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Most likely Oklahoma voters oppose the sale of water to out-of-state districts and communities, such as Texas, according to a recent SoonerPoll study.

Results indicate that 65 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled oppose selling water to out of state districts and communities, compared to 29.3 percent who support selling.  Just 5.7 percent of respondents had no opinion.

Opposition to water sales has increased by more than 10 percentage points since the last time SoonerPoll polled the question.

“I knew the margin was huge in people opposing out-of-state water sales, because growth will go where the water goes and we want growth right here in Oklahoma,” said Sen. Jerry Ellis, D–Valliant.

Sen. Ellis and Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, are carrying HB 2552, a piece of legislation which would require any act relating to waters and water rights receive approval from the Oklahoma voters in a state referendum, as well as consent of the Oklahoma Legislature.

“This is very important, it’s the most valuable natural resource,” Ellis said.  “We’re saying that the final decision should be with the voters in the state of Oklahoma and it should be on the ballot to the voters.”

In recent years, decisions about selling water out-of-state have been steeped in controversy.

Many communities in north Texas have experienced major growth in the last decade.   However, to sustain their growth, those communities need a valuable resource: water.

To satisfy that need, Texas communities turned their eyes upon southeastern Oklahoma’s free-flowing waters, but controversy arose when Oklahoma refused to sell.

A 2006 moratorium on out-of-state water sales passed in the Oklahoma legislature sparked the Tarrant (Texas) Regional Water District to file a lawsuit which still hasn’t been resolved.

See Complete Data and Analysis

Ellis said that protecting our natural resources for future growth is important, but there are other factors which complicate the lawsuit.

“This gets into the Red River Compact,” Ellis said. “We have a compact that takes in four states, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, you have to think of the people downstream, and I can assure you all of this water that you’re talking about is allocated and compacted water.”

Ellis said the Red River Compact is the reason Oklahoma has won against the Tarrant Regional Water District four times in federal court; three times in U.S. District Court, and one time in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“When you start pulling water out before it goes into the Red River, you are going to change the quality and quantity of everything that is left,” Ellis said.  “In other words, you’re going to affect irrigation in SW Arkansas, you’re going to affect Shreveport, La., you are going to affect everything down stream.”

In January, the Tarrant Regional Water District asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning the 10th Circuit U.S Court of Appeals ruling.  The U.S. Supreme Court agreed and justices are expected to consider the water district’s petition at a private conference on March 23.

“It’s the lifeblood of any state or people, and we just want to make sure that Oklahoma has enough water to grow in the future,” Ellis said.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 512 likely voters from Nov. 17 – Dec. 6. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.3 percent.

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A majority of likely Oklahoma voters polled say they would support legislation that would require the Oklahoma state legislature to abide by the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts, according to a recent SoonerPoll survey.

The Open Meetings and Open Records Acts make up a set of rules which are designed to ensure transparency in government. Currently the Oklahoma state legislature is exempt from compliance.

When asked whether they would support or oppose legislation that would bring the state legislature into compliance, 85 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled said they would support the legislation.

By comparison, 7.8 percent said they opposed the legislation and 7.2 percent had no opinion.

“The people of Oklahoma know that it is absolutely hypocritical for the state legislature to make laws to have transparency of government entities and then to exempt themselves from those exact same laws,” Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, said.

“It’s not right and the people know it.”

In February, Murphey introduced HB 1085, which, if passed, would make the Legislature subject to the Open Records and Open Meetings Acts.

Murphey said that anytime taxpayer dollars are spent to produce a record or to have a meeting, taxpayers have a right to observe those proceedings and to view and keep those records.

“Overtime, those [Open Records and Open Meetings] laws have worked out very well and it has become an important part of the ethics of the Oklahoma governance structure,” Murphey said. “It’s far past time for those same laws to be applied to the Oklahoma legislature.”

HB1085 passed in the Government Modernization Committee last week on an 8-3 vote and is now eligible to be heard on the House Floor.

Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, helped author the legislation and intends to introduce the bill in the Senate if it is successful in the House.

“Sen. Holt in the senate made a big stride forward when he came out in support of it,” Murphey said. “That means that we now have support and advocates in both the chambers, which is very important.”

Murphey said he is hopeful that the legislation will be passed despite opposition from legislators who have “become comfortable with the secrecy that surrounds the proceedings.”

