BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: December 14, 2008
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photo - Desmond Mason of Oklahoma City reacts Wednesday after a call in the first half of the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. John Zogby, president and chief executive officer of Zogby International, said getting a professional team has helped Oklahoma’s standing with Americans.  PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Desmond Mason of Oklahoma City reacts Wednesday after a call in the first half of the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. John Zogby, president and chief executive officer of Zogby International, said getting a professional team has helped Oklahoma’s standing with Americans. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN

/> Zogby said it’s significant that 21.2 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 gave Oklahoma an excellent rating.

"What Oklahoma has to do is bill itself as a next-wave state, as a global center,” he said. "It has to change that image of a prairie-populist, Bible-belt conservatism.”

Sports help
Oklahoma securing its own professional team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, was a plus, Zogby said.

"Having the NBA never hurts,” he said. "The numbers went up among men.”

Success by Oklahoma’s college football teams this season also probably helped with Americans having a better opinion or image of the state, he said.

The oil and gas industry has boosted Oklahoma’s economy, but to develop sustained economic growth the state needs to attract young professional workers, Zogby said. Tulsa and Oklahoma City deserve credit for making their communities attractive for young professionals to work and as a destination, he said.

"There’s a sense that the state’s doing well, and that’s good,” he said.

"It means it’s on the radar screen.”



AT A GLANCE
Poll findings
The online survey of 3,472 adults was conducted Nov. 5 and 6. The Zogby International poll carries a margin of error of 1.7 percent. Some findings:

BY LOCATION

• Americans in the West were most likely to give Oklahoma both an excellent (8.4 percent) and poor (14.7 percent) view.


• Americans living in small towns were most likely to give the state an excellent rating (9.7 percent), while those living in large cities were most likely to give a poor rating (17.8 percent).

BY AGE

• More than one out of five Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 give Oklahoma an excellent view, the highest among all groups.

BY INTEREST

• Walmart shoppers love Oklahoma. Almost 56 percent of Americans who shop at Walmart weekly view the state as excellent or good, while only 27.2 percent who never shop at Walmart share those views.


• More than 53 percent of NASCAR fans have an excellent or good view of Oklahoma, while only 39.5 percent of the rest of America shares that view.

OTHER ANSWERS

• Most respondents (53.2 percent) identify America as their residency; 21.4 percent said, "My city or town,” and 1.2 percent were not sure or refused to answer the question. Another 24.3 percent identified their residency as "the planet Earth.”

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