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Amber Integrated poll shows Democratic lead in state superintendent race

A new poll released Tuesday shows a Democrat ahead of her Republican challenger in the race for State Superintendent.

Democrat Jena Nelson has a narrow lead on Republican Ryan Walters, per the poll from Amber Integrated commissioned by OKC television station KOCO 5.

Pollsters asked 500 likely voters their preference for state superintendent, 49 percent picked Nelson, and 44 percent picked Walters.

That’s similar to another poll by Sooner Poll released earlier this month showing Nelson with a five-point lead.

Nelson is the strong preference of voters in Oklahoma City and Tulsa — two places that helped propel Walters to his victory in the GOP primary runoff against April Grace.

Walters – Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointed Secretary of Education – has made himself a champion of conservative causes like enforcing Oklahoma’s so-called critical race theory ban House Bill 1775 and barring transgender students from using the restroom corresponding with their gender identity.

He’s heavily preferred by GOP voters – capturing 71% of them – but Nelson is preferred by 22% of polled Republicans, while Walters gets much less support from Democrats and Independents.

The two candidates are closely tied to the gubernatorial candidates in their parties, with Walters getting endorsed by Stitt and Nelson frequently making campaign appearances with Democrat Joy Hofmeister.

Pollsters also asked voters about their preference for lieutenant governor. Incumbent Matt Pinnell has a comfortable 15-point lead in his bid for re-election on Democratic challenger Melinda Alizadeh-Fard, who 34% of voters prefer, and Libertarian Chris Powell, who is preferred by 5%.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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