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June 11, 2008
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Bill Shapard

Executive Approval and Economic Evaluation

OKLAHOMA CITY � A majority of Oklahomans feel that America is headed in the wrong direction; many are not confident of the national or state economy; Henry received exceptional approval; rural residents are six times more likely to say that the Oklahoma economy is depressed.

SoonerPoll.com, a public opinion research firm in Oklahoma City, conducted the telephone poll of 664 registered voters and non-registered Oklahoma residents April 24-May 15. The poll�s margin of error was 3.8% and results were weighted by MSA, political label and sex.

�Click Here:�Complete survey results and crosstabs

Approval of Executive Officials:

This report analyzes official approval and economic evaluation. The following sections break down results to questions of approval for President George W. Bush, Governor Brad Henry, Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator Tom Coburn. Answers for Bush approval were on a 7-point scale and answers for the Governor and two Senators are simply approve or disapprove.

This report has been filtered so that only results for respondents who said they are currently registered to vote in the state of Oklahoma are portrayed. Beyond frequency figures, profiles are constructed through cross tabulation of demographics.

  • Bush ended the study with an approval (total) rating of 43% with 20.3% of the total sample strongly approving and 44.1% strongly disapproving, likewise
  • 70.5% for Henry, 51.6% for Inhofe and 58.3% for Coburn

Bush Approval ---

  • President Bush enjoys his greatest approval among men: deriving 48.1%, among women it was 36.8%
  • Approval is highest between the ages of 35 to 44: 55.2%
  • Bush received the greatest approval by Republicans (71.6%) when compared with Democrats and Independents
  • Bush was greatest among more conservative voters: averaging 67.3%
  • Although approval among different levels of education did not correlate in one direction, DISapproval was greatest among moderately educated respondents: 45.6% for those who have attended vocational/technical school and 45.9% for less than high school
  • 89% of the Black/African American respondents DISapprove of Bush
  • The poll suggested that the more often a respondent attended church, the greater the approval for Bush, 52.7% of those who said they attended weekly and 66.4% of those who said they attended monthly voiced approval
  • Approximately 60% of those respondents claiming to be Evangelical Christians approve of Bush�s work and 72% of those who did not claim such a label DISapprove
  • He received the greatest approval from rural Oklahoma
  • When comparing those respondents who have lived at their current residence for many years and Bush approval, as length rises so does approval

Approval for Henry, Inhofe and Coburn ---

  • Similar to Bush, Senators Coburn (who received the most male support, 75.6%) and Inhofe received greater approval among males while Governor Henry, on the other hand, received greater approval among females (79.2%)
  • Approval for Inhofe decreased as a respondent�s age increased, therefore younger respondents were more likely to approve of Inhofe
  • Those who voiced approval for Henry, in contrast to Bush, dipped among middle-aged respondents
  • Henry received the greatest approval from Democrats (87.6%) and Independents (89.6%)
  • Single respondents gave most of their support to Henry (80.4% of singles approved), while Bush received solid approval among married respondents, especially Inhofe who captured 64.7% of married respondents� approval
  • Approval for Inhofe and Coburn increased with conservative beliefs while Henry�s approval increased with liberal beliefs
  • Respondent approval for Coburn rose as respondent educational achievement dropped
  • Over 90% of those who claimed an educational level less than high school graduate approve of Henry
  • Approval for Henry correlated negatively with church attendance; avid church attendees do not approve of Henry but do approve of Inhofe and Coburn (this correlated stronger for Inhofe)
  • Evangelical Christians displayed the most support for Inhofe (78.2%) and Coburn (84.6%)

Economic Evaluation:

In this section, respondents were asked a series of questions to gauge their perceptions of the status of the national and state economy as well as their personal finances. Respondents were asked to judge the health of both economies and personal finances and then asked if they thought these were getting better, worse or have stayed about the same. Next, respondents were asked if they were more concerned, less concerned or feel about the same when compared to last year of their personal finances, home�s value and job situation.

  • Three quarters of respondents feel that America is headed in the WRONG direction
  • A majority of respondents feel that the national economy is at least somewhat depressed and 64.9% believe it�s getting worse
  • Although respondents are much more split when considering the health of the state economy, the largest portion (34.4%) of these respondents feel that it is generally okay and a majority (59.9%) believe the situation is about the same when compared to last year
  • Similar to state economic perceptions, 41.3% of respondents feel that their personal finances are generally okay and 37.3% are healthy
  • Approximately a third of respondents said that they are neither more or less concerned about their job, home�s value or personal economic situations, but rather feel about the same

America�s Direction---

Respondents were asked if they feel that America is headed in the right direction and could answer either yes or no.

  • Men are almost twice as confident in this country�s direction as women
  • Twice as many married respondents (33.3%) as single respondents (16.4%) believe America is headed in the right direction as well
  • The greatest confidence in America�s direction was voiced by those with the least education or the greatest incomes
  • Republicans were confident in America�s direction (46.7% positive)

Nation v. Oklahoma---

  • Older respondents (specifically, those 45 years of age and older) feel the health of the nation is getting worse
  • Democrats expressed the greatest concern about national depression (44.4% believing the nation is very depressed) and 77.1% of these Democrats feel the situation is worsening
  • Democrats are slightly less concerned with the Oklahoma economy than Republicans or Independents, although a majority of Democrats feel it is generally okay and 62.3% feel circumstances are the same as they were a year ago
  • Fears of national depression were greatest among liberals (79.8% of those claiming to be very liberal believe the nation is becoming more depressed)
  • 36.6% of those claiming to be very liberal believe, similarly, that Oklahoma�s economy is worsening
  • 58% of those within the lowest educational bracket (less than a high school diploma) believe the nation is becoming more depressed
  • Fears of an Oklahoma depression strengthen as a person�s education decreases, so those who are less educated fear for the worse
  • Sixty per cent of the least educated believe the Oklahoma economy is getting worse
  • Lower level income respondents feel that the national economy is worsening as do highly educated respondents
  • 63.9% of the �established� residents (those who have lived at their current residence for more than 5 years and are established in their community/neighborhood) believe the national economy is worsening
  • Rural residents were six times more likely to think that Oklahoma is feeling the symptoms of economic depression and 57.6% of these respondents feel the situation is worsening

Personal Finances---

  • Females were more concerned about the stability of their job with 32.1% of these respondents expressing more concern when compared to last year; 19.6% of males express similar concern
  • The more educated a respondent the more likely he/she is to say his/her personal finances are healthy
  • Respondents declaring high income levels are less concerned about their career/earnings
  • Black/African Americans (51%) and Hispanics (44.8%) were more concerned about their job situation and their personal finances (76.5% for Black/African Americans and 52.8% for Hispanics) than they were a year ago
  • Urban respondents also were more concerned than suburban or rural respondents about their job situation (31.7%), home�s value (41.4%) and personal finances (53.4%) when compared to last year
  • Concern for a respondent�s home�s value is greatest among �non-established� residents (those who have not resided in their current home for long), likely due to paying high and low equity
Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.