October 24, 2016
Bill Shapard

Support for Right to Farm's SQ777 deteriorates

Since SoonerPoll has been polling state questions since July, none has had such a dramatic shift than SQ 777.

In July, support for the state question was only polling at 53.2 percent. At the time, some reports on the internal polling of the campaigns put the support level much higher. In early October, the next SoonerPoll had the level of support at just 49.3 percent.

To date, SoonerPoll has been the only independent, non-partisan pollster who has publicly released polling data on SQ 777.

[QUESTION] State Question 777, known as Right to Farm, would amend the state constitution to say the legislature "shall pass no law which abridges the rights of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma who employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest." Do you: [PROBE STRONGLY/SOMEWHAT]

1. Strongly support 24.8%
2. Somewhat support 12.2
3. Don't know/undecided [DNR] 13.9
4. Somewhat oppose 15.2
5. Strongly oppose 33.8

Now, the latest SoonerPoll puts support for SQ 777 well below water with only 37 percent.

It should be noted that the state question also has one of the highest percentages of those undecided at 14 percent. The other is SQ 790 which is the most confusing state question to voters and has had nearly nothing spent in support or opposition of it.

Still, state question polling is not as stable as candidate polling where voters can change their minds on state questions literally overnight.  Endorsements and campaign spending have a much greater impact on the minds of voters with regard to state questions -- much more so than on voters' views of candidates.

This poll, like all others, are a measurement of opinion in one point in time and a variety of influences can affect voters' final decision on election day.  These pre-election polls only serve to provide insight into how voters of varied demographical profiles view the state question.

Key take-aways from the latest poll:

  • Greatest support comes from Republicans with 43.8 percent, while the greatest level of opposition comes from Democrats with 58.4 percent.  A near majority of Independents oppose it with 48.3 percent.
  • Compared to the last poll, Republican opposition increased from 31.9 percent to 42 percent, while Democrat support fell from 39.2 percent to 27.2 percent.
  • Conservatives had the greatest impact on the drop. In early October, 57.1 percent supported the state question, with 40.5 percent of that support as "strongly support." Now, just 40.9 percent of conservatives support it overall, and strong support fell to just 28.9 percent.
  • While just a plurality of 43.8 percent of conservatives now oppose 777, they are also those most undecided at 15.3 percent compared to just 8.2 percent of liberals.
  • Trump supporters are nearly split on the state question, with 46 percent supporting it and 40.7 percent opposing.
  • Voters 65 and older, who make up the largest age subset of likely voters on election day, now oppose 777 with 54.9 percent, whereas 51.7 percent supported the measure in our early October poll.
  • The predominately urban congressional districts of Tulsa and Oklahoma City saw big changes as well.  In early October, 777 was polling with only 39.7 and 42.3 percent of opposition in Tulsa and Oklahoma City respectively.  Now, 49.3 percent in Tulsa oppose it and 53.3 percent in Oklahoma City.

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

The scientific study was conducted from October 18-20, 2016 with 530 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 ±4.26 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 major campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.