The first SoonerPoll conducted after the passing of the Health Care Reform Law finds steady approval ratings of Oklahoma’s US senators, despite  a national environment of strong anti-incumbent sentiment.

Senior Senator James Inhofe’s (R-Tulsa) approval rating remains steady at 61 percent. Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-Muskogee) approval fell 3.5 points to 61.4 percent, down from almost 65 percent approval in January.  The January number was Coburn’s highest approval rating since 2006.

“Anti-government and anti-incumbent sentiment in this cycle largely focuses on members who are appropriators or pork-barrellers,” Keith Gaddie Vic President of SoonerPoll observed.  “Senator Inhofe was reelected in part based on credit-claiming for roads projects, but both he and Senator Coburn have cultivated a strong ‘anti’ Washington message at home.”, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, commissioned and conducted the study that used live interviewers by telephone of 500 likely voters from April 5 – 15, 2010. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.38 percent.

Although there is little variation from Inhofe’s January to April numbers, the senator received slightly higher marks last summer, before the recession had really taken hold in Oklahoma and long before the passage of the Health Care Reform Law.

“We need to wait and see if this is part of a long-term trend.” Gaddie noted. “But given that Jim Inhofe does not face the voters again for four years, I doubt any change in approval is of real concern.”

Coburn is up for reelection this year, and as of yet, no major Democrat has announced intentions of running against the senator who enjoys such remarkably high approval ratings.


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