Why Do Oklahomans Support Romney Or Obama?


Governor Mitt Romney may be at 58% in the latest SoonerPoll, but that doesn’t mean all of those likely voting Oklahomans are voting for him because they favor his policies, positions or plan for the future.  The same could also be said of President Barack Obama and his 33% share of the vote.

In a survey of 305 likely voters in Oklahoma, roughly a third of Romney voters are voting “for” Romney’s candidacy.  Just about a third are voting for Romney because they are “against” Obama’s candidacy, and the remaining third are split equally between the two.

Obama’s vote motivations were very different than Romney’s.  Half of Obama voters indicated their vote was in support of Obama’s policies, positions or plan for the future, 18% based their decision on being against Romney’s, and just about a third were equally split between the two.

In all, the results show Obama voters, overall, are much more committed to voting “for” Obama rather than “against” Romney.  However, Romney gains from the more polarizing figure that Obama has become among Oklahoma voters, including Democrats.

“The power to vote against a particular candidate has shown to be more powerful that voting for a particular candidate in certain elections,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.  “We see this in enthusiasm levels, momentum, and turnout.”

Romney’s Republican voters slightly favor voting “for” Romney at 37%, and about a third, 35%, were equally split in their decision, but one in four, 25%, Republicans based their decision on Romney because they are more against Obama’s candidacy.

In contrast, Obama’s Democratic voters were much more motivated to vote for Obama in their vote decision.  Just over half, 53%, were voting for Obama, just about a third, 31%, were equally split, and only 16% were voting for Obama because they were against Romney’s candidacy.

“President Obama’s voters in Oklahoma are much in favor of him than Governor Romney’s voters are of him,” Shapard said.

But the strongest weakness for Obama is among those within his own party.

More than half, 52%, of Democrats who were voting for Romney this November were doing so because they were against Obama, while only 30% were voting for Romney.  Only 18% were equally split, which is the lowest percentage among Republicans, Democrats or Independents voting for either candidate.

Interestingly, Independents voting for Romney were mostly likely to rate their vote decision as equally split between both.

“It’s not Republicans that are making Oklahoma one of the reddest states in the union, it’s Democrats,” said Shapard.  “President Obama has been a very polarizing figure in Oklahoma and has driven a wedge between Democrats in the state.  One to the right and one to the left.”

Shapard went on to note that Oklahoma’s party registration still favors Democrats and that the party use to be a “big tent” party of liberals, moderates and conservatives.  “President Obama is certainly not helping keep it that way,” Shapard said.

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