Additional analysis of the data reveals bipartisan support for removing the open records and meetings acts exemption for the Legislature.

Crosstab analysis indicates that 85 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats would support legislation.  Independents showed the most support with 93.1 percent in favor of removing the exemption.

Similarly, 84.5 percent of conservatives, 90.7 percent of liberals and 85.9 percent of moderates said they would support legislation to remove the exemption.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 512 likely voters from Nov. 17 – Dec. 6. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.3 percent.

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Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum leads the pack of Republican primary candidates in Oklahoma, but voters think some candidates are better than others when it comes to certain attributes, according to a recent SoonerPoll study.

Results indicate that a plurality of likely Republican primary voters think Santorum is the best candidate when it comes to honesty and ability to understand the problems facing people like them.  However, pluralities of Republican voters said that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is the strongest leader with the best experience.

Despite believing that other candidates are better suited for the Republican nomination, a plurality of Republican voters said that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has the best chance to beat President Barack Obama in the general election.

SoonerPoll CEO, Bill Shapard Jr., presented the results at a Republican primary panel discussion held Tuesday.

Shapard said that as voters begin to coalesce around a particular candidate in a typical election, it is rare to find a different candidate leading in particular attributes.

“When people begin to pick a candidate, they think not only do they have the best chance of winning, they think they are also the strongest leader, they also think that it’s somebody that understands the problems of people like them,” Shapard said.

“That is not the case here in Oklahoma.”

Republican Primary Panel Discussion

On February 28, 2012, SoonerPoll.com released GOP primary poll results and hosted a discussion panel to start a dialogue in the media.  The panel featured guests Keith Gaddie, Sheryl Lovelady, and Karl Ahlgren, as well as SoonerPoll CEO Bill Shapard.

Republican consultant Karl Ahlgren said he thinks the reason Romney is seen as the best candidate to beat Obama is because of the size of his campaign.

“Obviously Romney has the most money the most ability to get his message out and so that is what voters are looking at,” Ahlgren said.  “We may not like everything about him, but we feel like he is the best person that can represent us.”

Sheryl Lovelady, a former Democratic consultant, said that though a candidate’s ability to beat Obama has been an important characteristic for voters thus far, she doesn’t think it’s a sustainable characteristic for the future.

“At the end of the day, voters want to be for something and not just against something,” Lovelady said.

Political Science Professor Keith Gaddie agreed with Lovelady’s assessment and went on to say that he feels there is a race to the bottom in the GOP primary.

“It keeps moving so far to the right, and so far away from those issues that affect everyday voters,” Gaddie said. “It makes it hard for the GOP and the eventual nominee to move back to the center.”

Referring again to the recent results, Shapard pointed out that Romney does better among liberal and moderate Republicans, while Gingrich and Santorum lead among conservatives.

“The voters are really identifying well the ideological perspective of the candidates themselves and it is pretty much aligning that way,” Shapard said.

Download the Republican Primary Panel presentation or the toplines and crosstabs for the survey.

Lovelady echoed Gaddie’s earlier evaluation.

“The longer they run the more conservative they get and the more people in the electorate they disenfranchise,” Lovelady said.  ”It will be very interesting to see if they are so far out there that they can’t appeal then to the middle of the country.”

Other results from the same SoonerPoll study find three Republican primary candidates polling above 50 percent in favorability.

When asked whether they had favorable or unfavorable opinions of the candidates, 70.3 percent of respondents said they had favorable opinions of Rick Santorum, 57.3 percent had favorable opinions of Mitt Romney, and 55.6 percent had favorable opinions of Newt Gingrich.

Ron Paul was the only GOP candidate who had more unfavorable opinions than favorable opinions, with 49.3 percent unfavorable and just 35.7 percent favorable.

Sheryl Lovelady said the results highlight what has been the story of the 2012 Republican primary election from the beginning, “there is no real consensus among Republican voters.”

“We’ve seen consistently over a period of months and months and months that there is not one candidate that’s breaking away from the fray, Oklahoma is really no exception,” Lovelady said.

Keith Gaddie said that the up and down of the candidates is driven by the fact that none of them are satisfactory candidates for the majority of Republican voters.

“Absent some strong candidate who they find persuasive, these voters are falling back on those attributes of themselves that they look for in candidates,” Gaddie said. “In Oklahoma, because we have such a strong socially conservative base these voters are falling back to that core principles candidate, which in the current environment is Rick Santorum.”

