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Oklahoma results

I find Oklahoma’s results interesting because they seem to be so far outside of the overall pattern. Obama only did this badly in one other state – Arkansas (69-27). And this was the only state where Edwards (who has dropped out of the race) picked up anything significant.

Candidate

Votes

Percentage

Clinton

228,597

55

Obama

130,206

31

Edwards

42,853

10

As usual, Oklahoma primary votes are confusing.  Despite being solidly Republican at the national level, there are twice as many registered Democrats in Oklahoma as Republicans.  In general, Oklahoma Democrats are on the conservative end of the spectrum.

The first thing that jumps out at me about the Oklahoma results is the lack of young people – only 9% of the people captured in the Democratic exit polls were under 30.  Among Oklahoma Republicans younger voters made up 14% of those polled.  I’m a little bit disappointed that they asked different questions of the Democrats and Republicans – for example, they asked Democrats how often they attended church, but they also split Republicans into born-again or not born-again.  In a place like Oklahoma that’s likely to be an important criterion among Democrats as well.

Contrary to what I found in the other polls, Clinton did better than Obama among Liberals in Oklahoma.  She also did better than Obama among people who thought the Kennedy endorsement was very important – 53% of those people voted for Clinton, while 43% of them went for Obama.  Even in Arkansas, where Clinton’s margin of victory was larger than in Oklahoma (42 points) people who thought the Kennedy endorsement was very important went for Obama.  Not here.

John Edwards picked up what amounted to either a protest vote or an ignorance vote – it’s likely that at least some of the people who voted for him didn’t know he had dropped out of the race, but 10% of all Dems?  (More really, because a fair proportion of the people who didn’t know he dropped out would have still voted for Clinton, since she was the front-runner).  Edwards did best among people who called themselves conservatives – despite having the most populist rhetoric.  Of course, so did the populist Huckabee.  But was this conservative vote for Edwards “identity” politics?  Was it the people who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a black man or a woman?

It’s interesting to look at Oklahoma on a county-by-county basis.  The only county that appeared to mirror the state’s average was Osage County, which went 52-34-10.  Elsewhere, there were some interesting patterns.  Obama outperformed his average in two counties – Oklahoma County (where he actually beat Clinton) and Tulsa County.  He also did relatively well in the counties around OKC and in Osage County (which is adjacent to Tulsa).  Elsewhere in the state Obama did less well.  In eastern and southern Oklahoma, and much of western Oklahoma, Clinton and Edwards did better than average, at Obama’s expense.  Interestingly, Edwards did best in the far western counties – and he did so at Clinton’s expense.  In eastern Oklahoma, Edwards tended to do well at Obama’s expense.

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One Response

  1. I actually write about the bizarre primary results in my blog. As a Native Oklahoman, I’m always baffled by how my home state votes. In this case, there seem to be a number of factors: As you note, the age of the state and perhaps a fondness for the political establishment.

    But, you could say the same about Kansas, the home of Bob Dole. But, our neighbor to the north went overwhelmingly for Obama.

    One has to wonder if present voting trends are, in fact, a result of past issues with race.

    Feel free to read and respond to my piece here:
    http://weeklyrader.blogspot.com/2008/02/reading-plains-close-look-at-oklahoma.html

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