YOU GUEST IT: Oklahomans strongly favor moving local school board elections to November

February 10, 2015

Bill Shapard

Some Oklahomans vote only in November of even-numbered years. Others, usually fewer in number, participate in elections year-round every year.

In an effort to increase turnout and participation in the electoral process, a proposal has been made to move local school board elections to the general election date in November. According to the most recent quarterly poll from SoonerPoll, Oklahomans strongly favor this idea — with 64.8 percent favoring the idea and 49.5 percent strongly favoring it.


Interestingly, the divide among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents was not significant. Fifty-one percent of Republicans strongly favored the move, yet 47.1 percent of Democrats also strongly favored as well as 48.8 percent of Independents. The proposal was also equally strongly favored by liberals, moderates, and conservatives.

Younger voters — those under the age of 44 who might be busier with family, work and children — were slightly more likely to favor the proposal than those 45 and older. Married poll respondents were 12 points more likely to strongly favor the proposal than those who were not.

Interest in moving school board elections to November increases as the frequency of religious attendance decreases, meaning those who generally participate in less group or civic activities favor or see the value in having more consolidated elections at one time in the year.

No significant differences were observed among voters of various levels of education or household income.

The poll of 506 likely voters in Oklahoma, which was commissioned by OCPA, was conducted from January 5 to January 22, 2015, by live interviewers and included 113 cellphone and 349 landline users. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.34 percentage points. Poll results were weighted by age and congressional district, and stratified by a model of Oklahoma likely voters statewide. This poll conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. A complete description of the methodology can be found here. The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation report can be viewed here.

[Guest blogger Bill Shapard is the founder of and Shapard Research, a full-service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. He has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely-voter sampling techniques. He also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.]