Bill Shapard cautioned that though Santorum is the current front-runner in Oklahoma, this election cycle has seen the rise and fall of many GOP primary candidates.

“As a pollster I would only say that that’s where the numbers sit as of this moment and that is what we would probably anticipate would carry forward if the election were today,” Shapard said.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned this poll.  SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific poll Feb. 8 – 16, 2012.  The survey was administered via telephone interview to 300 likely Oklahoma voters who were selected at random.  All respondents who took the survey identified themselves as Republicans and said they planned to vote in the March 6th primary election.   The margin of error is plus or minus 5.66 percentage points.

 

Panelists

Bill Shapard Jr., CEO of SoonerPoll.com, is the state’s leading media pollster, having conducted more publicly-released polls since 2006 in the state of Oklahoma than all other pollsters combined.  Bill is a frequent political commentator and has conducted the Tulsa World’s Oklahoma Poll since 2005.

 

Keith Gaddie, PhD, is a Political Science Professor at the University of Oklahoma and a frequent political commentator for many local, national and international media outlets. Keith is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of fourteen booksKeith and Kelly Damphousse (Sociology) are the newly appointed editors of Social Science Quarterly.

 

Sheryl Lovelady is Director of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the University of Oklahoma. For the past two decades, Lovelady has worked throughout the United States as a political consultant. Today, along with her role at OU, she owns a private communications and public policy firm.

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 Karl Ahlgren, co-owner and general partner of AH Strategies, a Republican political relations firm with offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  A 28-year veteran of Oklahoma government and politics, Ahlgren has a client list that includes more than 40 current members of the Oklahoma Legislature. Ahlgren served for 2-years as co-secretary of the State Senate during its historic tie.

 

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BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has surged to the front among Oklahoma’s Republican voters, according to a SoonerPoll.com survey released Sunday.

Santorum was the first choice of 39 percent of the 278 likely voters who said they planned to participate in the March 6 state GOP primary.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, first in a survey conducted last fall, dropped to third, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who remained second.

Romney, generally considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, was at 23 percent, followed by Gingrich at 18.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was at 8 percent, and 13 percent were undecided.

Twenty-two of the 300 Republicans in the original sample either said they don’t intend to vote in the primary or weren’t sure if they would.

The survey was conducted Feb. 8-16, after Santorum picked up victories in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, and partly after appearances in Oklahoma City and Tulsa on Feb. 9.

“Because Oklahoma is not a leading primary state, and because one party takes it for granted and the other thinks it has no chance, the candidates don’t spend much time here,” said SoonerPoll.com President Bill Shapard.

“Romney has remained pretty steady,” Shapard said. “His share is relatively unchanged.”

The “non-Romney” Republicans, he said, seem to be still looking for a favorite.

“That’s why the seeming movement from Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum,” Shapard said.

Shapard pointed out that Santorum had been mostly in single digits, nationally and in Oklahoma, until winning narrowly in the Iowa caucuses. His three victories early this month may have convinced voters he can win.

“Rick Santorum was being held back by the fact that he was not well-known enough,” Shapard said. “Oklahomans may be beginning to think that if people in other states think he can win, why shouldn’t we.”

About the poll

SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific telephone survey of 300 likely Republican voters in Oklahoma from Feb. 8-16. Likely voters are those who have established a frequent voting pattern. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.66 percentage points.

Read more at TulsaWorld.com

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Most likely Oklahoma voters say the current tax system is unfair and just over half say they would prefer a flat tax system with one marginal rate, according to a SoonerPoll survey.

When asked if the income tax system currently used by the state and federal government is fair or unfair, 59 percent of respondents said unfair and 34.2 percent said fair.

A 50.4 percent majority prefer a tax system that imposes the same tax rate on all taxpayers by taking the same percentage of income from everyone regardless of how much an individual earns.

By comparison, 40.2 percent said they prefer the kind of tax system currently used in the United States, which imposes a higher tax rate on those with higher incomes.

“It just makes sense that if you’re going to have a tax, everyone should pay the same rate,” Jonathan Small, Fiscal Policy Director at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, said. “Sales taxes, property taxes, fuel taxes, and a host of other taxes are not based on income. The concept of a flat rate is present in almost every other area of life.”

