February 9, 2019
Bill Shapard

Oklahomans see nurse practitioners as strong option to address potential primary care physician shortage

It's been suggested that Oklahoma could be facing a primary care physician shortage, particularly in rural areas. One possible solution currently being utilized in other states is the use of nurse practitioners (NPs) as a patient's primary care provider as more and more graduating doctors specialize in more advanced areas of medicine.

Over 80 percent of likely voting Oklahomans support this solution, according to the most recent SoonerPoll Quarterly.

[box][QUESTION] Healthcare experts estimate that by 2025, there will not be enough primary care providers to handle the increasing number of patients who are seeking routine healthcare services, especially in rural Oklahoma. Twenty-three (23) states have passed a proposal that would allow nurse practitioners—registered nurses with advanced training who often visit older people in their homes—to serve as the primary or acute care providers of record for a patient. Knowing this, do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE allowing nurse practitioners serving as primary care providers?

1. Strongly support40.9%2. Somewhat support39.3COMBINED SUPPORT80.23. No opinion/Don't know/Refused [DNR]8.84. Somewhat oppose6.35. Strongly oppose4.7COMBINED OPPOSE11.0


The idea has broad-based support throughout the poll results.

Among Republicans, 82.4 percent support NPs acting as primary care providers, as do 78.6 percent of Democrats. Seventy-four percent of Independents supported it as well.

Support was also strong all along the ideological spectrum with 76.8 percent of liberals in support, 83.3 percent of Independents and 81.1 percent of conservatives.

Strong support was also observed among voters with all levels of education, age, and income.

Eighty percent of men supported the measure and 79.1 percent of women.

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 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

The scientific study was conducted from December 17-28, 2018 with 400 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus SoonerPoll's proprietary online panel. 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 ± 4.9 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.