May 24, 2018
Bill Shapard

Cornett continues to drop; Stitt picks up speed as the Republican gubernatorial race turns into a turf war

Former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett has continued to slip in polling since August 2017, yet still maintains a strong second place finish in a race that is almost certainly to be a run-off between the top-two vote-getters in the June primary.


Lt. Governor Todd Lamb's polling had been falling as well until this News9/Newson6 poll placed him in the poll position at 23 percent, up from 21 percent in March.

"Both Cornett and Lamb have suffered, I believe, from the distance they put themselves from the problems at the State Capitol with budget deficits and teacher pay raises." said Bill Shapard, CEO of Neither had a plan nor looked like the leader that Republican primary voters are looking for in the next governor."

[QUESTION] If the Republican primary election for governor was TODAY and you were standing in the voting booth RIGHT NOW and had to make a choice, for whom would you vote? [RANDOM READ]

1. Todd Lamb 23.3%
2. Mick Cornett 20.4
3. Kevin Stitt 13.5
4. Gary Jones 4.1
5. Dan Fisher 3.2
6. Gary Richardson 2.9
7. All other candidates 1.2
8. Don't know 31.3

Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, however, has continued to rise in the SoonerPoll-conducted polls, placing him solidly in third place. His increase in support is predominately being driven by an increase of Tulsa-area Republicans. Stitt lives in Tulsa.

"This race is developing more and more into a battle of geography," said Shapard.

In early polling, Cornett dominated among Oklahoma City-area Republicans with slightly more than half of those supporting him, but that has dropped to just over 38 percent while his campaign has spent a considerable amount of money and resources trying to pursue Tulsa-area Republicans.

Lamb, meanwhile, has increased his support in the more rural parts of the state, leading among the candidates in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th congressional districts. Lamb, who has lived in Oklahoma City most of life and even represented an Oklahoma City suburban senate district for a period of time, was born in Enid.

"If Stitt is able to maintain his momentum of building support among his fellow Tulsa-area Republicans, he might be able to make the run-off," said Shapard.

It is important to note that the vast majority of undecided Republican voters are located in the more rural parts of the state.  Early analysis has shown that, due in large part to the Republican Party's gains in registration in rural areas, the more rural parts of the state will be playing a larger role in deciding the Republican nominees for statewide office.

The most undecided Republicans are in the state's 2nd congressional district with 44 percent. The 3rd district has 33 percent undecided and the 4th district has 32 percent undecided.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the poll of Oklahoma likely voters, which was commissioned by News9 and Newson6.

The scientific study was conducted May 15-23, 2018 with 622 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a 5-frame of SoonerPoll's own online panel, Research Now's voter panel, cell phones and landline telephones. For cell phone and landline telephones, voters are selected at random from SoonerPoll's voter database and matched with cell and landline phone numbers.  Cell phone participants are collected using live interviewers and landline participants are collected using both live interviewer and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology. The sample was weighted by age, gender, political party and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a primary election.

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative. The full study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 3.93 percent.

The Republican sample was 321 and has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±5.47 percent.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

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 major campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.