Poll: Jena Nelson has early lead over Ryan Walters in Oklahoma Superintendent race
A new poll released Monday shows a modern Oklahoma rarity: A Democrat ahead of a Republican in a statewide race.
Democrat Jena Nelson leads Republican Ryan Walters in a poll of more than 400 likely voters, 48% to 43%, according to data released by Sooner Poll Monday. The poll was commissioned by Oklahoma City and Tulsa television stations News 9 and News on 6.
A significant reason: Nelson had support from almost 20% of Republicans, who typically dominate elections in Oklahoma.
Walters — Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointed Secretary of Education — has made himself a champion of conservative causes like enforcing Oklahoma’s so-called critical race theory ban House Bill 1775 and barring transgender students from using the restroom corresponding with their gender identity.
Walters is heavily preferred by self-identified conservatives, but Nelson — a former state teacher of the year — has a big lead with moderates, with more than 73% saying they would rather vote for her. The two square off on election day on Nov. 8.