2023 Oklahoma Issues Poll

Publication date: December 19, 2023
Written by: Travis Taylor, Ph.D.

The Center for Excellence in Polling recently surveyed likely voters in Oklahoma about issues facing the state. Oklahomans express broad support for commonsense reforms to solve important issues facing the state, ranging from election security and participation to protecting investors and taxpayers from politically motivated financial institutions.

Large majorities of voters support reforms to get Oklahomans working

Oklahoma voters say that hard work contributes to the Sooner State’s unique way of life. Consistent with that value, polling results indicate voters are overwhelmingly supportive1 of reforms that protect unemployment and welfare benefits while encouraging Oklahomans to return to the workforce. Popular work-centric reforms include verifying that unemployment applicants are eligible for benefits (83% support), establishing a mandatory job referral service that connects individuals in the unemployment program with businesses that are hiring (73%), allowing high school students to work without being forced to get a government permit (70%), and requiring able-bodied adults under 60 years old without children under six to work, train, or volunteer as a condition of eligibility for food stamps (68%).

Voters want secure elections with systems designed to enhance confidence and participation

76%

… of likely voters support an audit of vote totals after every election. This measure to ensure the integrity of ballot counting is supported by overwhelming majorities, regardless of party affiliation.

71%

… of likely voters support placing school board elections on the same ballot as other general elections for statewide or federal offices. Voters across the political spectrum support this turnout-boosting reform by similar margins, including 71 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Democrats, and 69 percent of Independents.

66%

… of likely voters support requiring voters casting absentee ballots to include a valid, government-issued ID number when returning their ballot. Support for this election safeguard is largest among Republicans (81%) and Independents (57%), while the reform still garners support from a majority of Oklahoma Democrats (52%).

51%

… of likely voters support requiring ballots to include the party affiliation of school board candidates. A plurality of Independents support this move that would increase participation, indicating that a large group of Independent voters use candidate party identification to make meaningful decisions when voting.

67%

… of likely voters oppose ranked-choice voting in Oklahoma, a nine-point margin over those who support it. Voters describe the system as “chaos,” “terrible,” and “overcomplicated.”

Oklahomans support reforms to boost law and order

As crime becomes a bigger problem in large cities across the country, a trend driven by rogue prosecutors, Oklahoma voters support reforms that will maintain public safety and protect Oklahomans from violent crime and prosecutors who look the other way. Seven in 10 voters (73%) support requiring local governments to cooperate with U.S. and state agencies trying to enforce the law, while more than six in 10 voters (64%) say the governor should be able to remove local prosecutors who repeatedly refuse to prosecute crimes.

Voters support protecting investors and taxpayers from politically motivated ESG investing

72%

… of likely voters support requiring financial advisors to get their clients’ consent before investing in politically motivated funds that place environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria above better financial returns. Support for this ESG consent requirement comes from across the political spectrum with 82 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Democrats, and 63 percent of Independents in favor.

60%

… of likely voters oppose investing taxpayer money in banks and investment funds that make business decisions based on their political agenda. Opposition to investing taxpayer money in ESG funds comes from two in three Republicans (65%) and Democrats (67%) as well as a strong plurality of Independent voters (48%).

Voters support measures to reduce the regulatory burden facing Oklahomans

Regulations made in a vacuum have “unintended consequences,” leading voters to support reforms to make government work better for Oklahomans, including requiring local governments to review and act on new construction permits within 20 business days (68% support), requiring state bureaucratic agencies to get legislative approval before costly regulations are allowed to go into effect (62%), and to get rid of two existing regulations for every new regulation an agency makes (52%).

The bottom line

Oklahoma has a unique culture and way of life. That Oklahoma Way is the pride of Sooner State voters, who support commonsense policies to protect and preserve their way of life. State policymakers have an opportunity to act on important reforms that enjoy broad, bipartisan support on issues from elections and ESG to welfare and the workforce.

1 Support and oppose results reported throughout are calculated by combining “strongly support/oppose” with “somewhat support/oppose” responses.