See Complete Data and Analysis

Results indicate that 53.6 percent of respondents that said the current tax system is unfair also prefer the flat tax, while 37.4 percent still prefer a progressive tax system.

Over the past several months, many Republican presidential primary candidates have embraced flat tax plans as part of their campaign.  Candidates who embrace the flat tax often face criticism from those who say a single marginal tax on all Americans would adversely affect lower income Americans.

Despite the criticism, results indicate that 46.9 percent plurality of likely Oklahoma voters who make less than $35,000 a year prefer the flat tax to the progressive tax system.  By comparison, 54.3 percent of respondents that make $100,000 a year or more prefer the flat tax.

“No one wants everything they do judged by their income,” Small said.  “What will really help all Oklahomans is having more of their own income to spend, produce jobs, and charitably give as they see fit.”

Additional crosstab analysis reveals that a majority of all parties think the current tax system is unfair.  When examined by political label, the results reveal that a plurality of liberals and a majority of both moderates and conservatives agree that the current income tax system is unfair.

Results also indicate that a 59.1 percent majority of Republicans prefer the flat tax, while a 58.6 percent majority of Independents and a 47.1 percent plurality of Democrats prefer a progressive tax.

A 57.3 percent majority of liberals and a 53.2 percent majority of moderates prefer a progressive income tax, while a 59.7 percent majority of conservatives prefer a flat tax system.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 512 likely voters from Nov. 17 – Dec. 6. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.3 percent.

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A majority of likely Oklahoma voters support removing the law that allows state employees the option of having their public employee association dues, formerly known as union dues, withheld from their paycheck, according to a recent SoonerPoll.com study.

The study found that 56 percent of respondents would like to see the state government removed from the employee association dues collection process.  By comparison, 32.3 percent of respondents said they opposed removing the provision, while 11.7 percent had no opinion.

In 2001, voters passed Right-to-Work in Oklahoma, which says that an employee has a right to work for a company or a state or local government without having to join a union.  Its passage not only made union membership voluntary, but also changed the existing state’s public employee unions, by definition, to that of employee associations.

Current statutes allow state employees the option of having their employee association dues withheld from their paychecks each month.  Payroll deductions for employee association dues are voluntary and, if an employee elects to have their dues withheld, the state government is required to comply.

“Voters may see the state collecting employee association dues as a remnant of the old system when union membership and the paying of union dues were mandatory,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.  “Because it is now voluntary and has been since 2001, voters may view association dues as any other voluntary or personal expense of the employee and thinking it should be treated as such.”

See Complete Data and Analysis

Voluntary payroll deductions for professional organizations in Oklahoma dates back to a 1977 Extraordinary Session of the 36th Oklahoma Legislature.  During that session, legislation that provided school district employees the option of having both professional organization dues and political contributions deducted from their paycheck was ratified.

In 1984, the legislature extended voluntary payroll deductions for professional organization dues to the membership of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

Current Oklahoma law also allows state employees to make voluntary payroll deductions for retirement plans, supplemental insurance plans, approved charities, payments to Oklahoma banks or credit unions, or other state-approved entities.

The state pays for the administrative costs of processing payroll deductions by levying a 2 percent charge on the gross annual premiums for insurance plans and a 1 percent charge on the gross annual payments for retirement plans.

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello  supports removing the state government from the collection employee association dues.

“Many of the associations benefiting from state payroll deductions have lobbyists and PAC’s,” Costello said.  “Right now, the partisan political activities of some employees are being subsidized by all employees who have state insurance or retirement plans, and ending payroll deductions for employee associations will remove politics from the paychecks of government workers.”

Additional poll analysis reveals that majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support changing the law.  Results show that 58.1 percent of Republicans and 52.4 percent of Democrats support the ending the state’s processing of employee association dues.

The study did find that division grows when results are broken down by political label.  Crosstab data indicates that 60.8 percent of conservative respondents support removing the deductions compared to just 40.7 percent of liberal respondents.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 512 likely voters from Nov. 17 – Dec. 6. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.3 percent.

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A majority of likely Oklahoma voters would support legislation to give the state auditor the legal authority to initiate systematic performance audits on any or all state agencies, a recent SoonerPoll study shows.

Results indicate that 74.2 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled would support such legislation, 56.6 percent said they would “strongly support” it.  Only 16.4 percent said they would oppose the legislation, while 9.4 had no opinion.

