OKLAHOMA CITY – With two different budget plans locked in a stalemate at the State Capitol, a new poll finds that most Oklahoman’s prefer the plan proposed by House Republicans and Governor Brad Henry over another plan offered by Senate Democrats.
SoonerPoll.com, a public opinion research firm in Oklahoma City, conducted the telephone poll of 510 Likely Oklahoma voters just over the weekend, May 20-21. The poll’s margin of error was 4.3%.
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When likely Oklahoma voters were asked which plan they supported of the two plans on the table, 58% supported the bi-partisan Henry/Hiett plan over the Senate Democrat proposal with 37% support. 4.7% were undecided. In a breakdown by party affiliation, 45% of Democrats supported the House Republican and Governor Henry plan and 75% of Republicans.
Respondents believed teacher pay (40%) and cutting taxes (35%) were the top two priorities in how the state should spend the tax receipt surplus, which is the largest in state history. All other mentioned proposals such as increased state spending (1.8%), a state employee pay raise (8.6%), and increasing funding for higher education (9.2%) were all in the single digits.
When asked how much should be returned to taxpayers after the state meets all its current financial obligations, more than half of respondents, 56%, wanted all of at least half of the budget surplus returned to taxpayers, which is more than either plan contains.
Increased government spending or new spending was not popular among those polled. Only 29.6% agreed that new or increased government spending was needed. Slightly more favored increasing funding for higher education and raising the pay of state employees, but none received a major of likely voters’ support.
Men were more likely to favor cutting taxes (42%) than women (30%), which women favored raising teacher salaries (46%) than men respondents (33.6%).
Not surprisingly, the more conservative the poll respondent was, the more likely they supported the Henry/Hiett plan, and accordingly the more liberal the respondent, the more likely they supported the Senate Democrat plan.