January 15, 2018
Bill Shapard

Cornett leads, but Republican gubernatorial nomination up for grabs

The latest polling for governor on the Republican ticket shows Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett leading the pack, but the race is up for grabs as both leading candidates have lost ground since the last SoonerPoll.

In this poll, Cornett had nearly a seven-point lead on his next closest competitor, Todd Lamb, who previously led Cornett by 3 points last August, 32.1 percent to 29.2 percent.  Gary Richardson has gained two points since last August.

"What is most significant in these poll numbers is the loss of support of the top two candidates," said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll.  "Only 23 percent were undecided last August, now nearly 39 percent are unsure.  Republican primary voters are out looking for a candidate to get behind and that's why this race is up for grabs."

Cornett has lost five points since August.  Lamb has lost nearly 15 points.

[QUESTION] If the Republican primary 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? [DELIVERED IN RANDOM ORDER; PRESENTED BY HIGHEST PERCENT]

1. Mick Cornett 23.9%
2. Todd Lamb 17.6
3. Gary Richardson 9.0
4. Dan Fisher 4.0
5. Gary Jones 3.4
6. Kevin Stitt 3.4

Almost half of all 5th congressional district Republicans, which includes Oklahoma City, supported Cornett where he's been mayor since 2004.  Only 12 percent of first congressional district Republicans, which is predominately the city of Tulsa, support the Oklahoma City mayor.

"It remains to be seen whether Cornett can be competitive in Tulsa as the sitting Oklahoma City mayor," said Shapard, who went on to note that Oklahoma City mayors have not fared well in the past when running for any higher office.

Lamb's support was much more consistent over all of the congressional districts with his largest support coming from the third congressional district, 27 percent, which includes Enid where he was born.  Lamb, however, represented an Oklahoma City suburb in the state senate before being elected lieutenant governor in 2010.

"Lamb's greatest strength is that he's the sitting lieutenant governor, but it's also his greatest weakness," said Shapard. "Lt. Gov. Lamb is inevitably linked to the current administration, the on-going state budget fiasco, and Governor Fallin who has some of the lowest favorables of any recent governor."

Richardson, a Tulsa trial lawyer, received his greatest support, 15 percent, from the first congressional district where he has practiced law since 1972.  Richardson also fared well in the second district of Oklahoma with 12 percent, an area that's in the Federal Eastern District of Oklahoma where he served as U.S. Attorney from 1981 to 1984.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from January 4-9, 2018 with 409 likely Oklahoma voters (213 Republicans, 162 Democrats and 34 Independents) selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus a online panel from Research Now. The sample was weighted by age, political party, sex and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a primary election. The weighting was conducted using a 'layered technique.'

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.84 percent.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here.  A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

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.