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Tulsa World

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July 18, 2012

By RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer

Oklahomans’ attitudes and opinions on climate change can be as hard to interpret as an occluded front in March.

Only 8 percent of the 495 surveyed in the latest Oklahoma Poll think human activity is solely responsible for any change in the Earth’s climate.

But two-thirds think human activity may be partly responsible.

More than half say the record-breaking heat of the past 18 months has not changed their minds about climate change.

But more than a third says it has.

One interpretation might be that while Oklahomans are somewhat concerned about changing climate, they don’t perceive it to be a crisis.

“My personal opinion is that weather is kind of cyclical,” said Ken Price of Sapulpa. “We go through seasons where it seems unseasonably warm, and you go through times when it is unseasonably cool. I think it’s part of the life cycle God created.

“We do need to be concerned about carbon emissions,” said Price, “but I think media need to realize these things happen.”

Price was not the only respondent to connect God to climate. Self-described evangelical Christians were more likely than nonevangelicals to view climate as beyond human influence.

“Our whole system has changed,” said Hannah Miller, who lives in Delaware County. “I think it’s part of what we’re supposed to go through. Our world is getting worse and worse, and so is the weather and everything else around it.”

Joyce O’Neal of Muldrow was more definite.

“I really think the end times are here,” she said. “I’m an evangelical Pentecostal. I believe the end times are here and this is punishment on our nation for things we’ve done.

Continued – Click here to read the entire Tulsa World article

About the poll

The poll of 495 likely voters was conducted by soonerpoll.com, using a random dialing technique that included both cell phone and landline telephone numbers. Likely voters are those who have established a frequent pattern of voting.

Interviewers collected the data by phone July 26-Aug. 14. Results were weighted by age, metropolitan statistical area, political party and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both).

The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. This poll conforms to the standards of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

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By Randy Krehbiel World Staff Writer

Oklahomans seem to be of two minds about Woody Guthrie.

They either like him, or they never heard of him.

Responding to a recent SoonerPoll.com survey, 52 percent of the 500 Oklahomans questioned said they have a favorable opinion of the Depression Era troubadour – but 41 percent had no opinion or didn’t know who Guthrie was.

Stanton Doyle, a senior program officer with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which is developing a Guthrie museum and archive in the Brady Arts District, said the first figure is “consistent with the feedback we get,” and the second is “a great opportunity” to introduce Guthrie to a new audience.

Born in 1912 in Okemah, Guthrie became an itinerant laborer and folk singer whose songs about the poor and working class made him a hero to many, while his unorthodox lifestyle and leftist politics turned many Oklahomans against him.

For decades, Okemah refused to acknowledge Guthrie, and he was not inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame until 2006.

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

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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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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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“All we’re doing is giving the voters the right to make this decision,” said Councilor Roscoe Turner, who spearheaded the council-city manager government proposal.

Rarely do pollsters ever want to look back themselves or have anyone bring up their pre-election poll results AFTER the election.

We do.

You might be able to come up with several reasons why it should be done, but we believe the most important one is ACCOUNTABILITY, which seldom exists in the public opinion polling industry.  Yes, we have a rather good track record with our pre-election poll results in comparison to election day and, given that fact, its probably easy for us to conduct this type of analysis.  However, we have even been wrong a few times and written about those as well.

But, what about the change of government election that occurred earlier this month in Tulsa?  Remember the poll results released by the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 that said 64% of Tulsans did not want a ‘super mayor’ form of government?  Or, another result from the same poll that said a slim majority supported a switch to a city manager form of government?

It turns out Mayor Dewey Bartlett was right and was not ‘obviously out of touch’ with the people of Tulsa as FOP political consultant Victor Ajlouny said in the Tulsa World.

Several other councilors also agreed with Ajlouny in the World, saying the poll results confirm what they are hearing from constituents. Would this be any of the seven of nine incumbent councilors who either decided not to run again or were thrown out on election day?

With their vote, Tulsans spoke up about who was ‘obviously out of touch’ and who was truly listening to their constituents.

Ajlouny told the World the FOP decided to conduct polling on the proposals because they involve important decisions for the public.  Sure, that’s why the poll used words like ‘super mayor’ and ‘super districts.’  Honestly, who in America anywhere wants a ‘super mayor’ or politicians from ‘super districts?’

The truth is, the poll’s sole objective was to create pure propaganda, not conduct legitimate public opinion research, and this is why post election analysis of pre-election results should be conducted.

A Tulsa World editorial published three days after the poll’s release took issue with the poll’s choice of words and questionable results and rightfully informed its readers of these issues.

In our opinion, polls like these put a dark cloud over the public opinion polling industry and incite skeptism of all polls in the minds of the public, and this a shame for all the legitimate public opinion research that is being conducted.  That’s why we feel it is important not to let pre-election poll results go unforgotten just because the election has come and gone.

Knowing that we’ll perform our own post-election analysis of our pre-election results along side those of other pollsters keeps us accountable to our objectives, our high standards, our industry, and the Oklahoma public.

So, how well did WE do on Tulsa’s change of government questions?  Here it is.

Bill Shapard is the CEO of SoonerPoll

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By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer

Most Tulsans are happy with the way the $451.6 million Fix Our Streets effort is going and will vote to renew the improvements tax package when it’s time, a new Tulsa World-sponsored poll showed.

The effort to rebuild and repair the city’s crumbling arterial and residential streets was approved by voters in 2008, with the work to wrap up in 2014.

