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Notoriously unreliable pollster tries to justify notoriously incorrect poll results…

6:00 AM EST on November 15, 2022

One of the most unsurprising developments from last week’s Oklahoma Gubernatorial election was how SoonerPoll – the unreliable polling firm owned by signature counter Bill Shapard – once again totally whiffed on an Oklahoma gubernatorial election. 

According to a Sooner Poll commissioned by News 9 just days before election day, Hofmeister held a 5% lead on Stitt, only to see Stitt turnaround to win by a whopping 14% margin. 

Since News 9 routinely uses Sooner Poll as its polling firm, they decided to save a little face and conveniently try to explain away the polling debacle via a news report.

Following Oklahoma political tradition, Shapard blamed it on the ultimate scapegoats – Democrats:

A nonpartisan polling firm said low voter turnout impacted the gubernatorial race where incumbent Kevin Stitt won by nearly 160,000 votes.

SoonerPoll, which brands itself as Oklahoma's only independent, nonpartisan public opinion polling firm, said its pre-election polling indicated Stitt's Democratic challenger, Joy Hofmeister, held an edge.

"She was looking really good, getting 95% of Democrat votes,” SoonerPoll founder Bill Shapard said. “She was getting 80% of independent votes, and among Republicans, she was getting an average of anywhere between 15 and 22%.”

Ultimately, Stitt received 638,910 total votes (55.45%), compared with Hofmeister's 481,396 votes (41.78%). The margin of victory was 157,514 votes in favor of the incumbent.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that Democrats and Independents would sit at home as much as they did," Shapard said. "The difference is that we had a normalized turnout of Republicans and a depressed turnout of Democrats and Independents."

Yep, I don’t think anybody could have predicted that Oklahoma Democrats and Independents would sit at home, says the political pollster to the media company that hired him. 

Seriously, even though the same thing happened in 2018 when News 9 commissioned a Sooner Poll that claimed the Gubernatorial Race was much closer than it actually was, how were these experts supposed to know the polling numbers were unreliable and not an accurate representation of the Oklahoma voting populace?

Here’s more:

The statewide turnout for Tuesday's election was just 50.3% of registered voters. The figurwas lower than the 2018 election when the turnout was 56.15%.

"Keep in mind that Kevin Stitt did not get more votes this year than he got four years ago," said Shapard. "Joy Hofmeister didn't get more votes ... than (2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Drew Edmondson got, so there was a huge portion of Democrats and Independents that didn't come to the polls this year."

Shapard explained a possible reason.

"It could be a lot driven by the fact that this is Biden's first midterm. The Democrats at the national level are not doing well," said Shapard. "They're sitting at home looking at their kitchen table issues and going -- inflation, high gas prices -- doesn't make me want to turn out and vote for Democrats.

Granted, I’m not a pollster being paid by a media organization that financially benefits from close political races in the forms of ratings and ad buys, but don’t you think that sentiment would affect how you conduct and frame your polling results? 

At the very least, it would have been nice context to inlcude when the poll results were released by the media organization that paid you, right? 

Anyway, I don’t want to complain too much. I guess we also benefited from the incorrect perception of a close election, so we should probably give Sooner Poll a little fist bump. 

That being said, with this being the second election in a row where Sooner Poll has totally whiffed, and Shapard now helping Republicans screw with the petition initiative process, you have to wonder if News 9 & News on 6 will turn to a new political consulting group to make elections seem closer than they appear?

If so, I’d suggest they hire TLO Polling Inc. We haven’t conducted a political poll yet, but as Shapard has shown, it really doesn't matter if your right. 

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

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