Government Auditing Standards define a performance audit as “an objective and systematic examination of evidence to provide an independent assessment of the performance and management of a program against objective criteria.” Put simply, performance audits indicate areas in which state agencies can improve operations and spend taxpayer dollars more wisely.

Currently, Oklahoma state law does not authorize the Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector to initiate performance audits.

According to State statutes, the auditor can only begin an audit “upon receiving a written request to do so by the Governor, the chief executive officer of a governmental entity or pursuant to a concurrent resolution of the legislature.”

“Most Oklahomans want their state government to continue to look for ways to provide greater transparency,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com. “I think most Oklahomans realize there is something inherently wrong with a system that allows agencies to decide whether or not they want to be audited.”

Shapard said it makes sense that only agencies with nothing to hide would volunteer to be audited.

“The fundamental mission of the State Auditor is to make sure that taxpayer money is spent wisely in every state agency, not just the ones that ask for an audit,” Shapard said.

Additional crosstab analysis reveals that 76.1 percent of Democrats and 70.9 percent of Republicans said they would support the legislation.  According to crosstab data, 74 percent of both liberals and conservatives favor the legislation.

“The bipartisan nature of the results just goes to prove that regardless of whether a person advocates for a big government or a small government, they want that government to be transparent about how money is spent,” Shapard said.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 512 likely voters from Nov. 17 – Dec. 6. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.3 percent.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich received the support of one-third of the 400 likely Republican Primary voters polled in a recent SoonerPoll.com study.

With 33.3 percent plurality, Gingrich leads in Oklahoma by more than a two-to-one margin over former Governor Mitt Romney who came in second with 14.3 percent.

“Since Republican primary candidates rarely visit Oklahoma on the campaign trail, it is not uncommon for Oklahoman’s opinions to mirror national polls receiving media attention,” Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com, said.

The SoonerPoll went in the field on November 17, and results from Gallup’s daily poll of the Republican field have revealed Gingrich to be the nationwide front-runner since November 13.

Romney consistently came in second in the Gallup daily poll during the time the SoonerPoll.com study was conducted, though never with less than 21 percent.

“It is not really surprising that the leader and runner up in our poll mirrored the national polls,’ Shapard said.  “But what is surprising is how much lower Romney’s poll numbers are compared to nationwide numbers reported in the media.’

Romney received just 14.3 percent in the SoonerPoll study, despite maintaining numbers in the mid to high twenties nationwide.

Shapard said that since the poll only asked respondents who they would vote for, there is very little data to help explain why Romney’s numbers are lower in the state.

See Complete Data and Analysis

Governor Rick Perry came in third, earning 9.3 percent, followed by Representative Ron Paul who garnered the support of 4.3 percent of respondents.

Nationally, Ron Paul has been polling in third place ahead of Rick Perry, but Shapard said additional data may shed some light on why the results are reversed in the state.

“Perry has had the majority of his success among evangelical Americans, and when we look at the crosstabs we see Perry polling within a single percentage point of Romney among evangelical Oklahoma voters,” Shapard said. “Though we can never be sure, this may account for why Perry is bucking the national trend here in Oklahoma.”

Former business executive Herman Cain was a serious candidate when fielding began on the SoonerPoll study.  Cain suspended his campaign during the fielding process, but his name was read to respondents until the end of the study for consistency.

Cain received support from 9.3 percent of respondents in the study.

Shapard said that since Cain has not officially backed a candidate, it is unclear how his percentage of votes will break in Oklahoma.

“Based on how Gingrich’s rise coincided with Cain’s downfall in the national polls, we would expect many of Cain’s Oklahoma supporters to break for Gingrich,” Shapard said. ”But again, the nature of this type of polling makes it impossible to speak definitively on such matters.”

Three other candidates received less than 4 percent in the study.  Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman finished with 3.5 percent, 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.

SoonerPoll plans to continue polling the race in the coming months as well as the general election that will follow.

“A lot can change in a few short months,” Shapard said. “It will be interesting to see how much opinion changes between now and March 6th.”

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned this poll.  SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific poll Nov. 17-Dec. 16, 2011.   Likely Oklahoma voters who identified themselves as Republicans were selected at random and given the opportunity to participate in the poll by phone or online. Of the 400 respondents who participated, 4 took the survey online and 396 responded via telephone interview. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

 

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SoonerPoll, Oklahoma’s most recognized name in public opinion research, recently announced that it now offers a new, low cost public opinion research service. Individuals or organizations interested in low cost branding and awareness research or how the public views issues important to their goals can now take part in “The Quarterly Poll.”

