April 30, 2009
Bill Shapard

Oklahomans Remain Skeptical After Obama�s First 100 Days

Obama�s Performance So Far

After testing specific areas of performance of the President�s first 100 days in office, SoonerPoll compared Oklahoma�s likely voter�s perceptions to those of the nation through a poll conducted by Hart and McInturff (February 26 � March 1, 2009) for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal of 1,007 adults across the nation with a margin of error of 3.1%. conducted the scientific study �via telephone of 318 likely voters in Oklahoma chosen at random April 23-26, 2009.� The study has a margin of error of � 5.5%.

The Oklahoma electorate is more clearly divided than the rest of the nation on the overall performance of President Obama in office, both in general terms and on specific policy dimensions. Oklahomans are somewhat more skeptical of Obama, giving him an approval rating (46.5%) 21 points lower than the nation.

Oklahomans also portray similar, but less, skepticism with how he�s handled the economy (47.2% approve) when compared to the national approval by nine points, but the disapproval number in Oklahoma (48.1%) is 17 points higher than in the rest of the nation.

Oklahomans are clearly decided one way or the other. Obama�s Oklahoman approval rating is 15 points higher than the percentage who cast their vote for him last November. The exact same spread exists with national comparisons as well. This suggests that voters do not feel 100 days is quite enough to assess his performance but are willing to give him the opportunity to earn their approval. Oklahomans are skeptical compared to other Americans in their assessment of the likelihood of success by the new Administration on several specific policy imperatives:

  • Oklahomans were 18 points behind the rest of the nation (48% to 66% in thinking that Obama will get the economy back on track;
  • Were 21 points behind the rest of the nation (60% to 81%) in thinking troops will be pulled out of Iraq;
  • Half as likely as national voters (18% to 33%) to think his Administration will cut the budget deficit in half;
  • Far less likely (29% to 47%) to reduce the influence of lobbyists;
  • Were almost 20 points less likely (34% to 54%) to think he could reduce dependency on foreign oil;
  • Were 27 points less likely (54% to 81%) to think Obama will improve America�s image around the world;
  • Were 26 points less likely (52% to 78%) to think Obama will improve health care coverage to uninsured Americans;
  • Were 23 points less likely (42% to 65%) to think Obama will reduce taxes for middle class Americans

�What is going on in Oklahoma is in fact a reflection of what is going on in the rest of the nation,� said SoonerPoll�s Keith Gaddie. �Obama is winning broad-based approval from Democrats, Independents, liberals, and moderates on nearly every issue, while conservatives are generally skeptical and the strong conservatives are the most pessimistic. Where Obama loses moderates is on two major issues from his campaign -- reducing lobbyist influence and increasing energy independence.�
�Oklahoma voters are extending to the new president the benefit of the doubt on most issues, but the generally more conservative electorate will not extend the kind of approval seen in the nation writ large.�

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.