Perry Leads GOP Field in Oklahoma
Pat McFerron, CHS
In a survey conducted just days before he formally entered the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry holds a 5-point lead over Mitt Romney in the Sooner State. In the survey of 215 registered Republicans in Oklahoma. Perry is the choice of 22% while Romney claims support from 17%. Michele Bachmann is a distant third in the state (8%) and is followed by Herman Cain (6%) and Newt Gingrich (5%).
In 2008, Romney finished third with just under 25% of the vote in Oklahoma’s primary, trailing both John McCain (37%) and Mike Huckabee (33%).
In addition to leading the overall ballot, Perry shows strength among key elements of the Oklahoma primary electorate. Among the most active Republican primary voters (the 24% who have voted in the last four partisan primaries), Perry’s lead is even greater (20% Perry vs. 12% Romney), though Bachmann does make a stand (19%). Perry also has a strong lead among the 20% of Republicans most interested in moral issues (21% Perry vs. 7% Romney) and the 61% who describe themselves as “strong conservatives” (30% Perry vs. 12% Romney vs. 11% Bachmann).
Romney’s most significant lead is among the 20% of Oklahoma Republicans living in households with annual incomes in excess of $100,000 (31% Romney vs. 19% Perry).
In another way to test the strength of the national candidates, Republicans were asked a follow-up question about if they would support either former Congressman J.C. Watts or U.S. Senator Tom Coburn as a favorite son in the state. In this instance, 58% of Republicans said they would support one of the “favorite son” candidates, while only 23% said they would support one of the national candidates. When looking at this question, we see that Perry’s support is slightly stronger than is Romney’s, as 68% of Romney’s supporters would opt for one of Oklahoma’s favorite sons, whereas only 54% of Perry’s would do the same.
The survey, conducted August 9-11, 2011 was the Republican portion of a 500-sample survey of voters statewide. Subscribers to Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates’ publication The Sooner Survey will get the results of the full survey. The Republican sub-sample has a margin of error is +/- 6.7%.
Also of interest is the fact that Perry’s lead is not solely in those areas bordering Texas. In fact, in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa media markets (which do not cover Texas news or politics) Perry’s lead is almost identical to what is seen statewide.
“Despite the small sample size and the time before Oklahoma’s primary, it is clear Rick Perry is the candidate to beat in Oklahoma. The cross-tabulations indicate he is already the choice of the most prolific voters, and one could expect his strength to grow in this neighboring state,” stated Pat McFerron, Director of Survey Research for Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates, a position he has held since 1994. “When looking at the large number of undecided voters, there is no reason to think they would break against Perry.”
It should be noted, Tim Pawlenty was included in the study, as interviewing occurred prior to his withdrawal.
Text of questions and percentage responses follow.
1. If the Republican primary for President were held today, would you be voting for:
Rick Perry - 22%
Mitt Romney - 17%
Michele Bachmann - 8%
Herman Cain - 6%
Newt Gingrich - 5%
Ron Paul - 3%
John Huntsman - 2%
Tim Pawlenty - 2%
Undecided (vol.) - 33%
2. As you may be aware, in the past, some states have run candidates known as favorite sons for President. If either JC Watts or Tom Coburn ran for President as an Oklahoma favorite son, would you vote for one of these two candidates or one of those running nationwide?
Would vote for national candidate - 23%
Would vote for Watts or Coburn - 58%
Undecided (vol.) - 18%
NOTE: in the 2008 Oklahoma presidential primary, Romney received 24% of the vote, and Ron Paul received 3%. This CHS poll shows Paul at the same level, and Romney seven points down. None of the other candidates have run for president before.