By Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

The Republican leads Askins in the governor’s race by 18 points.

Any way you look at the numbers, Jari Askins has a tough row to hoe on Tuesday.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate famous for confounding pollsters and pundits trails Republican Mary Fallin by 18 points, according to an Oklahoma Poll conducted Oct. 18-23.

And, although it is true that Askins overcame a 16-point deficit at a similar point in the primary campaign to defeat Drew Edmondson, there are some important differences.

One is voter motivation. Although the latest Oklahoma Poll suggests growing enthusiasm among Oklahoma
Democrats, it still lags that of Republicans.

Another difference is President Barack Obama. He wasn’t much of a factor in the primary but is almost certain to be one in the general election. Much of Fallin’s campaign – and of Oklahoma Republicans in general – is built on reminding Oklahomans how much they dislike Obama.

“It’s difficult sometimes for (voters) to look at Oklahoma Democrats and see separation between them and the national party,” said SoonerPoll.com President Bill Shapard.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com 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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