February 23, 2016
Madison Grady

Oklahomans overwhelmingly believe public colleges and universities could run more efficiently, chancellor is overpaid

In a year of a $1.3 billion state budget hole and looming cuts to state agencies, likely voting Oklahomans believe there are inefficiencies in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and that the state's chancellor who is paid $411,000 a year makes too much money.

According to the most recent quarterly poll conducted by SoonerPoll, an overwhelming 82 percent agreed that Oklahoma's public colleges and universities could be run more efficiently.  Only 5 percent disagreed and 12 percent didn't have an opinion.  Agreement was strong across the board, whether the respondent was Republican or Democrat, male or female, conservative or liberal, and regardless of age.

Eighty percent of Oklahomans also believe the salary for the State Chancellor for Higher Education is too high.  Just 2 percent believed it was too low.  Two weeks ago, OU President David Boren recommended pay cuts for himself and other top OU administrators, although no announcement has been made by the chancellor's office.

[QUESTION] In Oklahoma state government, the chancellor of higher education is paid more than $411,000 per year, which is more than the governor is paid. Do you think this amount is:

1. Too high 80.1%
2. Too low 2.5
3. About right 9.6
4. Don't know/refused [DNR] 7.8

Additional results found 79 percent of likely voters also agree that, in public colleges and universities in Oklahoma, professors should be paid based on how much they teach and not based on writing articles and other non-teaching activities.  Only ten percent disagreed with the statement, while 11 percent did not have an opinion.

"Oklahomans have watched as tuition, costs and salaries have all risen at public colleges and universities," said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll who conducted the poll, "and they believe higher education has to do more to lower costs and run more efficiently, particularly during these times of state budget deficits."

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 February 9-12, 2016 with 410 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by age, congressional district and gender in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.

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 and was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

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.

Photo by Michael Barrera

Madison Grady
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Madison Grady