NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Clinton gains some ground on Trump in Oklahoma, poll shows

Donald Trump's lead in Oklahoma's presidential contest appears to be shrinking.

Although the Republican nominee still holds a substantial lead in the race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be making up ground in the Sooner State, according to a poll conducted this week.

The poll shows 50.9 percent of respondents said they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, down from 53 percent in a poll conducted in late July.

In last week's poll, 35.6 percent said they would support Clinton, up from 28.6 percent in July.

Another 6 percent saying they would vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, down from 7 percent in July. About 7.5 percent said they were undecided, down from 11.4 percent in July

Although Clinton still trails Trump by about 15 points, the poll suggests the state's Democratic voters are beginning to coalesce around their party's nominee, said Bill Shapard, founder of the Oklahoma City-based polling firm SoonerPoll.

"The Democrats are kind of coming home," Shapard said.

The poll of 515 Oklahoma likely voters was conducted between September 13-15. It carries a margin of error of 4.32 percent. The poll's results were stratified to represent the state's likely voter population.

Although Trump led among both male and female voters, his lead was strongest among men: 58.5 percent of male respondents told pollsters they planned to vote for Trump, while just 27.5 percent of men said they planned to vote for Clinton.

Among women, Trump led by just 1.6 percentage points, carrying 44.3 percent of female voters to Clinton's 42.7 percent.

Favorability improves

A growing percentage of Oklahoma voters hold a favorable view of Clinton, the poll suggests.

Nearly 35 percent of those polled last week said they had a somewhat or very favorable view of Clinton, a sharp increase from the 26.6 percent who said they viewed Clinton favorably in July's poll.

The polling took place just days after Clinton's health became an issue in the campaign after cameras caught her appearing woozy as she left a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in New York. Clinton's campaign announced the following day that she was suffering from pneumonia.

Trump's favorability rating remains higher than Clinton's, and also increased somewhat: 48.6 percent of respondents told pollsters they held a somewhat or very favorable view of Trump last week, compared with 47.3 percent in July's poll.

The fact that the percentage of undecided voters shrank over the past two months, despite relatively low favorability ratings for both candidates, could indicate that voters in both parties are beginning to coalesce behind their parties' candidates, despite their own misgivings.

“They're just going to have to hold their nose and say they like them,” Shapard said. “ ... Both sides seem to be completely overlooking the blemishes of their candidates.”

If Trump's 51 percent lead carries through to Election Day, it would be the weakest showing in Oklahoma by a Republican presidential candidate in decades.

Trump's challenges

The last time a Republican candidate garnered less than 60 percent of the vote in Oklahoma was in 1996, when Kansas Sen. Bob Dole won the state with 48.3 percent of the vote, besting incumbent President Bill Clinton's 40.4 percent.

During that election, a sizable percentage of the state's conservative vote went to third-party candidate Ross Perot.

Jeanette Mendez, chairwoman of the political science department at Oklahoma State University, said Trump's lackluster support in Oklahoma could reflect the fact that the real estate mogul doesn't resonate well with the state's evangelical Christian voters.

Mendez noted that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a darling of the evangelical movement, beat Trump in the state's primary. Some conservative voters who supported Cruz in the primary may now find it difficult to shift their allegiances to Trump, she said.

“All of the things that Oklahoma voters saw in Ted Cruz, they don't see at all in Trump,” she said.

Still, Mendez said, there's little indication that Clinton stands a chance of winning Oklahoma.

“I just don't think he's in jeopardy in any sort of way,” she said.

Related Photos
<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure>
Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›