February 3, 2017
Bill Shapard

Oklahomans oppose universities barring opposing views, speech from its campus

Oklahoman likely voters do not like the idea of barring free speech from Oklahoma's college campuses, regardless of the views expressed, according to the most recent SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

Fifty-five percent of Oklahomans opposed public colleges prohibiting free speech even if the views expressed disagreed with those of the college's leadership or student body.
Only 25 percent supported it and another 20 percent did not have an opinion.

Just yesterday, left-wing rioters took to the campus of the University of California at Berkley in order to disrupt a conservative guest speaker scheduled to speak with whose views they disagree.

Opposition to free speech, particularly conservative opinions, has been building for some time on college campuses nationwide," said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll. "The poll results show Oklahomans want the free expression of both liberal and conservatives views and oppose the stifling by the college's leadership or student body of either one."

[box][QUESTION] Do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE public colleges or universities, such as OU or OSU, from BARRING speeches or guest lectures on their campuses because they engage in speech or opinions with which the institution's leadership or student body disagrees?

1. Strongly support13.12. Somewhat support11.7COMBINED SUPPORT24.83. Don't know/Refused [DNR]20.14. Somewhat oppose25.85. Strongly oppose29.2COMBINED OPPOSE55.0


Opposition to barring free speech on college campuses was high for Republicans at 61 percent, yet only a plurality of Democrats at 45.8 percent. One in four Democrats did not have an opinion and 29.8 percent supported barring opposing views being expressed on campuses.

Opposition was strongest among Independents with 68.1 percent.

A majority of opposition was seen among conservatives, moderates and liberals, at 56.2 percent, 51.3 percent, and 58 percent respectively.

Among age group subsets, a majority of was opposed to barring free speech on campuses, except for those, interestingly, of college age and slightly older from 25 to 44, where only a plurality 42 to 48 percent opposed barring free speech.

Men were more likely to oppose barring free speech on campus with 62.6 percent, whereas only a plurality, 47.2 percent, of women were opposed.

About the Poll, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from December 19-21, 2016 with 440 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, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general 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 ± 4.60 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 a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.