May 11, 2009
Bill Shapard

Is Obama Liberal?

Oklahomans describe Obama as moderate to liberal, yet half approve.

A recent SoonerPoll shows that most Oklahomans classify president Obama's political views as liberal, though approval ratings remain high.

In an effort to dig deeper into approval/disapproval ratings by Oklahoma�s likeliest voters for Obama, SoonerPoll asked, �Thinking now about President Obama, do you consider him to be liberal, moderate or conservative in his political beliefs?�

The results showed 67.3 percent of Oklahoma's likely voters believe President Obama�s political views are liberal. These results are usually accompanied by low approval ratings but the poll's other results show 44.5 percent of those who said they approve of the job Obama has performed as President so far described his views as liberal.

�That a plurality of Oklahomans, who are generally conservative, would give approval to such a liberal president is an indication of the potentially open and fluid situation in the state�s politics,� said Dr. Keith Gaddie, University of Oklahoma professor of Political Science and SoonerPoll Vice President.

The poll also revealed Oklahoma voters who consider themselves as very conservative in their political views are 28 percentage points more likely to describe Obama�s views as very liberal than those Oklahoma voters who consider themselves as somewhat conservative.

�What we see here is the role of position on perception,� said Gaddie. �The more conservative you are, the more liberal President Obama appears. The more liberal you profess to be, the more likely you are to see the President as a moderate.�

SoonerPoll�s public opinion polls use a scientific random sample to consistently test Oklahoma�s likeliest voters� political views and track them over time. The survey used in this analysis had a sample sizes of 318 Oklahoma residents (with a margin of error of � 5.5%). The study used in this release was conducted via telephone between April 23-26, 2009.

  • 67.3% of Oklahoma�s likely voters believe that President Obama�s political views are liberal (54.4% very liberal and 12.9% somewhat liberal), 23.3% moderate, 3.5% conservative and 6% refused to answer or didn�t know;
  • Oklahoma Republicans are 29.6 points more likely to describe Obama�s political views as liberal than Oklahoma Democrats (86.8% v. 57.2%);
  • Those respondents that reside within the Congressional District represented by Dan Boren (D) were least likely to describe Obama�s views as liberal compared to the other four Oklahoma districts (an average of 10.8 points less);
  • Married men were significantly more likely to describe Obama�s views as liberal than married women, single men or single women (an average of 23.5 points more likely);
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 a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.