Nathan Elliott, News 9
Mayor Mick Cornett not only won re-election, but he also ensured a prominent place in Oklahoma City's history books.
Cornett became the first Oklahoma City mayor to be elected to a fourth term. When he finishes the four-year term, he'll become the longest serving mayor in Oklahoma City's 125 year history.
Unofficial election results showed two out of three Oklahoma City voters "picked Mick." Cornett's main challenger, Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid, received 33 percent of the vote. So how did Cornett win again? Cross-tabulations in a News 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll taken days before the election provide some thoughtful insight.
The News 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll showed nine percent of voters were undecided leading into Tuesday's election. Although they hadn't made up their mind about a candidate, they seemed to favor Cornett in many ways.
Our survey asked voters who they thought possessed the best leadership qualities? Who had the best plan for the city? Who was the most likable? Who was the most qualified? Undecided voters thought Cornett topped Shadid in three out of four categories: leadership, likability and qualifications. However, undecided voters preferred Shadid's plans for the city by a 2-to-1 ratio.
Undecided voters who told us they "closely followed" the mayor's race were more likely to vote for Shadid. Fourty-three percent of these voters favored Shadid, compared to 25 percent who favored Cornett.
Supporters of one candidate over another obviously like the candidate they vote for, however, the intensity of their support can be measured.
In our poll, voters who supported Cornett were much more convinced of his qualities. Shadid's support was less convinced. For instance, 99 percent of Cornett supporters thought their candidate had the best leadership skills, compared to 68 percent of Shadid supporters who thought their candidate had the best leadership skills.
Party Role & Union Endorsements
Even though municipal elections are non-partisan, our survey found party played a role in the mayor's race. We asked likely voters to which party they thought each candidate belonged. A majority of respondents thought Cornett was a Republican, which is correct. However, most thought Shadid was a Democrat. He's actually a registered Independent.
Cornett won over Democrats, Republicans and Independents, according to the data. Most of Shadid's support came from Democrats and Independents, although it was not enough.
Meanwhile, voters overwhelmingly said they are not influenced by endorsements from public employee associations or unions, according to the poll. Oklahoma City's police and fire unions endorsed Shadid for mayor.
What Did The Wards Say?
One out of five respondents in our poll said they lived in Shadid's Ward 2, but they supported his opponent. According to the survey, Cornett bested Shadid with 54 percent of the vote in Shadid's own ward. The only ward where Cornett didn't receive a majority of support was Ward 5, in southwest Oklahoma City. In that area, 43 percent said they supported Cornett and 39 percent supported Shadid, which was the highest of any ward for Shadid.
The majority of voters who considered themselves the "most informed" thought Cornett ran a positive campaign. Meanwhile a plurality – 43 percent – thought Shadid ran a negative campaign.
The News 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll had a sample of 513 likely Oklahoma City voters selected at random using landlines and cell phones. Results were weighted by sex and age, and stratified using a model of previous city mayoral elections. The poll was conducted between February 27 and March 1 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.32 percent.