state, support for the measure is getting 54.3 percent among evangelicals and 60.4 percent among weekly attenders.

“These voters are more than likely viewing SQ792 through an economic lens rather than a social issue lens,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.

Another state question, SQ790, which appeals the prohibition on public expenditures to faith-based institutions, is another example where evangelicals and high church goers are not united in their support, which would be expected if social issues were their top concern.  Only 33.5 percent of high church goers supported the measure, while only 43.4 percent of evangelicals voiced support.

“The emphasis on economic issues among evangelicals and high church goers may also be tied to an overall decrease that’s been observed in both demographical subsets over the last six years,” said Shapard.

evangelicals

A decrease can also be observed among likely voters who attend religious services several times a week.

high-church-attendance

“This is significant in that high church attendance typically correlates with increased civic engagement which includes the act of voting,” said Shapard, who went on to note that a recently released analysis of political engagement ranked Oklahoma last among all fifty states.

It is important to note that Oklahoma likely voters overall reported greater emphasis on economic issues following the 2008 recession, which has stayed rather consistent through the recent declines in oil and gas prices that affect the state’s economy.

“It is difficult at this time to determine any cause and effect relationships from the data, but one thing is certain: Oklahoma is experiencing a decrease in overall religiosity among likely voters, along with a overall decrease in political engagement while at the same time putting greater importance on economic issues,” Shapard said.

About the Poll

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ± 4.26 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.

Oklahoman: Political Polling and the Perception of Bias

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Ben Felder sits down with SoonerPoll’s Bill Shapard to talk about political polling and the perception of bias.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW

Oklahoman: In Oklahoma, evangelicals remain major voting bloc

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By Ben Felder, Oklahoman

The path to victory in an Oklahoma election goes through the pews of the state’s evangelical churches. And while the number of self-proclaimed evangelicals has declined in recent years, it remains one of the state’s largest voting blocs and is instrumental in deciding everything from the result of state questions to Oklahoma’s seven presidential electoral votes.

As a part of America’s Bible Belt — if not the buckle — Oklahoma’s likely voting population on Nov. 8 is estimated to be 55 percent evangelical, according to SoonerPoll’s analysis of likely voters.

Made up of mostly white members of Protestant churches that profess a born again-centric theology, such as Southern Baptist Convention, Church of the Nazarene, Assemblies of God and many nondenominational churches, in Oklahoma as evangelicals go, so goes the state.

Continued – Click here to read the entire Oklahoman article

 Support for Clinton/Trump and among the death penalty state question (SQ776), the Ten Commandments state question (SQ790), and expansion of wine/strong beer (SQ792), broken down by frequency of church attendance and by those who identify as evangelical

Frequency of church attendance and evangelical
Several times a week Weekly Never Evangelical
Clinton 13 40 58 52
15.1% 25.0% 43.7% 17.7%
Trump 68 97 60 214
77.4% 60.6% 45.0% 72.6%
SQ776 Support 69 114 94 240
78.5% 71.3% 70.9% 81.7%
SQ 790 Support 29 73 58 128
33.5% 45.8% 43.5% 43.4%
SQ 792 Support 31 96 114 159
36.2% 60.4% 85.5% 54.3%

About the Poll

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ± 4.26 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.

Norman Transcript: What’s in a poll? Probably more than voters think

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By Adam Troxtell, Norman Transcript

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is aiming his fire at poll numbers.

While his claims are inaccurate, his complaint that polls aren’t always conducted properly has some basis.

Several polls show the Republican losing to Democrat Hillary Clinton, while others show him leading or in a dead heat in the election. It’s enough to send voters’ heads spinning.

“It seems like with every passing cycle, we get more focused on polls,” said Tyler Johnson, associate professor of political science and director of graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The numbers seem to be bouncing all over the place, whereas if you look at the averages, it would probably calm them down.”

Trump’s latest claim is that a Clinton campaign email released by Wikileaks shows chairman John Podesta “rigged the polls by oversampling Democrats, a voter suppression technique.” The candidate said this to a rally crowd Monday in Florida.

Politifact rated this as “Pants on Fire” wrong. The email is from Clinton’s 2008 Senate campaign. Also, as SoonerPoll founder Bill Shapard explained, oversampling — a method of adjusting data to ensure the sample represents a population — is a common practice and is not voter suppression.

Continued – Click here to read the entire Norman Transcript article

Support for Right to Farm’s SQ777 deteriorates

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Since SoonerPoll has been polling state questions since July, none has had such a dramatic shift than SQ 777.

In July, support for the state question was only polling at 53.2 percent.  At the time, some reports on the internal polling of the campaigns put the support level much higher.  In early October, the next SoonerPoll had the level of support at just 49.3 percent.

To date, SoonerPoll has been the only independent, non-partisan pollster who has publicly released polling data on SQ 777.

 State Question 777, known as Right to Farm, would amend the state constitution to say the legislature “shall pass no law which abridges the rights of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma who employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest.” Do you: [PROBE STRONGLY/SOMEWHAT]

1. Strongly support 24.8
2. Somewhat support 12.2
3. Don’t know/undecided [DNR] 13.9
4. Somewhat oppose 15.2
5. Strongly oppose 33.8

Now, the latest SoonerPoll puts support for SQ 777 well below water with only 37 percent.

It should be noted that the state question also has one of the highest percentages of those undecided at 14 percent. The other is SQ 790 which is the most confusing state question to voters and has had nearly nothing spent in support or opposition of it.

