OKLAHOMA CITY — Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is the odds-on favorite to win Oklahoma’s vote to become the next president of the United States.
That’s at least according to the perhaps not-so-bold forecast of national group FiveThirtyEight. The polling website founded by statistician Nate Silver studied all 50 states and simulated possible outcomes in the election.
The group predicted Friday that the Republican nominee had a 99 percent chance of winning Oklahoma next month. His Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had a 1 percent chance of winning the state, while third-party candidates had absolutely no possibility, the group forecasted.
Trump supporter Bob Dani said that prediction shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone living in one of the most conservative states in the nation. What surprised him, though, is that the group gave Alabama even higher odds of a Trump victory.
“I was little bit surprised that we came in second place on that,” said the 65-year-old retired Edmond resident, adding that he expects any Republican presidential candidate — even if Trump wasn’t in the running — would crush a Democratic challenger by a large margin.
“It’s more of a conservative movement than a Trump movement,” he said.
A Democrat hasn’t won the state since Lyndon B. Johnson back in the 1960s, and no Democratic presidential candidate has carried even a county in the state since 2000, said Ronald Keith Gaddie, chair of the University of Oklahoma’s political science department, in an email.
“We were kidding around during the GOP convention that we could go ahead and call Oklahoma then, back in July,” he said.
That’s left Trump and Clinton to duke it out in other states where the winner is less certain.
Dani, who has supported Trump since he announced his candidacy, said he’s helped the businessman campaign. Much of those efforts, though, are focused on persuading voters in other states about Trump’s Oval Office worthiness through phone calls or social media.
As a result, neither campaign has many signs dotting yards in urban areas, though Dani said he’s seen more visible support for Trump in rural parts of the state.
Clinton’s campaign, he believes, is wasting its time with the little campaigning it’s doing here in the form of attack ads he’s seen airing on cable television.
“You’re just burning your money,” he said. “That’s why I’m kind of shocked they’re running those commercials.”
Clinton’s campaign offices — both locally and nationally — did not respond to requests for comment.
Dani, a lifelong Republican, said he’s already made up his mind. He’ll be voting for the oft-blunt, plain-spoken businessman, who has at times been a lighting rod for controversy involving concerns about his treatment of women and comments about immigrants.
Dani likes Trump’s stance on job creation, national defense and his plain-spoken style.
“I believed in this guy from the very get-go, not because he’s perfect,” Dani said. “We don’t have one of those people (running).”
He’s such a staunch Trump supporter that he’s changed his name on his Facebook page to include the word “Deplorable” — in what he sees as mocking salute to Clinton’s comments calling half of Trump’s supporters “deplorable.”
In Lawton, other than a few Trump billboards dotting the highway, Joe Talley said there are sparse yard signs out for either side.
The 75-year-old registered Democrat, who works as a professional counselor, said he can’t remember the last time he’s cast a ballot for a Republican for president. Talley jokes it was probably before he was even born — when Theodore Roosevelt ran in the early 1900s.
“I wish there was a third person running, if they were higher caliber than both those people,” he said.
Talley said he’s currently undecided, but said if the election were held today, he’d probably cast his ballot for Trump.
“From what I’ve read and heard, the Clintons cannot be trusted,” he said.
Oklahomans, though, will likely be in the minority nationally when all the votes are tallied. Even though Clinton is expected to lose the battle in Oklahoma, FiveThirtyEight expects she’ll ultimately win the war.
Placing her overall odds of winning around 85 percent, if the election happened Friday, the group says it’s betting on Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.
Janelle Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.