Nonpartisan Polling Firm Says Low Voter Turnout Impacted Oklahoma’s General Election

A nonpartisan polling firm said low voter turnout impacted the gubernatorial race where incumbent Kevin Stitt won by nearly 160,000 votes.

Wednesday, November 9th 2022, 7:32 pm

By: Chris Yu


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A nonpartisan polling firm said low voter turnout impacted the gubernatorial race where incumbent Kevin Stitt won by nearly 160,000 votes.

SoonerPoll, which brands itself as Oklahoma's only independent, nonpartisan public opinion polling firm, said its pre-election polling indicated Stitt's Democratic challenger, Joy Hofmeister, held an edge.

"She was looking really good, getting 95% of Democrat votes,” SoonerPoll founder Bill Shapard said. “She was getting 80% of independent votes, and among Republicans, she was getting an average of anywhere between 15 and 22%.”

Ultimately, Stitt received 638,910 total votes (55.45%), compared with Hofmeister's 481,396 votes (41.78%). The margin of victory was 157,514 votes in favor of the incumbent.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that Democrats and Independents would sit at home as much as they did," Shapard said. "The difference is that we had a normalized turnout of Republicans and a depressed turnout of Democrats and Independents."

According to the state, there were 2,295,906 registered voters in Oklahoma as of Nov. 1, including 1,175,253 registered Republicans, 687,545 registered Democrats, 413,328 registered Independents, and 19,780 registered Libertarians.

The statewide turnout for Tuesday's election was just 50.3% of registered voters. The figurwas lower than the 2018 election when the turnout was 56.15%.

"Keep in mind that Kevin Stitt did not get more votes this year than he got four years ago," said Shapard. "Joy Hofmeister didn't get more votes ... than (2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Drew Edmondson got, so there was a huge portion of Democrats and Independents that didn't come to the polls this year."

Shapard explained a possible reason.

"It could be a lot driven by the fact that this is Biden's first midterm. The Democrats at the national level are not doing well," said Shapard. "They're sitting at home looking at their kitchen table issues and going -- inflation, high gas prices -- doesn't make me want to turn out and vote for Democrats.

The results from Tuesday's general election show the total votes that each candidate received, but there is no breakdown on voters by party affiliation such as how many Republicans voted for Stitt or how many Democrats voted for Hofmeister.  

The State Election Board said that data likely won't be available for a few weeks until voter history credit is recorded.

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