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Most Oklahoma voters agree that Oklahoma banks are different than “Wall Street firms,” a new SoonerPoll study shows.

Results indicate that 73.6 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled agreed with the statement “Oklahoma banks are much different from the “Wall Street firms” that are often referred to as “banks” by the media.”

The study found that 48.6 percent of respondents said they “strongly agreed” with the statement, while another 25 percent said they “somewhat agreed.” Only 16.8 disagreed, and 9.6 had no opinion.

“It is reassuring to see that Oklahomans draw a distinction between their community banks and Wall Street,” Roger Beverage, Oklahoma Bankers Association President, said. “These results are especially encouraging during this time of economic uncertainty that has yielded large scale backlash at Wall Street.”

Beverage said that though the poll questions only focus on the voting public’s perception, the difference between “Wall Street firms” and OBA-member banks is real.

Traditionally, Oklahoma banks take in money through consumers’ account deposits, which are insured through the FDIC, and then loan it back to the community in the form of auto, home, or business loans. By comparison, Wall Street firms focus primarily on facilitating the sale of stocks and bonds and operate as advisers and agents for companies that want to raise capital.

SoonerPoll asked respondents the same question last January and found that 60.9 percent of respondents saw a difference between Oklahoma banks and “Wall Street Firms.” Only 12.8 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement, which left 26.4 percent undecided.

In January, Beverage suggested that the 26.4 percent of undecided respondents presented an opportunity for improvement. Since then, the undecided rate has dropped 16.8 points and the percent who agreed with the statement has increased 12.7 points.

By comparison, the percentage of respondents who disagree with the statement has only increased 4 points.
“By a three-to-one margin, those who were undecided are beginning to agree with the statement,” Beverage said. “Last January I said the undecided percentage was a number we had to improve on, and I’d say these results indicate that Oklahoma banks have done a pretty good job of demonstrating those significant differences.”

When results concerning the difference between Oklahoma banks and “Wall Street firms” are broken down by party very little variation is evident, but political label did affect results. Of those who consider themselves conservatives, 77.8 percent agree there is a difference, compared to just 59.2 percent of liberals.

Beverage said there is no doubt that Oklahoma bankers have helped Oklahomans better understand the differences between Oklahoma’s traditional community banks and Wall Street firms, but that there is always more work to be done.

“When Oklahomans understand that difference they realize that OBA-member banks are the solution to the nation’s problems, not the cause of them,” Beverage said.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by the Oklahoma Bankers Association. SoonerPoll.com 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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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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The latest SoonerPoll reveals most likely Oklahoma voters are both concerned about the current national debt and supportive of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

SoonerPoll asked respondents to use a 0-to-10 scale, where 0 means not concerned at all and 10 means extremely concerned, to rate their concern about the $14 trillion dollar debt.  Results reveal that 66.3 percent of respondents rated their level of concern a 10, and 84.4 percent of respondents rated their concern an 8 or more.

When asked whether they support or oppose a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to balance the budget, 76.2 percent of respondents said they support the amendment.  Only 17.7 percent of respondents oppose the amendment while 6.1 percent had no opinion.

When results are examined by political affiliation, it is revealed that even though majorities of both parties are concerned about the deficit the responses still break down along party lines.  Further analysis indicates that 90.8 percent of Republicans rated their concern with the deficit at an 8 or more, 11 points more than the 79.8 percent of Democrats who said the same.

Responses break down even further when support of a balanced budget amendment is examined by party, though large majorities of both parties support amending the constitution.  Results show that 86.1 percent of Republicans support the amendment, a percentage nearly 20 points larger than the 67.7 percent of Democrats who support the amendment.

Similarly, a correlation between conservatism and support of the amendment is revealed when results are broken down by political label.  Analysis indicates that 86.7 percent of very conservative respondents support a balanced budget amendment, a percentage which steadily decreases across the political spectrum reaching just 51.1 percent among very liberal respondents.

