For the G.O.P., Sooner Strength

Oklahoma looks as though it really is going Republican. Public Policy Polling has numbers on the governor's race that look good for the G....
by | May 20, 2009

Oklahoma looks as though it really is going Republican. Public Policy Polling has numbers on the governor's race that look good for the G.O.P:

Republicans will start out with an advantage in next year's contest for Governor in Oklahoma, our newest survey finds. Mary Fallin and J.C. Watts each start out with solid leads over likely Democratic contenders Jari Askins and Drew Edmondson.

Fallin is the most popular candidate of the quartet, with 51% of voters in the state viewing her favorably. That's followed by Watts at 46%, Edmondson at 43%, and Askins at 35%.

In head to head contests Fallin leads Edmondson 48-38 and Askins 50-34. Watts has a 47-39 edge over Edmondson and a 47-36 one over Askins.

(Hat tip: CQ Poll Tracker)

I'm probably the only person who is surprised by these results. Increasingly, Oklahoma is one of the most Republican states in the country in presidential elections and in federal elections generally. But, as recently as 2006 -- certainly not ancient history -- Democrats dominated in elections for the state's constitutional offices. That's why Askins and Edmondson are in office.

Studious Ballot Box readers might remember that I've been eagerly awaiting polling on the Oklahoma governor's race. The reason is that Oklahoma exemplifies a certain sort of state that is actually pretty common: States that clearly prefer one party in federal elections, but are perfectly happy to vote for the other major party in state elections.

It's early -- I still wouldn't be surprised if a Democrat wins the Oklahoma gubernatorial race next year -- but this poll is one more small piece of evidence that this sort of state could soon be an endangered species.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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