September 23, 2016

Trump Looks Poised to Win Oklahoma Despite Signs of Ambivalence

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Recent polling and fundraising numbers seem to confirm that Donald Trump will likely win Oklahoma’s seven electoral votes this November.

Trump has now outraised Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the state for the third consecutive month. And a statewide poll out this month shows Trump leading Clinton by 15 percentage points.

But the data also shows Trump will be hard-pressed to win Oklahoma by as wide a margin as the past several GOP presidential candidates did. That could indicate a lack of enthusiasm for Trump among many conservative Oklahomans.

The last three Republican presidential nominees – Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush – each won Oklahoma with just under two-thirds of the state’s popular vote.


A statewide survey of likely voters released last week by Oklahoma City-based SoonerPoll shows Trump ahead with 50.9 percent of respondents, Clinton withj 35.6 percent and Libertarian Gary Johnson with 6 percent. Only 7.5 percent of voters said they were undecided.

By comparison, a SoonerPoll survey taken around the same time in 2012 gave Mitt Romney 58 percent of the vote, with 12 percent undecided. Romney went on to top Barack Obama in Oklahoma with 66.8 percent of the vote.

Bill Shapard, founder of the polling group, said his data from the recent poll points to a split among self-identified Republicans.

It found that half of the Republicans polled reported they are more enthusiastic about voting than they were in the 2012 election. But 34.1 percent said they were less enthusiastic — significantly higher than the 22.5 percent of Republicans who answered similarly in 2012.

“So what that tells me is there is still that contingent of conservative Republicans who just can’t bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump,” Shapard said.

Meanwhile, fundraising records indicate that Trump is not as likely to gain as much financial support from Oklahomans as past GOP candidates did.

Trump’s campaign raised about $225,125 from individuals in the state in August, or $82,800 more than Clinton took in, according to Federal Election Commission filings released this week.

That pushes Trump’s fundraising total in the state to $770,130 this election cycle. But that pales in comparison to the $4.6 million Mitt Romney raised by the same point in 2012 or the $1.9 million that McCain raised in 2008.

Trump’s fundraising gap can be attributed partly to his late rise as the Republican favorite, which allowed Clinton to outraise him in Oklahoma each month until June.

All of this raises a question of whether lukewarm support for Trump from many Republican voters will mean they might cast their ballot for another candidate, vote for down-ticket races and skip the presidential vote, or just stay home.

Shapard said his data doesn’t indicate low turnout for the Nov. 8 election. He said he is confident Trump will easily carry Oklahoma, and the victory might be as large as other Republican candidates have enjoyed.

“There might be an impact where if Trump doesn’t win by 61 percent, he wins by 51 percent or 54 or something,” he said. “But there just doesn’t look like a path to victory for Hillary Clinton to be able to make up 15 points.”