Monday, October 11, 2021

OK Poll: Lankford leads with 62%, slim majority oppose gov't COVID mandates

Quarterly Poll Reveals Oklahoma Voters are More Concerned About COVID, More Negative About State Trajectory

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma-based public affairs firm Amber Integrated has released a recent survey measuring voter attitudes about elected leaders and other political issues and current events. The topline results are available here and the crosstabs are available here. This survey was conducted from September 29-October 3, 2021, and included a pool of 500 registered voters in Oklahoma. This survey has a margin of error of 4.38% at a 95% confidence interval. 

Key findings include: 

Voter attitudes about the direction of the state have grown more negative since June.

In June 2021, our survey showed that 63% of all voters, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all thought the state of Oklahoma was moving in the right direction, with just 37% saying it was on the wrong track.

In October, we see an increasingly negative mood reflected in the survey, with 49% saying the state is headed in the right direction, a 14-point drop, and 46% saying it is on the wrong track. Democrats are particularly negative, with just 1 in 3 Democrats saying the state is on the right track.

COVID has resurfaced as a major public concern.

In June 2020, just 8% of all voters listed COVID-19 as a primary public policy concern, making it a lower priority than jobs and the economy, education, immigration, health care and law and order.

In October, however, 20% of all voters now view COVID as a priority, second only to “jobs and the economy” at 26%. This increase corresponds strongly to the spike in COVID cases and positivity rates seen between June and October.

Overall negativity about the state’s direction and concerns about COVID have likely impacted the approval ratings of statewide elected leaders.

Governor Kevin Stitt’s approval rating has declined from 59% in June to 50% in October, with 38% now disapproving of his job performance. While that represents a dip in popularity for the governor, he remains the most popular elected official in our survey.

Sen. James Lankford, who had a 54% approval rating in June, saw his approval dip to 46% in October, with 33% saying they now disapprove of his job performance. Likewise, Sen. Jim Inhofe, saw his approval rating decline from 52% to 47%, with 33% disapproving of him.

On the federal level, Pres. Joe Biden and Vice Pres. Kamala Harris saw their limited popularity in Oklahoma decline further, with Biden falling from 42%/54% approve/disapprove in June to 34%/57% in October, and Harris falling from 40%/51% approve/disapprove to 31%/57%.

Sen. Lankford is in a commanding position in a Republican primary. Other GOP races are wide-open.

Sen. James Lankford has a commanding lead in a Republican primary over his declared challengers, Jackson Lahmeyer and State Sen. Nathan Dahm. While 62% of Republicans say they plan to vote for Lankford or lean towards voting for Lankford, just 21% say they will vote or lean towards voting for Lahmeyer and 3% say the same of Dahm.

Looking at the Republican primary election for attorney general, 33% of voters say they either will vote for Attorney General John O’Connor or lean towards voting for him, with 16% saying they either will vote or lean towards voting for 2020 AG candidate Gentner Drummond. While 43% of voters remain undecided, the results may be somewhat discouraging for Drummond, who nearly won election in 2020 and may have hoped to begin the race as the front-runner against O’Connor, a recent appointee who has never been on a statewide ballot.

Looking at the GOP primary race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Peggs Superintendent John Cox leads with 23% saying they will either vote for him or lean towards voting for him, with Secretary of Education Ryan Walters and Shawnee Superintendent April Grace both trailing him at 14% each. Cox is a former Democratic candidate for state superintendent and likely benefits from greater name ID than either of his declared opponents.

Oklahomans oppose or are split on government-backed COVID mandates, but support businesses right to require masks.

A majority of Oklahomans (54%) oppose the U.S. Department of Labor’s mandate on larger businesses to require COVID vaccinations. Opposition is driven by Republicans (74% oppose) and independents (51% oppose). Three-quarters of Democrats support the mandate.

Fifty percent of Oklahomans oppose government-backed mask mandates, with 47% supporting those mandates. Again, the partisan split is dramatic: 78% of Democrats and 51% of independents support mask mandates, compared to just 27% of Republicans.

Eighty-one percent of all voters, including 93% of Democrats, 82% of independents and 74% of Republicans support allowing local businesses to impose masking rules in their own establishments.

Oklahomans support commuting the sentence of death row inmate Julius Jones.*

Forty-six percent of Oklahomans have now heard of death row inmate Julius Jones, who has an Oct. 26 clemency hearing and a November 16 execution date. Sixty-one percent of all voters say the governor and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board should commute his sentence to something other than death, with a majority of Democrats (81%) and independents (61%) as well as a plurality of Republicans (49%) saying they support commutation/clemency.

Support for Jones’ commutation/clemency rises among voters who say they have seen, read or heard about Julius’ case. Among those who have SRH of Jones, fully 67% of respondents say they support the governor and Parole Board commuting his sentence (see the crosstabs with "heard of Julius Jones" here).

*Amber Integrated stands by the accuracy of these polling results; however, it should be noted we work in partnership with the Justice for Julius campaign. 

About Amber Integrated:
Amber Integrated is a fully integrated public affairs firm, offering services in lobbying and government relations, political campaign consulting, media relations and communications, digital marketing and advertising, and survey research. Amber Integrated focuses on analytically driven strategies, quantitative research and digitally focused campaigns that deliver successful outcomes for our clients, which include Fortune 500 companies, elected officials, non-profits, and businesses of all sizes.

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