March 19, 2018
Bill Shapard

Majority of Oklahomans believe the governor and lieutenant governor should run as a team on the ballot

This election year, Oklahoma has candidates running for governor and lieutenant governor, but whoever is elected to both offices at the end of year will probably work very little together in leading our state if history has any insight into the future.

For most of Oklahoma's history, and regardless of whether the governor and lieutenant governor were of the same political party or not, few have worked together as a leadership team once elected. The governor takes the leadership role and the lieutenant governor is left out of pretty much everything.

At a campaign event in Payne County this past January, Lt. Governor Todd Lamb referred to himself as a powerless spectator saying, "Trust me, I know. I have no stick. I have no carrot. I've never been in the budget negotiations," when referring to legislative efforts to fix the state's budget deficit.

According to the most recent SoonerPoll, Oklahoma's likely voters would like that to change. Fifty-eight percent of likely voters support the idea of the governor and lieutenant governor running together on the ballot rather than running separately.

[QUESTION] Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE making candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run together on the ballot like president and vice president rather than running separately?

1. Strongly support 36.7%
2. Somewhat support 21.4
3. No opinion/Don't know/Refused [DNR] 17.5
4. Somewhat oppose 13.0
5. Strongly oppose 11.4

Broad-based support for the measure span all voters of the ideological spectrum, from liberal to conservative, and both political parties and Independents. Support was also high regardless of the poll participants' age, race, or household income.

"Partnering the Governor and Lieutenant Governor is a common-sense move that will ensure we have a leadership team with a unified vision," said Cordon DeKock, Vice President for Political Affairs at the State Chamber of Oklahoma, and a supporter of the legislation. "Aligning these positions will allow our officials to coordinate to provide more robust oversight of executive agencies and to accomplish other goals for the state."

Currently, the state legislature is considering SJR 66, which would create a governor/lieutenant governor ticket where both candidates would appear on the ballot as one and leaves the selection process for how or when to select a running mate up to state statues.

If it passes, the measure would still need a vote of the people to change the state constitution and go into effect.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll, and were commissioned by the State Chamber of Oklahoma.

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.