By Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

Many Oklahomans may be like Raymond Overcash of McAlester when it comes to voting on the “down-ticket” offices on Tuesday’s general election ballot.

“No, not really,” Overcash said when asked if he knew much about the candidates for the seven statewide offices other than governor.

With much less money than gubernatorial candidates – or some state question pro and con campaigns – candidates for secondary statewide offices find it more difficult to get their messages across or generate much interest in their races.

The result is an uncertain electorate susceptible to forces beyond the control of candidates.

Fourteen to 21 percent of voters are undecided in the seven down-ticket races, according to the latest Oklahoma Poll.

With no long-term incumbents on the ballot and national Democrats out of favor, the climate is ripe for a Republican takeover of statewide offices, said President Bill Shapard.

“It’s a very agreeable political cycle for Republicans,” Shapard said. “Democrats have had to try to make the election about local issues, but it doesn’t seem to be working.”

Republicans led in six of the seven secondary races, with the lone exception being the all-Tulsa fight for insurance commissioner.

There, the incumbent one-term Democrat, Kim Holland, has a lead over the Republican nominee, John Doak, of 43 percent to 41 percent – within the poll’s margin of error.

Holland is the senior statewide officer on the ballot, having been appointed to the office in 2005 after the resignation of Carroll Fisher.

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Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.


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