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By Randy Krehbiel World Staff Writer

Newt Gingrich’s charisma and intelligence may trump all other considerations for Tulsa-area Republicans, a focus group of likely voters in the March 6 GOP primary indicated last week.

The 11 registered Republicans with a history of voting in primary elections were assembled by SoonerPoll.com at the Tulsa World offices three days after Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina primary pushed him to the front of the GOP presidential field.

The focus group included six men and five women. Four identified themselves as Gingrich supporters, two for Mitt Romney, one for Ron Paul and one for Rick Santorum. Three said they were undecided, and one Romney supporter said she was now leaning to Gingrich.

“I think I feel the way I’ve already heard some of you speak,” said Denise Miller of Tulsa. “With Romney, I don’t feel convinced that I know what he stands for or doesn’t.

“So there is Newt, who is a little bit of a loose cannon … but, by golly, you know where that man stands.”

Several indicated a true preference for Herman Cain, who is no longer actively campaigning, and at least one said Michele Bachmann, another candidate who’s fallen by the wayside, was his first choice.

Real estate developer Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were also mentioned as “dream” candidates.

All said it is imperative Republicans ultimately unite behind one candidate to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

Read the rest of the article at www.tulsaworld.com

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President Barack Obama’s approval rating in Oklahoma has fallen 6.3 points since August to 28.9 percent, according to a recent SoonerPoll.com study.

The November study found that 28.9 percent of likely Oklahoma voters approve of the way President Barack Obama is doing his job. By comparison, 64.8 percent disapproved and 6.3 percent had no opinion.

Approval ratings from early May indicated that 33.6 percent of likely Oklahoma voters polled approved of the president, a marked improvement from his all-time low that coincided with the 2010 midterm elections.

In August the president’s approval reached 34.6 percent, the height of a rally that proved to be short lived.  Since August, the president’s approval has fallen dramatically and is now just 2.8 points higher than his all-time low of 26.1 percent in November 2010.

“Last May we theorized that the bump in the president’s approval rating may have been tied to the significant foreign policy event that was the death of Osama Bin Laden,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com, who went on to note that rallies of this kind are not usually sustainable, and almost always fall away over time.

“Obama enjoyed a few months of higher approval in the state, however a lot has changed since then and he has been plagued with a host of issues that affect public perception including but not limited to the debt crisis and the Solyndra scandal, not to mention a constant barrage from GOP primary candidates who have had center stage ,” Shapard said.

In depth crosstab analysis reveals that 88.6 percent of Republicans disapprove of the president’s job approval. Results also indicate that a 47.1 percent plurality of Democrats disapprove of the president, while only 46 percent of Democrats approve of the president.

Further analysis shows that those 68.5 percent of respondents who identify themselves as liberals approve of the president.  By comparison, 12.5 percent of conservatives approve of the president.

It is worth noting that, according to the Tulsa World Oklahoma Poll archives, the previous low for a sitting president was Bill Clinton’s 37 percent approval rating at the end of 1994, putting Obama’s rating well below any other president’s since the Tulsa World began polling 19 years ago.

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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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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