January 20, 2018
Bill Shapard

Could Governor Fallin be the most unpopular Oklahoma governor in modern times?

Republican Governor Mary Fallin is not popular in the state and neither is the state legislature, but more blame the governor for the impasse of producing a balanced state budget that is long overdue since May of last year.

Fallin's unpopularity is nothing new. In May of last year, 61 percent of likely voting Oklahomans viewed her unfavorably and even found her more unpopular than Kevin Durant who had recently abandoned the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But, she wasn't always this unpopular.


1. Very favorable 11.6%
2. Somewhat favorable 23.7
3. Neutral/Don't know/no opinion [DNR] 6.6
4. Somewhat unfavorable 24.8
5. Very unfavorable 33.3

In September of 2013, a whopping 73 percent viewed the governor favorably.  By June of 2014, it had fallen to 52 percent.  Now, her favorability stands at the worst of any Oklahoma governor tracked by SoonerPoll in the last 14 years and perhaps the worst of any governor in modern times.

Following a grand jury probe into his 1990 campaign contributions, former Democratic Governor David Walters' lowest approval rating was 32.5 percent.  He barely survived impeachment. Governor Fallin's favorable rating last May was 31.1 percent and in this poll just 35.3 percent.


1. Very favorable 6.8%
2. Somewhat favorable 24.4
3. Neutral/Don't know/no opinion [DNR] 11.9
4. Somewhat unfavorable 27.8
5. Very unfavorable 29.2

The favorability of the state legislature has stayed pretty much the same but hasn't fared very well either during the same period of time, 56.6 percent last May and 57 percent now.

It should be noted that legislative bodies typically never poll very well regardless of the year or during events which might impact its favorability rating.

When it comes to considering who is most to blame for the breakdown in negotiations in balancing the state budget, a plurality blame Governor Fallin the most.

[QUESTION] In light of the recent breakdown in negotiations in balancing our state budget, who would you say you blame MOST for the lack of leadership?

1. The Governor 27.8%
2. Republicans 22.7
3. The Legislature 22.4
4. Democrats 11.5
5. Don't know/Refused [DNR] 2.9

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 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.