Statewide
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June 30, 2010
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Wesley Burt

Oklahomans weigh in on Miss Oklahoma controversy

The latest SoonerPoll found that a majority of Oklahomans believe that Miss Oklahoma lost the Miss USA pageant because of her controversial answer concerning immigration.

The Poll shows that 55.3 percent of Oklahomans believe she lost because of her views, while 27.6 percent remain neutral on the issue.

SoonerPoll also asked whether they thought Miss USA contestants should be asked questions regarding controversial political issues, and found that 56 percent of Oklahomans think they should not.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma's Public Opinion Pollster, commissioned and conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 503 likely voters from May 25 � June 8, 2010. The study has a margin of error of � 4.4 percent.

The controversy began when when Miss Oklahoma, Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, placed first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant after responding to a question addressing Arizona�s controversial immigration law.

Woolard was asked if the Arizona law, which requires police to verify a person's immigration status if there's "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the country illegally, should be mandated by the state or federal government.

Woolard replied, �I'm a huge believer in states' rights. I think that's what's so wonderful about America, so I think it's perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law."

Outcries that Woolard lost because of her answer have created debate about how these questions should be judged and whether such questions should even be part of the competition.

�When you are asked a question during a contest you should answer it honestly,� Oklahoma respondent Virgil George said. �The honesty of the answer is what you should be judged upon, not the answer itself.�

Respondent Maxine Koppe said that she doesn't think that qualified judges would make their decision based on political beliefs and thinks that the controversial questions have a place in the competition.

�They should be asked hard political questions but not personal questions,� Koppe said. �Since they are competing for a scholarship they should be expected to know about the issues, but they should not have to give their personal opinion.�

Respondent Mary Hall disagrees, �I don't think that the girls should be asked about controversial questions, it puts them on the spot, especially if they are from a conservative state like Oklahoma.�

Wesley Burt
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Wesley Burt