Governor
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September 13, 2018
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Bill Shapard

Tight race continues between Republican Kevin Stitt and Democrat Drew Edmondson for Oklahoma Governor

A tight general election race for governor continues according to the most recent SoonerPoll commissioned by News 9 and Newson6 in Tulsa.

CLICK HERE: for complete topline and crosstab report

Republican Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, a newcomer to politics, leads former Democrat Attorney General Drew Edmondson by just 2 points, the slimmest of margins of any statewide race in the poll. These results are within the poll's margin of error of 4.8 percent.

Chris Powell, the Libertarian candidate in the race had just 3.2 percent of the vote and, surprisingly, only six percent were undecided with more than five weeks before the election.

"Both candidates are very defined in the minds of voters," said Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll.com. "Stitt has benefited greatly from having appeared on the statewide Republican ballot twice this year, and Edmondson's name recognition is high due to his many years in public life and those of his relatives."

[box][QUESTION] If the November general election for governor was today and you were standing in the voting booth right now, for whom would you vote? [READ IN ROTATED ORDER]

1. Kevin Stitt, the Republican46.6%2. Drew Edmondson, the Democrat44.22. Chris Powell, the Libertarian3.23. Undecided/not sure [DNR]6.0

[/box]

This poll begins to paint a rather different picture than what has been seen in prior election years in Oklahoma when Republicans running for statewide office had to rely on a portion of the Democrats to win statewide office. Republicans leading in voter registration statewide has only occurred in the last decade, and in order for Republicans to win statewide office, they needed as much as 20 to 30 percent of Democrats, typically conservative Democrats, to win.

"This may be one of the most polarizing elections in Oklahoma history," said Shapard, "where Republicans are voting overwhelmingly for the Republican candidate and Democrats are voting overwhelmingly for the Democrat candidate."

Key evidence of this is the party crossover vote. The party crossover vote is calculated by taking the opposing party's support for a particular candidate and subtracting from it any loss of support among the candidate's own party to their opponent.

Edmondson has a plus one percent party crossover advantage in the poll, gaining 16 percent of Republicans and giving up only 15 percent of his own party. Contrast this with Republican Governor Fallin's win in 2010 when she was getting 31 percent of the Democrat vote and had a party crossover vote advantage of nearly 18 percent.

Edmondson also leads heavily among self-identified moderate voters, 69.3 percent to 20 percent for Stitt. Moderates are one-in-three voters on election day and the 49 percent margin was the largest of any of the statewide match-ups.

Stitt led with voters who believe Oklahoma is going in the right direction, 56.8 to 38.1 percent, while Edmondson led with those who believe Oklahoma is going in the wrong direction, 49.3 to 41.1 percent. Those that believe Oklahoma is going in the wrong direction were 55.7 percent of the poll's sample.

Poll results were mixed when looking at Stitt and Edmondson's support by age group, but Stitt led among those that attend church weekly or more, 52.3 to 39.2 percent. Stitt also led among self-identified evangelicals, 63 to 30.6 percent. Evangelicals and those that attend church weekly or more are 55 percent of the likely voter electorate.

Both Stitt and Edmondson were tied among men voters with 43 percent each, but women slightly favored Stitt by nearly four points, 48.9 to 45.2 percent.

Stitt also led among voters in the Tulsa area where he is from, 51.6 to 39.2 percent, and both candidates split among rural voters with 45 percent each. The Oklahoma City area, however, is shaping up to be the battleground in the race, where Edmondson is leading slightly by four points, 47.3 to 43.5 percent.

It should be noted that this poll was stratified by political party, with Republicans at 51 percent and Democrats at 41 percent of the poll sample. This is based on analysis of the electorate for the 2016 general election. It has been suggested that enthusiasm among Democrats has increased since then and more Democrats may return to the polls after an absence following the 2008 election. When these poll results are re-adjusted, assuming a greater Democrat turnout this November with an estimated three percent increase for example, Edmondson edges out Stitt 46 to 45 percent.

"These poll results and experimentation with turnout shows this race is anybody's game," Shapard said.

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the poll of Oklahoma likely voters, which was commissioned by News9 and Newson6.

The scientific study was conducted September 5-10, 2018 with 407 likely voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of SoonerPoll's own online panel, cell phones and landline telephones. For cell phone and landline telephones, voters are selected at random from SoonerPoll's voter database and matched with cell and landline phone numbers. Cell phone participants are collected using live interviewers and landline participants are collected using both live interviewer and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology. The sample was weighted by age, political party, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population.

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±4.86 percent.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com 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.