Those polled were asked whether they approve or disapprove of how the work is progressing.

A large majority – 64 percent – said they somewhat-to-strongly approve, while 29 percent somewhat-to-strongly disapprove, the poll showed.

Fix Our Streets always has been touted as a multiphase initiative because of the overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done.

City officials have already begun talking about which projects should be included in the next package to take to voters before it expires in a few years.

The poll asked whether people are supportive of an extension of Fix Our Streets, which is paid for in a combination of sales and property taxes.

In all, 58 percent said they somewhat-to-strongly support a renewal, while 33 percent said they somewhat-to-strongly disapprove.

SoonerPoll.com CEO Bill Shapard said the public, not just at the local level but statewide, has shown willingness to pay for better infrastructure.

“It’s no wonder then that the governor has come out and said ‘Let’s fix all of our bridges,’ ” he said. “People will get behind efforts like that.”

If Fix Our Streets wasn’t showing real progress or using the money wisely, Shapard said, the questions would have prompted more negative reactions from those polled.

“Most everyone gets out on the roads, and when you hit a bump, you’re thinking about your tax dollars and who should be fixing that,” he said.

“It seems to indicate to me that the city is doing a good job of fixing the streets and in a timely and proper manner.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By Randy Krehbiel – Tulsa World Staff Writer

A Tulsa firefighter campaigns during a city election in July 2009. [News on 6 file photo]
Tulsans are split almost evenly over whether firefighters and other city employees should have been allowed to actively campaign in this year’s city elections.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett issued an executive order this year banning such activities, reversing the policy of his predecessor Kathy Taylor.

An even 50 percent of the 508 likely voters surveyed by SoonerPoll.com from Oct. 27-Nov. 1 agreed with Bartlett. Forty-seven percent said the police and firefighters should be allowed to campaign, with a majority of those saying police and firefighters should even be allowed to wear their uniforms while doing it.

The firefighters union unsuccessfully sought a federal court injunction against Bartlett’s order. A motion by the city to suppress an effort to enlist retired firefighters, family members and others to work on behalf of candidates supported by the union also was denied.

The City Charter bans employees from “an active part in any campaign for the election of officers of the city, except to vote and privately state a personal opinion.”

The charter provisions are similar to a federal law known as the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in political activity.

“My husband was a federal employee, and he was not allowed to campaign at all,” said poll participant Jimmie Pryor. “We couldn’t have signs in the yard, which I thought was unconstitutional.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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By P.J. LASSEK & BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writers

Tulsans may be fed up with City Hall controversies, but a new Tulsa World-sponsored poll indicates a majority of voters aren’t ready to adopt a council-city manager form of government or to add at-large councilors to the current structure.

But they do support with slight majorities returning councilors to two-year terms and moving to nonpartisan races.

SoonerPoll.com CEO Bill Shapard said he is cautious about the poll results on the four City Charter amendments because they are barely majorities. Noncandidate issues can also be particularly unstable because voters’ positions can be easily swayed.

“People don’t change their minds about people,” he said. “It’s easy to change your opinion on an issue such as these.”

Shapard said he tries to do polling as close to the election as possible, but “we see groups becoming energized (on issues) at the last minute where most candidate campaigns don’t wait this long.”

A campaign blitz by various groups began Wednesday for all four of the proposals that has included newspaper advertisements, yard signs and mailers.

Shapard said he is concerned with the number of undecided voters because these “are likely voters, stakeholders within the community and have shown a pattern of voting in the past.”

Having one in 10 or one in eight still undecided “seems to indicate that there is still some effect that may be placed on them by money and messaging that could alter the numbers,” he said.

Republicans are more enthusiastic about the election than Democrats, 53 percent to 39 percent. Shapard noted it has less to do with the election and more to do with the anti-Barack Obama energy on the national level filtering down.

Even though the proposed charter changes could make “seismic changes” to the city government, he said, there is probably less enthusiasm about them than there was for September’s primary elections, when only candidates were on the ballot.

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article


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Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett speaks about new streetlights during a news conference Wednesday at Mohawk Boulevard and Lewis Avenue. Behind the mayor are Steve Baker of American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma (left) and Tulsa Police Capt. Jonathan Brooks. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World

By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and utility officials announced Wednesday that 53 new streetlights will be installed as part of the “Lights On!” initiative.

“Citizens told us through a survey that more lights in neighborhoods would make them feel safer at night,” Bartlett said during a news conference at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Mohawk Boulevard. “This wasn’t just in one specific area of Tulsa but throughout Tulsa that people felt this way, and we are trying to react to that in a positive way.”

Mohawk from Lewis to Peoria avenues will have 23 lights installed. The other 30 are scattered around the city.

American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma is covering the cost of installing the lights and maintaining them. The city will pay for the electricity, which will run about $2,735 annually for all.

AEP-PSO’s Steve Baker said the installation of the lights should be complete by December.

Earlier this year, Bartlett formed a “Lights On!” committee to evaluate where new lights were needed. It included representatives from the Mayor’s Office, AEP-PSO, the Police Department and the city’s traffic engineering staff.

The group will continue to meet to determine more lighting locations.

“This is just our first list,” Bartlett said. “We assume we are going to have the financial capability to add more. In the whole scheme of things, it’s not a significant investment, but it can have a significant impact.”

ContinuedClick here to read the entire Tulsa World article

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