In what might be the best news for Oklahoma since the Broadway musical of the same name (!), Zogby has released a survey that suggests fewer Americans view Oklahoma as a cultural wasteland littered with billionaire cowboys and Indian reservations.
The Oklahoman newspaper wasted little time in trumpeting the news, running a story in its sports section under the headline “Oklahoma gets good reviews from nation, poll shows.”
With no apparent sense of irony, reporter Michael McNutt opens the story with this dazzling sentence: “Walmart shoppers and NASCAR enthusiasts are among Oklahoma’s biggest fans, a recent survey of Americans shows.”
By the way, this wouldn’t be the same Zogby that released an exit poll forecasting John Kerry would win the 2004 presidential election with 311 electoral votes?
Not the same Zogby that released a poll on Halloween of this year, just days before the election, showing John McCain was within 1 percentage point of Barack Obama?
Well, yes, it is. But that shouldn’t sway anyone into thinking that Oklahoma isn’t the best darn state this side of Arkansas.
Some glowing nuggets courtesy of Zogby International:
- Two out of three Americans have at least a “fair” view of Oklahoma.
- More than 7 percent of Americans have an “excellent” view of Oklahoma
- Almost 12 percent have a “poor” view of Oklahoma
If Oklahomans are busting their buttons because only one in eight Americans think Oklahoma is a hopeless backwater, well, far be it from me to spoil their fun.
In any case, Richard Rush, president and CEO of the state chamber of commerce, is not about to have his fun spoiled.
“Oklahomans have known for a long time that the state is a great place to raise a family, grow a business and live your dreams,” Rush said. “It is fantastic that the rest of the country is starting to figure out our little secret.”
Yes, the secret is out. Oklahoma, which went for John McCain with greater enthusiasm than any state in November, is at the vanguard of the national zeitgeist. Americans from points north, south, east and west will be rushing to the promised land of Oklahoma now, in search of the good life. Sort of a reverse Dust Bowl exodus.
Those Nouveau Okies might be interested in in a few other random statistics not provided by John Zogby and his messengers of sunshine.
As sports observers, we know that Oklahoma ranks No. 2 in college football, No. 5 in both men’s and women’s college basketball and dead last in the NBA standings.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 state rankings, Oklahoma ranks:
- No. 6 in percentage of population below the poverty level
- 11th in infant mortality rate
- 47th in teacher salaries
- 47th in median household income
- 49th in doctors per 100,000 population
But hell, things are on rise. The NBA has arrived in Oklahoma City, and the fact that the Thunder is on pace to be one of the worst basketball teams in NBA history shouldn’t detract from the boom-time euphoria.
We are all Oklahomans now!