Still, state question polling is not as stable as candidate polling where voters can change their minds on state questions literally overnight.  Endorsements and campaign spending have a much greater impact on the minds of voters with regard to state questions — much more so than on voters’ views of candidates.

This poll, like all others, are a measurement of opinion in one point in time and a variety of influences can affect voters’ final decision on election day.  These pre-election polls only serve to provide insight into how voters of varied demographical profiles view the state question.

Key take-aways from the latest poll:

  • Greatest support comes from Republicans with 43.8 percent, while the greatest level of opposition comes from Democrats with 58.4 percent.  A near majority of Independents oppose it with 48.3 percent.
  • Compared to the last poll, Republican opposition increased from 31.9 percent to 42 percent, while Democrat support fell from 39.2 percent to 27.2 percent.
  • Conservatives had the greatest impact on the drop. In early October, 57.1 percent supported the state question, with 40.5 percent of that support as “strongly support.” Now, just 40.9 percent of conservatives support it overall, and strong support fell to just 28.9 percent.
  • While just a plurality of 43.8 percent of conservatives now oppose 777, they are also those most undecided at 15.3 percent compared to just 8.2 percent of liberals.
  • Trump supporters are nearly split on the state question, with 46 percent supporting it and 40.7 percent opposing.
  • Voters 65 and older, who make up the largest age subset of likely voters on election day, now oppose 777 with 54.9 percent, whereas 51.7 percent supported the measure in our early October poll.
  • The predominately urban congressional districts of Tulsa and Oklahoma City saw big changes as well.  In early October, 777 was polling with only 39.7 and 42.3 percent of opposition in Tulsa and Oklahoma City respectively.  Now, 49.3 percent in Tulsa oppose it and 53.3 percent in Oklahoma City.

About the Poll

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ± 4.26 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.

Oklahoman: Polling shows Oklahoma state question support ahead of election

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By Ben Felder, The Oklahoman

Support for a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase to fund teacher pay raises, public schools and state colleges continues to have large support with just a few weeks before Election Day.

State Question 779, one of seven to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, has support among 60 percent of Oklahomans, according to the latest SoonerPoll survey conducted on behalf of The Oklahoman.

There is also majority support among the state’s likely voters for an alcohol modernization initiative, sentencing reform measures and a state question to protect the death penalty.

Voters are mixed on a state question removing religious language from the state Constitution as polls show even religious voters are divided on the measure.

Continued – Click here to read the entire Oklahoman article

About the Poll

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ± 4.26 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.

Oklahoman: Trump solidifies lead in Oklahoma, poll shows

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By Silas Allen, The Oklahoman

Just two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump’s lead continues to solidify in Oklahoma, a new poll shows.

Despite crumbling support from party leaders, the release of a recording in which Trump can be heard making lewd comments and several women coming forward with accusations of sexual misconduct, the Republican presidential nominee maintains a 30-point lead in Oklahoma over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s margin has widened in Oklahoma since mid-September, even as Clinton’s lead has expanded in national polls.

Continued – Click here to read the entire Oklahoman article

 If you were standing in the voting booth right now and had to make a choice for president, for whom would you vote?

1. Hillary Clinton 29.6
2. Donald Trump 59.6
3. Gary Johnson 4.5
4. Undecided 6.3

About the Poll

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ± 4.26 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.

Nearly half of all Oklahoma Teachers believe state has too many school districts

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Many have argued that Oklahoma has too many school districts and administrative costs are keeping funds from reaching the classroom.  Prior polling of likely voters found that a simple majority believed it as well.

But now, in a survey of Oklahoma teachers, or those who know most about funding reaching the classroom, a similar result is found with 45 percent agreeing that there are too many school districts in the state.

Nearly one-in-four didn’t know, and one-in-three disagreed.

 There are too many school districts in Oklahoma.  Do you: [PROBE: STRONGLY/SOMEWHAT]

1. Strongly agree 22.9
2. Somewhat agree 22.1
3. Don’t know/refused [DNR] 22.5
4. Somewhat disagree 15.1
5. Strongly disagree 17.5

Among inner-city, suburban, and rural teachers, the greatest divide occurs on this issue. With teachers in the inner-cities and suburbs, 53.6 and 52.6 percent believe there are too many school districts, whereas only 35.7 percent of rural teachers.  While that’s nearly a 20 point divide, it is still worth noting that more than one-in-three rural teachers believes there’s too many districts.

Slightly more than half, 50.7 percent, of Republican teachers, who make up slightly more than half of all teachers, say there are too many districts.  Among Independents, 46.5 percent agree, and 38.7 percent of teachers registered as Democrat.

Interestingly, the longer the time working as a teacher in the state, the more likely the poll respondents were to believe the state had too many districts and be less undecided on the issue. Among those working 20 years or more, 49.4 percent agreed while only 20 percent were undecided, whereas those having worked as a teacher for less than two years, only 28.5 percent agreed and 42.9 percent didn’t know.

Oklahoma is in the top ten of states with the highest number of schools districts, but ranked first in the number of school districts per enrollment of secondary and elementary students.

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the online poll of 458 Oklahoma teachers. The poll was commissioned by the Oklahoman.

The scientific study was conducted online September 29 – October 10, 2016 and respondents were selected at random among those with a teaching certificate in the state of Oklahoma. Teachers were identified by filtering out only teachers who were currently employed, retired, or looking for a teaching position in the state. The data was also filtered for those registered to vote and likely to vote in the November election.

The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.56 percent.