April 5, 2010
Wesley Burt

Are Oklahomans' opinions of political parties changing?

A recent SoonerPoll finds Oklahomans' opinions of political parties have changed since last April, but only time will tell whether these changes are part of a larger trend. The poll conducted this March asked likely Oklahoma voters questions to gauge favorability of national and local party organizations.

The exact same questions were asked last April and the new results reveal that public opinion has changed since last year.

Favorability of the National Democratic Party dropped 1.3 percentage points since April while the percentage of Oklahoman's with unfavorable opinions of the party held at exactly 53.2 percent.

The favorability of the Oklahoma Democratic Party dropped 1.4 percentage points to 43.8 percent while the unfavorable position grew the same amount to 42 percent. The Oklahoma Democratic party is now only 0.1 percentage points higher that favorability of the Tea Party.

�The state Democratic Party used to rely on this concept of the Oklahoma Democrat as a brand,� Dr. Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll, said. �That brand has collapsed. That brand is no more popular than the Tea Party, which is not an actual organization. You can�t just say, �I�m an Oklahoma Democrat� and hope to win an election in this state.�

Although the results indicate what may be a shift in the way Oklahomans view the Democratic Party, Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll warns of the dangers of speculation when the change is minute enough to fall within the margin of error.

take a look at the exact questions asked in this poll

The percentage of Oklahoman's with unfavorable opinions of the National Republican Party fell 7.6 percentage points, from 48.7 in April to only 41.1 percent this March.� Although unfavorable opinions fell, favorability for the party increased only 1.6 percentage points to 42.8 percent since April, as a neutral opinion of the party grew� 6 percentage points.

�The Republican Party suffered lower favorability during and after the 2008 election�as large scale discontent with the course of the nation occurred under a Republican president,� Shapard said. �Although favorability of the Republican party has not increased, we are beginning to see unfavorable opinions drop, so much so that favorable opinions are now higher than unfavorable opinions.�

Unfavorable opinions of the Oklahoma Republican Party dropped 3.7 percentage points since April. Like the National results the Oklahoma Republican Party held close to the same favorability numbers, 50 percent, while the number of neutral votes grew just over 3 percentage points to 16.9 percent., Oklahoma�s public opinion pollster, compared two scientific studies that used live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters� from Feb. 25 � March 8, 2010 and 318 likely voters from April 23-26, 2009. The studies have a margin of error of � 3.1 percent and � 5.5 percent respectively.

Wesley Burt
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Wesley Burt