Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement last week has helped conservative Oklahoma Senate candidate T.W. Shannon shave 26 points from his deficit to close within nine points of Rep. James Lankford. This was revealed in a newly released Public Opinion Strategy poll of Oklahoma GOP primary voters that was conducted four days after her endorsement.
In a February poll of likely GOP primary voters in Oklahoma, Shannon trailed Lankford by 35 points (16%-51%). A month later, Shannon trails Lankford by nine points (28%-37%), knocking 26 points from Lankford’s lead. The survey, which was commissioned by Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, which supports Shannon, also found that 7% support Randy Brogdon. Shannon is also surging among voters who have a favorable view of the Tea Party.
The poll found that Palin, who has the highest favorability rating among GOP presidential primary voters, also does extremely well with Oklahoma Republicans with a “75% favorable/14% unfavorable image with Oklahoma GOP primary voters.” That is why former South Carolina Senator and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint said that Palin’s endorsement has the most impact in GOP primaries.
On top of that, Shannon, arguably the most conservative House Speaker in Oklahoma’s history, has been introducing himself with positive ads and direct mail. As a result, Shannon’s name ID has gone from 59% to 74% and his favorables from 30% to 48%. His unfavorables are only at 5%.
“After starting the campaign as the equivalent of an NCAA Cinderella-wannabe, T.W. Shannon has become the momentum it takes to beat the number one seed, represented by James Lankford,” Public Opinion Strategies concluded in its analysis. The survey was conducted March 16-17 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.38 percentage points
In her endorsement, Palin said that though Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who is retiring from the Senate due to health issues, “leaves large conservative shoes to fill,” Shannon “is just the leader to fill them.”
“T.W. is the underdog in his race, but that’s not a position he’s unfamiliar with,” she wrote. “We can also rest assured that T.W. will bring to D.C. the integrity and moral compass he acquired growing up attending Bethlehem Baptist Church and teaching Sunday School.”
Palin noted that while Shannon’s opponent has the “backing of Beltway insiders,” Shannon has “the passion and experience We the People need in Washington. As the former Speaker he can stand proud on his record of fighting for conservative legislation that directly benefited the lives of Oklahomans by lowering taxes, cutting government waste, and breaking the cycle of poverty by encouraging entrepreneurial self-reliance as the proven path to prosperity.”