October 29, 2018
Bill Shapard

DIAL TEST: Edmondson earns high marks from women, Independents on impact of less education funding

In order to fully understand how the two top candidates for governor this year are impacting voters, partnered with News9/Newson6 and performed a Dial Test of the candidates speaking at the From Now On debate held Thursday, October 11th. For this video presentation, Republicans are RED, Democrats are BLUE, and Independent voters are YELLOW, women voters are PINK, and voters over the age of 65 are PURPLE.

What is a Dial Test? How it is conducted? And, how do I read/interrupt a Dial Test?

Time and time again, we see that when candidates, regardless of party, can effectively describe the problems facing our communities, they strongly connect with voters. The candidates may or may not necessarily offer real solutions to those problems they've described but, nevertheless, voters respond favorably to the candidate.

We see this in this particular dial test of Drew Edmondson talking the impact of less per pupil education funding that Oklahoma's schools have faced during the state's budget deficits of the last few years.

Edmondson begins by talking about kids dropping out of school and that schools need to make school more interesting to them. Quickly, all voters -- including Republicans -- respond favorably to how Edmondson describes these problems. As Edmondson begins to talk about the loss of teachers and class courses and increased class sizes due to the cuts, Independents respond the most favorable toward Edmondson, shooting to over 88 percent agreement. Even Republicans are well above the 62 percent level.

Edmondson's remarks also appeal to women voters and those over the age of 65, who reach the near 79 percent favorable line. It should be noted that women are about 54 percent of the electorate and voters over the age of 65 are nearly 40 percent.

Edmondson then relates a story of a discussion with a school superintendent about teachers working only a four-day school week and working a part-time job on Fridays. Favorability remains high during these remarks, but all of the groups see a slight loss of intensity.  It may be due to the fact that they do not know where Edmondson is going with these thoughts, or whether he is endorsing a four-day school week or teachers working a part-time job.

All of the voters groups, however, respond with greater favorability when Edmondson says "it is shameful the way we have short changed public education."

Voters need to see that the candidates can effective articulate the problems that our state and communities face.  From this dial test, we can see the Edmondson performs very well in the minds among a variety of important subsets of the electorate.

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.