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Polling suggests unpredictable Oklahoma General Election

Oklahoma Watch

The 2022 General Election is Tuesday. And while most legislative races have already been determined, the statewide races still to be decided may present some surprises.


Capitol Insider sponsored by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, committed to connecting Oklahoma physicians with matters that are important to Oklahoma patients. More on vision and mission of OSMA @okmed.org.

Dick Pryor: This is Capitol Insider - taking you Inside Politics, policy, government and elections in Oklahoma. I'm Dick Pryor with Quorum Call publisher Shawn Ashley. Well, the general election is upon us. Absentee voting is underway, Shawn, and election day is Tuesday. This late in the campaign season, public opinion polls tell us different stories. What have you seen?

Shawn Ashley: Really, confusion. It's not as clear as you might expect. Five polls released within the past week show incumbent Governor Kevin Stitt leading by as many as 13 percentage points. But two show his challenger, superintendent of public instruction, Joy Hofmeister, leading by three points. And the fascinating thing about those polls is they were all taken at roughly the same time at the end of October.

Dick Pryor: This seems like it might be a year when polling assumptions and modeling regarding turnout and likely voters could be off.

Shawn Ashley: I think so. And one of the people involved in one of those polls suggested on Twitter that it all depends on how you decide who the likely voters are. I think another factor may be the assumptions about what the top issues are for Oklahoma voters. What's important elsewhere in the country may not be top of mind for Oklahoma voters. And perhaps even what's important in Oklahoma City and Tulsa may not be as important in Guymon, Altus or Ada.

Dick Pryor: That's interesting, especially when you consider the latest numbers on party registration in Oklahoma. Republicans are a clear majority. Democrats have slipped even more. Libertarians have increased at the highest rate, but there are still very few of them. And independents in Oklahoma are becoming a force.

Shawn Ashley: Yes. According to a report from the State Election Board, Republicans make up 51.19% of the state's registered voters. Democrats, who were the state's largest political party as recently as 2014, are the second largest group at 29.95%. The first time their numbers have fallen below 30%. Independents make up 18% of the state's registered voters, and Libertarians account for 0.86%. Now, when you dig into those numbers just a little, I think there are some interesting trends. In Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, for example, Republicans and Democrats saw their share of total registrants decline. Independent registrations increased nearly a full percentage point in each county, while Libertarians increased slightly in each.

Dick Pryor: Obviously, we're closely watching the races for governor, state superintendent and both U.S. Senate seats, but some statewide offices and most legislative seats have already been decided.

Shawn Ashley: That's right. Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready did not draw an opponent from within or outside his own party in April and won reelection when he was the only candidate to file for the office. State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Bird won reelection for a second term in June's primary after she was challenged by only one person, a member of her own party. Just 31 of the 101 House seats up for election this year made it to the November ballot and only seven of the 24 Senate seats. That's because either only one candidate filed for the office or only candidates from one party filed and the seats were settled in the primary elections.

Dick Pryor: And we should remind everyone, voting on Tuesday goes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. And for more information about polling places, rules and what's on your ballot, the State Election Board encourages voters to go to www.elections.ok.gov and click on the OK Voter Portal link. One other quick note, Shawn, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel released new figures Friday morning on gross receipts to the treasury, and the numbers are impressive.

Shawn Ashley: That's right. Twelve-month gross receipts through October were 17.24 billion. That's 2.5 billion, or 17.3%, more than the same period 12 months prior and more than 200 million over the record set for the 12-month period that ended in September. Treasurer Randy McDaniel pointed out while inflationary pressures are offsetting the purchase power of much of the growth, the trend lines from key revenue sources remain favorable.

Dick Pryor: Thanks, Shawn.

Shawn Ashley: You're very welcome.

Dick Pryor And that's Capitol Insider. If you have questions, email them to news@kgou.org or contact us on Twitter @kgounews and @QuorumCallShawn. Until next time, with Shawn Ashley, I'm Dick Pryor.

Dick Pryor has more than 25 years of experience in public service media, having previously served as deputy director, managing editor, news manager, news anchor and host for OETA, Oklahoma’s statewide public TV network. He was named general manager of KGOU Radio in November, 2016.
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