EXCLUSIVE POLL: Oklahoma Voters Say Economy Is Biggest Problem

<p>An exclusive News 9/News On 6 poll shows most Oklahomans believe the state's economy is the biggest problem facing the state today.&nbsp;</p>

Monday, January 25th 2016, 2:58 pm

By: News On 6

An exclusive News 9/News On 6 poll shows most Oklahomans believe the state's economy is the biggest problem facing the state today.

We asked more than 1,000 likely voters to tell us what is the most pressing problem facing the state. Thirty-two percent said the economy or employment is it. Another 17 percent listed education funding as the biggest problem. 

Illegal immigration ranked third, with 12.7%. Healthcare was fourth, with roads and bridges fifth.

Here's how they ranked:

Economy/employment:           32.2%
Education funding:                 17.3%
Illegal immigration:                 12.7%
Healthcare:                            10.7%
Roads/bridges:                        7.4%
Crime:                                    5.9%
State budget:                          5.9%
Governmental reforms:            4.6%
Poverty/welfare/etc.:                3.3%

Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll.com, said the economy is always top of mind for Oklahoma voters, but especially now with the collapse of the price of oil.

 "I think Oklahomans fear kind of a coming state depression simply because of the weight that oil and gas plays in our state. Doesn't surprise me that that's number one," he said.

In the same poll, most Oklahomans said the highest funding priority in the state should be common education. Almost 40 percent of people said it should be the top priority. Another 15.2% said it should be seniors and the elderly in nursing homes, while 12.6% said it should be road and bridge repair. Seven percent said the Department of Corrections should be the top funding priority.

Another 19.7% said they weren't sure what should be the top funding priority. Five and a half percent said higher education.

Here's how the funding priorities ranked:

Common education:               39.9%
Not sure:                               19.7%
Seniors/elderly:                      15.2%
Road/bridge repair:                 12.6%
Department of Corrections:      7.1%
Higher education:                    5.5%

"Oklahomans understand inherently that it's the private sector that funds all of our public programs, including education. I think that the electorate is tuned in well to the problems of our state government," he said.

Shapard said the poll proves Oklahoma voters are keenly aware of the problems facing the state -- the economy and growth of the private sector -- and will punish any politician who focuses on other issues.

About the polls: SoonerPoll conducted the survey by phone January 17-19, 2016. Our poll surveyed 1087 likely voters, registered to vote in Oklahoma. The margin of error is +/- 2.86 percent. The results were weighted by age, sex and political party and stratified to Oklahoma likely voter demographics.


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