Obama may be swept again in Oklahoma

Democrats hopeful that the president can win a county or two in this week's election, but Republicans say the president's popularity has never gained traction in the state.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: November 4, 2012
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Democrats are optimistic President Barack Obama won't be shut out again in Oklahoma this year.

“On election night, we will not be the reddest state in the union,” said Ben Odom, longtime Democratic Party strategist and a former state Democratic Party official. “We might be in the top three to top five, but I don't think we're going to be the biggest state for Mitt Romney.”

Odom said he expected Republican presidential nominee Romney to post bigger wins in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska and possibly Alabama.

The Democratic president failed to win any of the state's 77 counties in 2008, proclaiming state GOP leaders to call Oklahoma the reddest state in the nation. Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona got his biggest victory margin in Oklahoma four years ago, winning 65.6 percent of the vote.

If the president fails to win a single county in this week's election, it would be the third straight presidential election in which the Republican presidential candidate swept the state. In 2004, President George W. Bush also got 65.6 percent of the vote in Oklahoma and also won every county in his race against Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The last Democratic president to win Oklahoma was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

“To me it's amazing that the Democratic goals here are to win one county and not be the reddest state in the nation,” said Pat McFerron, director of survey research for Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass and Associates. “‘Thank God for Utah' might be their slogan.”

Obama could win an eastern Oklahoma County if there's a small voter turnout, but McFerrin said he doesn't see that happening.

“Okfuskee County might be someplace you'd look, but other than that I don't think there's going to be much,” he said.

Neva Hill, a political consultant who has mostly Republican clients, said the president may again be swept in Oklahoma.

“I still think it may be a sweep, just based on past history and the fact that they've had to vote for the president once and this is a re-election,” she said. “His popularity has never gained any traction here.



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