“Here in Oklahoma, we have to live within our means and the state government has to operate in the black,” John Ex, a poll respondent from Stilwell, Okla., said. “I would like to see the federal government have to do the same thing”

Elisabeth Ruhl of Greenie, Okla., expressed that she was extremely concerned about the rising national debt.  “We have to pay it back somehow or we just leave it to the generation after us,” Ruhl said. “I think a balanced budget would be better than spending money we do not have.”

O.G.Tate of Enid, Okla., said that concern about the deficit is one thing that unites us all, but what to do about it is a different story.

“In ordinary times if you had asked me about a balance budget amendment the answer would be yes, but now you cannot do it until you get the economy back on track,” Tate said. “To get back on track we have to put people to work and that means creating infrastructure jobs and it takes money to do that.”

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned this poll.  SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific poll July 25-Aug. 11. Likely Oklahoma voters were selected at random and given the opportunity to participate in the poll by phone or online. Of the 587 respondents who participated, 17 took the survey online and 570 responded via telephone interview. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.04 percentage points.

Be sure to read guest political analyst Jamison Faught’s commentary on these results.

 

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A survey by SoonerPoll.com on behalf of Ovarian Cancer Awareness indicates many Oklahoma women are confused about known risk factors for ovarian cancer as well as which medical tests can help detect ovarian cancer.

The study also revealed that respondents were unfamiliar with several symptoms of ovarian cancer.

“It’s not surprising that we are finding some of these results,” said Anna Schlichting, organizer of Anna’s Belles, Oklahoma’s only ovarian cancer support group. “Symptoms of ovarian cancer are so vague, it’s easy to attribute them to other conditions.”

When asked about known risk factors, two in three women polled said “family or personal history of cancer,” however only 22 percent of respondents said “being over the age of 50” which is also a known risk factor.

Interestingly, two practices which are known to decrease risk, “taking oral contraceptives for more than five years” and “having multiple pregnancies,” were indicated by 24 and 13 percent respondents respectively as known risk factors.

“There are certainly some risks with taking oral contraceptives, but studies are showing the benefits of protecting women against ovarian cancer far outweigh those risks,” said Schlichting.

When  the women were asked to indicate medical tests that can help detect ovarian cancer in the early stage, a 56.3 percent majority of women said ”Pap smear,” which is a medical test used to detect cervical cancer but not ovarian cancer.  Another 2.3 percent of women polled said “mammogram,” which is a medical test that detects breast cancer, but, again, does not detect ovarian cancer.

“Unfortunately, women assume that by going for their yearly exams, they are being tested for things like ovarian cancer,” said Schlichting. “But when it comes to this disease, you have to demand additional testing from your doctor to prove you do not have it – especially if you are experiencing any of the symptoms. Early detection increases your chances of survival to 92 percent, so it could literally save your life.”

Two other tests which can sometimes detect ovarian cancer, “a transvaginal ultrasound” and “CA 125,” were mentioned by 21 and 12.3 percent of women respectively.  Only 11 percent of women said “there is no test that can be used for early detection,” the answer doctors say is most correct.

“There is no true test for ovarian cancer at this time,” said Schlichting. “The ultrasound and CA 125 are the closest we have.”

According to the poll, some symptoms are more well-known than others.  “Pelvic and/or abdominal pain” was the only symptom which a majority, 56 percent, of women indicated.  “Bloating,” “urinary symptoms” and “difficulty eating or feeling full quickly” were only indicated by 40, 27 and 23 percent of respondent s respectively, though all three are symptoms.

“They used to say ovarian cancer was a silent killer, but the truth is, it whispers,” said Schlichting. “Obviously, if you are feeling abdominal pain, that is a clear sign from your body that something is wrong. But if you are suddenly experiencing a combination of these other symptoms, these are also signs that you need get checked out. You know your body better than anyone, so listen to it.”

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by Ovarian Cancer Awareness.   SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific poll July 25-Aug. 11. Likely Oklahoma women voters were selected at random and given the opportunity to participate in the poll by phone or online.   The study was administered to 300 women and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.

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