A recent SoonerPoll finds that most Oklahomans support spending cuts as the primary way of handling economic crises, even if that means reduction in the number of state government jobs.
The survey found that 77.3 percent of Oklahomans support spending cuts as the primary way to deal with a budget crunch at the state capital while only 9.8 percent of Oklahomans support a raise in taxes or fees to help relieve the strains of a budget shortfall.
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SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 – March 8. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.
Most Oklahomans – 67 percent – also support a proposal to reduce the number of state government employees by 10 percent to achieve fiscal balance.
Partisanship did influence support for cutting government jobs. The proposition to reduce government jobs was opposed by 15.7 percent of Republicans, while twice as many Democrats (32.1 percent )and Independents (35.5 percent) oppose cutting public jobs.
“We fully expected to see strong Republican support for spending cuts,” Dr. Keith Gaddie, SoonerPoll Vice President, said. “However, Democrats divided over using cuts to achieve budgetary balance, with a plurality of Oklahoma Democrats favored cuts over taxes. And, the small but important independent segment broke towards spending cuts. There’s little room for raising taxes in Oklahoma.”
Tulsa area voters are more prone to support cutting public jobs than other Oklahomans, with 72.2 percent of the population voting for the proposition as compared with 64.6 percent of Oklahoma City Metro voters and 66 percent in the rural parts of the state.
“Tulsa may be more apt to support this kind of proposition because they are already cutting city jobs in that area,” Gaddie said. “Oklahomans in general have indicated a strong desire to engage in frugality and belt-tightening rather than more taxation to address ongoing budget shortfalls in state government.”
These findings are consistent with Oklahoma’s recent trend towards small government. SoonerPoll found that 60.5 percent of Oklahomans would like to see a smaller government, even if that means fewer services are available.