Fallin has high favorable rating going into 2013

January 14, 2013


By Madison Grady

Oklahomans seem to love their governors, whether male or female, Republican, or Democrat. At least the last few anyway.

The latest SoonerPoll results show Governor Mary Fallin, the state’s first female governor, with a 65.0% combined favorability rating. Of the near two-thirds with a favorable opinion, 29.6% responded with ‘very favorable’ toward the Governor and 35.4% with ‘somewhat favorable.’ Those with an unfavorable opinion were 24.4%, and 10.7% did not have an opinion.

The same love was also shown for Governor Brad Henry during his tenure with approval ranging from 62% to as high as 83% during the five years SoonerPoll tracked his approval rating, even when his views or decisions were contrary to those of the Oklahoma public.

During 2011, Fallin’s first year as governor, SoonerPoll measured the Governor’s approval rating which hit a high of 69.3%, but was never below 58%.

Republicans overwhelmingly favored the Governor with an 85.2% in combined favorability. Of those, near half (48.2%) responded ‘very favorable.’

Results also show nearly half of all Democrats, 48.5%, had a favorable opinion of Fallin, with 39.3% unfavorable. Fallin’s favorability among Democrats, however, is softer with 13.3% saying they viewed her ‘very favorable’ and 35.3% saying ‘somewhat favorable.’

Interestingly, both Governors Fallin and Henry have or had the approval or favorable rating from about half of voters of the opposite party. In 2009, Henry gained nearly half of Republicans approval, and Fallin has the favor of nearly half of Democrats.

Conservatives, who make up slightly more than half of the electorate, overwhelmingly favored the governor, with 56.4% of moderates favoring her as well. Those who attend church once or more per week, which make up 60% of the electorate, also favored her at a ratio of two to one.

Further analysis revealed:

--Fallin’s highest favorable rating came from her old congressional district, 66.2%, but was not below 61% in any of the other four congressional districts.

--Very high favorable among Evangelicals at 72.1%, with even a majority among non-Evangelicals at 55.8%.

--Married respondents favored the governor at 72% as well, but single respondents were only 43.4%.

--Near half of labor union members, or those living in a union household, favored the governor at 49.4%.

--Federal employees favored Fallin (68.4%), state employees (57.5%), local government employees (62.9%).

--Men were slightly more likely to favor Fallin, 65.7%, to 64.3% for women.

--Rural Oklahomans favored Fallin the most at 70.4%, compared to 58.6% for Tulsa metro and 62.4% for OKC metro.

The question is, can Fallin maintain these positive ratings until her reelection in 2014?

“The President’s reelection may prove problematic for Mary Fallin in 2013,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com. “His reelection assures Obamacare remains law and, while it currently remains unpopular among Oklahoma voters, it puts the Governor with some difficult decisions, which may not be popular with the public.”

Shapard went on to note, while Fallin has already announced she will not accept Federal Medicaid dollars, she will have to face public opinion on the decision this year, just as Henry had to with the acceptance of Federal Stimulus dollars in 2009.