State Superintendent Janet Barresi is in a close race with fellow Republican challengers Joy Hofmeister and Brian Kelly, according to a News 9/News On 6 poll.
A survey of 580 likely Republican voters indicates 16.4 percent favor Barresi, 17.1 percent support Hofmeister and 14.3 percent favor Kelly. A little more than half of the respondents, 52.1 percent, say they're "unsure."
FULL REPUBLICAN POLL RESULTS
Barresi faces a tough re-election as head of the State Department of Education. If she defeats her Republican challengers, she faces a Democrat challenger in the Nov. 4 general election.
"As an incumbent, [Barresi] needs to be at least in the low 40s to low 50s to be competitive," said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.
"She suffers from name recognition and also because people may be upset with her," he said.
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This year, Barresi's name will appear differently than it did the ballot four years ago. Voters will find Barresi included her maiden name, Costello, on the ballot. Shapard explained that could be confusing to some voters.
A representative from Barresi's campaign said her maiden name was added as a "sentimental gesture to honor her father." Barresi thought she had also included her maiden name in 2010, the representative said.
Four Democrats are competing in their primary. A separate survey of likely Democrat voters shows 14 percent support Freda Deskin, 10.6 favor John Cox, 8.3 percent like Ivan Holmes and 3.5 percent support Jack Herron, Jr. Nearly two-thirds of voters, 63.5 percent, are still undecided.
FULL DEMOCRAT POLL RESULTS
The large number of undecided voters could indicate a low level of interest in the superintendent's race, Shapard said.
"Even though it's a statewide race, people don't pay a lot of attention to these races and there is not a lot of money spent," he said.
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SoonerPoll conducted the surveys between May 5 and May 10. Respondents were selected at random using landlines and cell phones. Results were weighted by gender, age, cell phone/landline collection and Congressional district, then stratified using a model of previous primary elections. The Republican primary poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.07 percentage points. The Democrat primary poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.90 percentage points.