Oklahomans overwhelmingly support oil and natural gas industry, WPAi survey finds

OKLAHOMA CITY – CapitolBeatOK, an online news site, has learned that a study conducted by WPA Intelligence – (WPAi) a firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado — found that state voters have a strongly favorable image of the oil and natural gas industry. The following summary, adapted directly from the organization’s analysis, records findings about the views of Oklahomans in surveying conducted this past summer.
Voters are wary of increased taxes, WPA found, “and this reluctance to support higher taxes holds true for the oil and gas industry.” The study was conducted June 13-14, the analysis said, “among 303 Oklahoma City likely voters and 150 Tulsa likely voters in Oklahoma. The margin of error is ± 4.6 percent.”

The Oil and Natural Gas Industry is Well-Liked

“Voters in Oklahoma have a strongly favorable impression (78 percent) of the oil and natural gas industry, with a majority of likely voters saying they have a very favorable (53 percent) impression of the industry. This support is strong regardless of where voters live. 
Nearly all Republicans (91 percent) have a favorable impression of the oil and gas industry, while at least two-in-three Independents (68 percent) and Democrats (67 percent) have a favorable impression of the industry.” 

Oil and Gas is Viewed as an Integral Part of the Economy

“A strong majority of voters in both Oklahoma City (80 percent) and Tulsa (74 percent) believe the oil and gas industry has a positive impact on the economy, with a majority in both Oklahoma City (57 percent) and Tulsa (54 percent) saying it has a very positive impact on the economy. 
Regardless of partisanship, a strong majority of voters believe the oil and gas industry has a positive impact on the economy. This opinion is particularly strong among Republicans (89 percent) who nearly unanimously believe it has a positive impact, the WPA Intelligence survey found.”

National Polling Indicates Widespread Opposition to Energy Taxes 

“National polling suggests a similar trend nationwide, indicating widespread approval of the oil and gas industry. In addition, we see widespread opposition to increasing taxes that may hinder energy production. In a poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute among 890 voters in November 2016, data shows opposition regardless of party to higher taxes on the oil and gas industry.” 


“Voters in Oklahoma strongly support the oil and gas industry, with more than three-in-four voters (78 percent) saying they have a favorable opinion, as well as three-in-four voters (78 percent) saying the industry has a positive impact on the economy.
“While popular among all voters, regardless of partisanship, the image of the oil and gas industry is particularly positive among Republican voters, who have a nearly unanimous favorable opinion of the industry and believe it has a positive impact on the economy. Legislators, particularly Republican representatives, who vote against the oil and gas industry will likely alienate voters and hurt their chances for re-election. This effect would likely be compounded in primary elections.”

Notes on Research Design

WPAi selected a random sample of likely voters from the Oklahoma voter file using Registration Based Sampling (RBS), according to a memorandum circulated this month by Dr. Trevor Smith, a principal at WPAi.
“The sample for this survey was stratified based on geography, age, gender, and ethnicity. This methodology avoided post-survey weighting,” Smith wrote, “which can reduce the reliability of survey results. Respondents were contacted by phone via a live telephone operator interview June 13-June 14, 2017.”
The analysis said, “The study has a sample size of 453 likely voters with a margin of error of ±4.6% in 95 out of 100 cases.”

About WPAi 

According to the Smith memo, since 1998, “WPAi has been a leading provider of political polling for campaigns from President to Governor and U.S. Senate to Mayor and City Council in all 50 states and several foreign countries.
“In the 2015-2016 election cycle, 87 percent of WPAi clients won. WPAi clients’ win ratio has exceeded the standard by double digits for four straight political cycles. WPAi has been nationally recognized for providing cutting edge research to help our clients win,” the memo said.
“The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) awarded a ‘Pollie’ to WPAi for …  Predictive Analytics andAdaptive Sampling techniques.”
The Smith memo explained the award “highlighted these advanced methodologies which allowed us to buck national polling trends and deliver industry-leading results.
“In addition to political and policy research, WPAi has conducted market research for more than 120 United States Fortune 500 corporations, donor research for more than 250 of the largest and most successful not-for-profit organizations around the country, and alumni research for dozens of colleges and universities.” 
Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.