Lankford leads Shannon by single digits

Greg Nash

A new GOP survey conducted for a group backing Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon in the Senate Republican primary shows him trailing Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) by just single digits.

The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for Oklahomans for a Conservative Future via landline and cellphone interviews, gives Lankford 37 percent support to Shannon’s 28 percent support among likely GOP primary voters. Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon takes 7 percent support.

That’s a considerable improvement for Shannon since early February, when another survey of likely GOP primary voters showed Lankford taking 51 percent of the vote to Shannon’s 16 percent.

According to the polling memo, among primary voters who are “favorable to the Tea Party” — a crucial demographic in the deep red state — Shannon lags Lankford by only two points.

And it indicates that positive ads aired by Oklahomans for a Conservative Future and Shannon’s campaign introducing him to voters have been beneficial for the candidate. His name identification has increased from 59 percent-74 percent, and his favorables have increased from 30 percent-48 percent, while his unfavorables remain unchanged.

Lankford’s standing among GOP primary voters — he was previously the best-known candidate and 56 percent of respondents viewed him positively — remains largely unchanged.

Lankford and Shannon are the two front-runners vying for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and they’re both pitching themselves to voters as the most conservative candidate to take up Coburn’s mantle.

National conservative groups have largely panned Lankford’s candidacy, however, and while they haven’t yet weighed in on Shannon’s bid, he did pick up the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). 

Neither candidate has yet seen any negative attacks in the race, and it’s likely once barbs start flying, the landscape will shift.

The survey was conducted among 500 likely GOP primary voters in the state from March 16-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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