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Trump solidifies lead in Oklahoma, poll shows

Via NewsOK Graphics
Via NewsOK Graphics

Just two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump's lead continues to solidify in Oklahoma, a new poll shows.

Despite crumbling support from party leaders, the release of a recording in which Trump can be heard making lewd comments and several women coming forward with accusations of sexual misconduct, the Republican presidential nominee maintains a 30-point lead in Oklahoma over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump's margin has widened in Oklahoma since mid-September, even as Clinton's lead has expanded in national polls.

His strong showing among Oklahoma voters continues in spite of weeks of bad news for the campaign, including the release of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" recording in which Trump can be heard bragging about groping women without their consent. Following the recording's release, 10 women publicly accused Trump of unwanted sexual contact.

Trump has apologized for his comments on the recording, dismissing it as "locker room talk." He has denied the subsequent allegations of unwanted sexual contact.

The reason for that strong support isn't difficult to understand, said Keith Gaddie, chairman of the political science department at the University of Oklahoma: nearly any Republican presidential candidate can count on strong support in blood-red Oklahoma.

“It's baked in," Gaddie said. "There's no reason to expect any of these events would move anything.”

The poll of 530 Oklahoma likely voters was conducted between Oct. 18-20 by SoonerPoll, an Oklahoma City-based polling firm. The poll was weighted by age, congressional district and political party, and stratified to represent the Oklahoma likely voter population. It carries a margin of error of 4.26 percent.

According to the poll, 59.6 percent of Oklahoma likely voters support Trump, while 29.6 percent plan to vote for Clinton and 4.5 percent plan to support Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Another 6.3 percent remained undecided.

Trump's support in Oklahoma appears virtually unaffected by the "Access Hollywood" recording or subsequent sexual misconduct allegations. In a poll released Oct. 8 and conducted just days before the recording was released, Trump held a 29.1-point lead over Clinton, carrying 58.6 percent of Oklahoma's likely voters to Clinton's 29.5 percent.

The real estate mogul's lead in Oklahoma has widened markedly over the past month. In a poll released Sept. 15, Trump held a 15.3-point lead over Clinton, with 50.9 percent of the vote to Clinton's 35.6 percent.

Self-described Evangelical Christians and those who told pollsters they attend religious services several times per week represented one of Trump's strongest areas of support. Nearly 73 percent of Evangelicals and 77.4 percent of those who said they attend services more than once per week told pollsters they planned to vote for Trump.

It shouldn't necessarily be a surprise that Evangelicals are willing to support Trump despite his personal foibles, Gaddie said. Evangelical Christianity is less about piety than it is about seeking forgiveness for personal failings, Gaddie said.

In a race such as this one, where Evangelical voters find both candidates to be morally defective, they may be inclined to line up behind whichever candidate most matches their views from a policy standpoint, Gaddie said.

But there could be another reason Evangelical voters continue to support Trump, said pollster Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll. Self-described Evangelical voters are beginning to place greater emphasis on fiscal issues like taxes and government spending than social issues such as abortion.

According to the poll, roughly half of Evangelical voters said they were most concerned with fiscal issues, while just 23.3 percent said they were most concerned with social issues.

The fact that those voters are most concerned with fiscal issues could explain their continued support for Trump, Shapard said.

Among other findings, the poll suggests that Trump's support in Oklahoma is strongest among voters age 35 and older. Trump and Clinton were tied among voters age 18 to 24. Among voters age 25 to 34, roughly half said they planned to support Clinton, while Trump held just 34.1 percent.

Trump held either a plurality or outright majority in every age category 35 and older, but his strongest support came from voters age 45 to 54. Among those voters, 70.2 percent said they planned to vote for Trump, while just 17.6 percent said they would support Clinton.

Trump held a majority of voters across all income levels, but his support was strongest among those households with incomes of $125,000 a year or more. About 68 percent of voters in that category told pollsters they planned to vote for Trump.

Among voters who told pollsters they thought Oklahoma was headed in the right direction, 80.5 percent said they planned to vote for Trump, while just 12.3 percent supported Clinton.

Clinton led among voters who said they thought Oklahoma was headed in the wrong direction, with 47 percent to Trump's 42.6 percent.

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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 ›