As the Oklahoma Governors Race hits full gear following Fallin’s primary win, Rasmussen held the first of many polls of potential voters. This poll found that Oklahomans are nearly evenly split between the two duopoly party candidates Mary Fallin and Joe Dorman. The poll found that 45% of potential voters favored Fallin while 40% favored Dorman. Of the remaining 15%, 7% favored “someone else” and the other 8% were still undecided. This electoral favorability of Fallin is also reflected in the 49% of people who approve of the job she is doing in office.
However, this poll is troubling in one major sense. The poll neglected to mention either of the Independent candidates running for governor, Richard Prawdzienski and Kimberly Willis. The act of naming only the major party candidates is rampant through polling services across the country, so it really isn’t a surprise to see it happen here. However, this practice is detrimental to the campaigns of minor party and independent candidates.
Many debate organizers rely heavily on poll data to determine who should be invited to polls. In many debates, this results in only the two major party candidates being in attendance. Even if a poll does include all candidates, the debate organizers will often select only those polls that meet their desired results.
I have reached out to both Independent candidates for comments on this poll. While Kimberly Willis has yet to respond, Richard Prawdzienski had this to say.
A couple Republicans told me don’t waste my time running because I can’t beat Fallin. (Historically incumbents win, also because Oklahoma is a Red state and will vote Republican. One told me that Fallin will win with 68% of the vote, Fallin’s campaign has a million dollars, she can easily get more.) Anyways, I put my $1500 dollars down and am running against her. Win or lose my message will be heard. If I can prevent both the R or D from getting more than 49% my message would be heard around the nation.
If this poll is any indication, Prawdzienski is well on his way to prevent either candidate from winning with a majority of votes. The last time an Independent candidate ran for governor, Gary L. Richardson pulled 14.12% of the vote. The result was that Brad Henry (D) won the election with 43.27% of the vote and a margin of victory of 0.66% over Steve M. Largent (R).
We would hope that future polls would be more inclusive to all candidates in the various elections across the state. We have requested comment from the Rasmussen organizers and are awaiting a response.