Republicans will start out with an advantage in next year's contest for Governor in Oklahoma, our newest survey finds. Mary Fallin and J.C. Watts each start out with solid leads over likely Democratic contenders Jari Askins and Drew Edmondson.
Fallin is the most popular candidate of the quartet, with 51% of voters in the state viewing her favorably. That's followed by Watts at 46%, Edmondson at 43%, and Askins at 35%.
In head to head contests Fallin leads Edmondson 48-38 and Askins 50-34. Watts has a 47-39 edge over Edmondson and a 47-36 one over Askins.
The reason for the Republicans' early leads is pretty easy to ascertain. They have an advantage of more than 20 points among independent voters in the state in all four of the possible match ups. They also get more than 20% of the Democratic vote, showing much more popularity across party lines than Edmondson and Askins do with Republicans.
Although these numbers are not great for Democrats they can take heart in the fact that it's safe to say Steve Largent would have led Brad Henry by a margin far exceeding these numbers if a poll had been taken in May 2001. 18 months is a lifetime in electoral politics.
Although these numbers have limited value in assessing who would win a primary contest, we'll still note that Fallin and Edmondson are slightly more popular within their own parties. 70% of Republicans view Fallin favorably while 62% say the same of Watts. For Democrats the numbers are 59% for Edmondson and 48% for Askins.
Full results here