U.S. Rep. Brad Carson is leading Republican Tom Coburn, who until now has enjoyed a lead in the race for the U.S. Senate, a NEWS9 poll shows. It marks the first time that Carson, D-Claremore, has led Coburn, a Muskogee Republican, in any polls commissioned by The Oklahoman or NEWS9. The latest poll is the second of nine scheduled polls by NEWS9 leading up to the Nov. 2 general elections. It surveys voters on races for president and U.S. Senate, and also polls voters on several state questions on the same ballot. The poll of 500 likely Oklahoma voters, taken by telephone from Sept. 10 to Sept. 12, shows: Carson with 39 percent. Coburn with 37 percent. Undecided voters with 19 percent. Independent Sheila Bilyeu with 6 percent. The poll has a 4.4 percent margin of error. The new numbers show that recent TV ads by Carson targeting older voters are proving successful, said Chris Wilson, president of Wilson Research Strategies, a Virginia-based group that conducted the poll. Among voters older than 63, Coburn dropped 6 percent, while Carson gained 4 percent, Wilson said. Carson now has an 11 percent lead among that age group. "I think it's very politically smart on his part, and it's clearly having an impact," Wilson said. A spokesman for Carson didn't comment on the specific poll numbers, saying the only poll that matters is Election Day. "While polls will go up and down throughout this campaign, Congressman Carson is focused on talking about the issues important to our state," said Brad Luna, a spokesman for the campaign. Coburn campaign spokesman Aaron Cooper said the numbers could be the result of "vicious attack ads from Brad Carson and his liberal allies in Washington." "We're confident once the voters learn the truth about Brad's liberal record, they'll understand which candidate truly represents our Oklahoma values," Cooper said. Change in support for State Question 711, which would amend the state constitution to outlaw gay marriage, was the only other issue to see a significant change. Support dropped from 73 percent to 68 percent. Opposition increased from 22 percent to 28 percent. Wilson said the change coincides with the filing of an American Civil Liberties Union-backed lawsuit seeking to strip the issue from the November ballot. "It's still not in jeopardy of losing, but there was some movement."
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Polls conducted for NEWS 9.