“The Quarterly Poll” is a survey of 500 likely voters across Oklahoma conducted by SoonerPoll once every quarter. Participants add questions to the poll and upon completion receive toplines, crosstabs and assistance disseminating their results to the public, should they choose to do so.

“We have conducted ‘The Quarterly Poll’ on a trial basis for the last couple of quarters,” Bill Shapard, SoonerPoll chief executive, said. “Before the year started, we were approached by an organization interested in utilizing our ability to effectively measure public opinion on a regular basis.”

“We decided to devise a mechanism for others to participate at a lower cost than if they commissioned an independent survey, which eventually grew into ‘The Quarterly Poll.’”

The third installment of “The Quarterly Poll” will go into the field later this month, and according to Shapard, will have the most participants to date.

“We operated the poll on a trial basis to sort of test the waters and see if there would even be any organizations interested in including their issues on the survey,” Shapard said. The poll has become successful and, just through word-of-mouth, the 3rd Quarter survey will have a full slate of questions Shapard said.

Participants on the poll include public policy organizations, statewide associations, public relations and marketing firms, as well as lobbyists, and various print and media outlets. “What is great about this service is that it not only allows organizations to know what public opinion is on an issue now, it provides a cost effective way to conduct time-series analysis of issues or branding questions, over a period of years,” Shapard said.

SoonerPoll is preparing to launch a version of The Quarterly Poll just for businesses that wish to utilize it for branding and perception research.

“Conducting this type of research can be quite expensive,” Shapard said. “But, when companies can participate in a project that is already going into the field they can lower their costs substantially and still get the quality information they need to make informed decisions.”

SoonerPoll is the brand name utilized by Shapard Research’s public opinion research division. Shapard Research has clients across the country as well as in Oklahoma. SoonerPoll has served as the pollster of record for the Tulsa World, and regularly conducts surveys for Griffin Communications, owners of Oklahoma City’s KWTV Channel 9, and Tulsa’s KOTV Channel 6.

For more information on how to take advantage of  “The Quarterly Poll,” contact James Davenport at (405) 607-4664 or by e-mail at james@shapard.com

James Davenport is Shapard Research’s Vice President of Client Relations and a Political Analyst for SoonerPoll.com

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Early May approval ratings from SoonerPoll reveal that 33.6 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled approve of the way President Barack Obama is doing his job. Though the president’s approval remains low in Oklahoma, it is a marked improvement from the steady decline that coincided with the run-up to the midterm elections which culminated in an all-time low of 26.1 percent in November.

In January of this year, SoonerPoll measured the president’s approval rating for the first time since the mid-term elections and found that 29.8 percent of those polled approved of the president. If January’s numbers represent the beginning of a recovery, then the latest numbers, which are just slightly lower than they were before the mid-term dip, may indicate a return to normalcy.

“The president’s numbers in Oklahoma have fallen to the Democratic national vote base in the state,” Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll.com, said. “While many Oklahomans gave the new president the benefit of the doubt after the 2008 election, events have not gone his way, and his approval rating fell, and continues at a very low level.”

Public perception is inextricably tied to current events. In all probability, the months surrounding the midterm elections, which were often marred by anti-establishment and anti-Democrat sentiments, are what led to the president’s midterm dip in approval.

Similarly, it may be important to note that the most recent approval rating numbers came from a poll that went in the field on May 2, the day after it was announced that Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, had been killed in a military action ordered by the president.

“There is often some bump after a significant foreign policy event, a ‘rally’ effect,” Gaddie noted. “The president enjoyed a small rally, but rallies depend on muting criticism, and they invariably fall away, especially in times of economic uncertainty.”

Of those who identify themselves as Democrats, 53.4 percent approve of the president. Democrats account for 77 percent of Obama’s approval rating.

Further analysis shows that 72.4 percent of self-identified liberals approve of the president. Liberals constituted 24.5 percent of those who approve of President Obama. Only 12.5 percent of conservatives and 10.6 percent of Republicans approve of the president.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster commissioned the poll. The scientific study was conducted using live interviewers by telephone of 509 likely voters from May 2 – 12. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.34 percent.

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