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Gubernatorial Run-off Too Close to Call in Oklahoma
Tuesday, July 31, 2018 7:00 AM

Oklahoma Republicans Are Neck and Neck in Race for Governor

Leading up to Oklahoma’s Aug. 28 run-off, recent polling shows the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination couldn’t get much tighter than this.

Both former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt received exactly 181 votes, or 37.5 percent, according to a run-off survey conducted by SoonerPoll.com. The entire sample for the poll was 483 Republicans.

Interestingly, Stitt trailed Cornett in the Tulsa area by just over 7 points, 41.4 to 34.1 percent. Cornett, along with outside groups supporting his campaign, have spent a considerable amount of time and money in Tulsa, and the effort seems to be paying off.

As one might expect, Cornett had his greatest lead in the Oklahoma City area, leading by just over 10 points—45.5 to 35.2 percent.

But Stitt led in the vote-rich rural parts of the state by 11 points, 41.1 to 30.1 percent. Former Oklahoma City mayors, when running for higher office, rarely have performed well in rural areas, although it should be noted that Cornett’s results in the primary in the rural areas surrounding Oklahoma City showed great promise.

Cornett, who has supported tax extensions during his time as Oklahoma City mayor, led in the poll among moderate Republicans by nearly 23 points, 52.3 to 30.6 percent. Moderates, however, only make up about 15 percent of the Republican electorate in run-off elections.

Stitt, on the other hand, led Cornett among the coveted conservative Republicans by 5.4 points, 39.5 to 34.1 percent. Conservative Republicans make up a 79 percent of the Republican electorate.

Cornett led among voters over the age of 65, who make up 37 percent of Republican electorate, by nearly 12 points on Election Day. But Stitt led among those 55–64 in age by 8.5 points, and they make up 25 percent of the electorate.

Stitt also led among high church goers and evangelical voters, which correlates with his performance among the most conservative voters.

Former attorney general Drew Edmondson has already secured the Democrat nomination. Libertarians Chris Powell and Rex Lawhorn also face a run-off.

The survey was conducted July 18–20, 2018, with 483 likely Republican voters selected at random statewide. The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±4.46 percent.