State Superintendent Candidates React To News 9 Poll

Thursday, September 4th 2014, 9:22 pm
By: News 9

Republican Joy Hofmeister and Democrat John Cox are in a dead heat in the state superintendent race. 

A News 9/News On 6 poll indicates 40.5 percent of likely voters prefer Cox, while 38.4 percent favor Hofmeister.

The tie in the first statewide voter poll means more for Cox since he is neck-and-neck with the Republican candidate in a Republican state.

“If we are at a dead heat right now, it just means that I have to work harder and so it encourages me to know that our hard work has paid off, but we have more work to do,” Cox said.

Hofmeister said she was not bothered by it.

“I'm not surprised," said Hofmeister. "We knew this would be a very competitive race, and it was going to be a difficult race to begin with. I was challenging a member of my own party.”

The poll also revealed 21 percent of voters are undecided and part of the choice comes down to understanding the differences between the candidates, like experience.

Hofmeister's experience is at the state level. She is a former public school teacher and was appointed to the State Board of Education in 2012.

“I did not see John when I was standing toe-to-toe with Janet Barresi through all that board experience. Where was he,” she asked. “I did work with the legislature, with school leaders,” Hofmeister added.

Cox 's experience is at the local level. He is in his 21st year as a school superintendent in eastern Oklahoma and was a teacher before that.

“We're working hard to eliminate the high stakes testing and really get back to using that data as something to improve instruction instead of punishing our schools,” Cox told News 9.

The poll revealed Governor Mary Fallin has a 41 percent disapproval rating for her handling of education issues, which may be dragging down her fellow republican's numbers.

“The reason, also, I think the school superintendent race is competitive is because of the top of the ticket," said Bill Shapard, CEO. "Mary Fallin is not doing as well.” 

Both candidates are very busy on the campaign trail.

This is a statewide race, which makes it more difficult to get out and meet all the voters.

However, they said they are determined to win over those undecided voters.

About the poll: SoonerPoll conducted the surveys by telephone on August 28-30, 2014 of 603 likely voters registered to vote statewide in Oklahoma. The margin of error is + or – 3.99 percent. The results were weighted by age and sex, stratified to Oklahoma likely voter demographics.