Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is trailing his Democratic rival in two polls released Monday, throwing his reelection chances into question in the ruby-red state.
Stitt’s Democratic opponent Joy Hofmeister leads by 1 point in a poll from consulting firm Amber Integrated, 46% to 45% among likely voters, while an Ascend Action poll of likely voters shows Hofmeister over Stitt by a 49% to 42% margin. The polls come just three weeks before Election Day and show Hofmeister could become the first Democrat to win the Oklahoma governorship in more than a decade.
“Kevin Stitt is going to win this race because Oklahomans know Kevin Stitt is fighting for them, cutting taxes, balancing the budget, and funding pay increases for every teacher, while his Democratic opponent supports tax increases and marches in lock-step with Joe Biden’s liberal agenda that’s threatening Oklahoma,” Stitt’s campaign manager Donelle Harder told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Harder shared a poll conducted for the Stitt campaign in late September that showed the governor leading Hofmeister by 15 points. (RELATED: School Districts Can Implement Mask Mandates, Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules)
Hofmeister, the state superintendent of education, recently switched political parties in order to challenge Stitt for the governor’s office. Hofmeister assumed her office as a Republican in 2014 before Stitt, a Tulsa businessman with no prior political experience, won the governor’s race in 2018.
Hofmeister has made education a centerpiece of her campaign. She opposed a Stitt-backed bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature in 2022, SB 1647, which would have created “Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts” — or school “vouchers,” as its critics said — to subsidize the cost of private and alternative education for Oklahoma K-12 students.
The bill failed to advance from the Senate after opposition from Democrats and many rural Republicans.
📈LATEST: RCP MOVES OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR’S RACE TO ‘TOSS UP’@RealClearNews today moved the race between Kevin Stitt and Joy Hofmeister from ‘LEANS GOP’ to ‘TOSS UP’. This race was rated ‘SAFE GOP’ on 9/24 and has moved 3 times since. @OKCFOX #Election2022 pic.twitter.com/zb2UyOv21o
— Dan Snyder (@DanSnyderFOX25) October 18, 2022
Hofmeister, who was recently endorsed by the five biggest Native American tribes in Oklahoma, has described herself as “aggressively moderate” in an attempt to court some Republican support. Stitt, meanwhile, touts low unemployment, a hands-off approach to COVID-19 restrictions and an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
He has also signed a statewide ban on Critical Race Theory in education and one of the country’s strictest abortion bans.
The national data analysis website FiveThirtyEight still gives Stitt a 90% chance to win the race despite the recent polls. RealClearPolitics now considers the race a “Toss Up.”
Stitt won his 2018 election by more than 12 points.
Oklahoma has long been a Republican bastion, with Trump winning the state by 33 points over Joe Biden in 2020. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan elections analyst, rates Oklahoma as R+20.
The Monday Ascend Action poll surveyed 638 voters with a margin of error of 3.9%, and was taken between Oct. 10 and Oct. 12. The Amber Integrated poll, fielded between Oct. 13 and Oct. 15, had a margin of error of 4.4% and surveyed 500 likely voters.
Hofmeister’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
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