US House
May 16, 2006
Bill Shapard

Likely voters cite price gouging as the top reason for high gas prices; no impact of third party involvement in races.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Even though Oklahoma is an energy-producing state, likely voters cite oil company price gouging as the top reason for high gas prices, according to a new poll released today., a public opinion research firm in Oklahoma City, conducted the telephone poll of 800 5th Congressional district likely Republican and Democratic voters May 1-4 for News9 (KWTV) in Oklahoma City. The margin of error was ±3.5%.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents felt that high gas prices were creating a hardship on their household, as gas prices in Oklahoma have steadily risen in recent months. Yet, when asked for their thoughts on why gas prices have gone up, respondents differed much more.

Oil company price gouging led with 39% of respondents, followed by global market factors (18%), and political instability in oil-producing countries (15%). Another 18% were nearly spilt over either the President's energy policies (9.4%) or Congress' energy policies (8.8%) as the reason for high gas prices.

"While the price of gas is really set by the futures market, I was amazed to find that a plurality of voters living in an oil-producing state cite oil company price gouging as the top reason," said Bill Shapard, SoonerPoll's CEO. "Political rhetoric is showing some influence on these numbers."

Democrat respondents were more likely to point to oil company price gouging (44%) as were Republicans (33%), yet both selected price gouging as their top reason for high gas prices.

Republican respondents were roughly twice as likely than Democrats to blame Congress than the President, while Democrats just the opposite.

SoonerPoll's exclusive poll for News9 included a look at likely voters' opinion on the involvement of third-party groups in the political process. Outside groups were very active in the 2004 U.S. Senate race in Oklahoma, and it has been suggested they may also be involved in the selection of a new U.S. Representative in the 5th congressional district.

Of poll respondents, 44.6% said they would listen to what outside interest groups have to say, but it would have no impact on their support for a candidate; another 19% would take into consideration what outside interest groups have to say about the candidates. 30% told our poll they did not like outside interest group involvement and would not vote a candidate being supported by one.

As for political endorsements, 34% of poll respondents would take into consideration what other political leaders or well-known individuals have to say with their endorsement of a particular candidate. Yet, 61% said political endorsements would have no impact on them when deciding their vote.

No meaningful differences were observed in the opinions between Republicans or Democrats with regard to outside interest group involvement or political endorsements.

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.