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conservative

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The national debt currently stands at over $14.7 trillion, and that sum causes great concern to Oklahomans, regardless of political affiliation. By the same token, an overwhelming majority of Oklahomans support a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget.

SoonerPoll recently conducted a survey that asked respondents’ thoughts on the national debt, and on a balanced budget amendment, and I think you’ll find the results to be interesting.

Here in Oklahoma, support for requiring the federal budget to be balanced has broad appeal. 76.2% of those polled supported such a measure, while just 17.7% opposed.

When you dig further into those numbers, 67.7% of Democrats along with majorities of those who identify as liberals support the amendment. Contrary to what the mainstream media might imply, balancing the budget isn’t a “radical” idea from the Tea Party, it’s a unifying concept across the political spectrum. In the SoonerPoll survey, there wasn’t a single demographic or subset that did not support a balanced budget amendment.

Every state except for Vermont has some sort of a balanced budget requirement, and at various points in American history, balanced budget amendments have come close to being considered or enacted (in the 1990’s, a Balanced Budget Amendment passed the U.S. House and came one vote short in the U.S. Senate).

Part of the reason for this popular support of a balanced budget amendment is the soaring national debt. Just eleven years ago, the national debt stood at just under $5.7 trillion dollars. Nine trillion dollars later, worry over the debt and our future is at an all time high.

Those surveyed by SoonerPoll were asked to use a 0 to 10 scale to express their concern regarding the national debt (with ‘0’ meaning ‘not at all concerned, and ‘10’ meaning ‘extremely concerned’). The results really are remarkable. Among all respondents, 4.2% responded in the 0 to 4 range, 4.4% were neutral, 24.2% were 6 to 9, and an astounding 66.3% picked ‘10’ for ‘extremely concerned’.

Again, as with the balanced budget question, large majorities of every possible group expressed extreme concern over the national debt. To Oklahomans, this is not a partisan issue, with Democrats on one end of the spectrum and Republicans on the other, balancing as if on a teeter-totter. Instead, as the debt continues to rise on one side, they are both sitting on the edge of the opposite side.

In the past few years, little has brought these two issues to light more forcefully than the emergence of the Tea Party. The crushing national debt and the perpetually unbalanced federal budget have and continue to be focal points for the grassroots movement. As a result, the national conversation has turned to these topics.

Regardless of how the two issues are addressed, Oklahomans are extremely concerned about the national debt, and are united in their support of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Oklahomans have it right, and with red ink threatening to swamp the entire country, the President and Congress need to take note.

Jamison Faught s a guest political analyst and commentator at SoonerPoll.com.  Jamison is a conservative political activist and the author of MuskogeePolitico.com, one of the top political blogs in the state.

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According to a recent SoonerPoll, most Oklahomans do not believe that students will learn more if more money is spent on public schools. When asked if they agree with the statement “If more money is spent on public schools in my district, students will learn more.” 63.6 percent of likely Oklahoma voters disagreed with the statement.

“The findings of the survey indicate that many voters are ready for reform in the school system that does not necessarily mean spending more money,” Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll, said. “These results are consistent with the conservative values that most Oklahoman’s hold in regards to government spending.”

Further results found that Republicans are more likely to believe educational spending is not tied to student learning than Democrats (70.3 percent of Republicans compared to 57.3 percent of Democrats). In fact, Republicans were 16 points more likely to strongly disagree than Democrats, whose disagreement was much softer.

Interestingly, age played a role in how Oklahomans view education spending and student learning. Results of the poll indicate that the older the poll respondent, the stronger disagreement there was with the statement.

“Regardless of respondent ideology, the opinion that spending will not improve public education is consistent with research performed at the Brookings Institute,”  Dr. Keith Gaddie, SoonerPoll Vice President, said.  “The Brookings Institute’s study shows there is no relationship between spending in the classroom and student performance.”

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 – March 8. This particular question was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent.

To see a PDF document containing all the questions asked by OCPA click here.

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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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