Republican Mary Fallin is in a surprisingly close contest for reelection in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the 2014 gubernatorial race in Oklahoma.


A new statewide telephone survey of 750 likely Oklahoma voters finds Fallin with 45 percent support to Democratic state Representative Joe Dorman’s 40 percent. Seven percent favor some other candidate, while eight percent are undecided.


Oklahoma is rated Leans Republican in the Rasmussen Reports 2014 Gubernatorial Scorecard.


Fallin, who previously served as lieutenant governor and a member of Congress, was elected governor in 2010 with 60 percent of the vote. She has long been expected to easily win reelection, but a poll released last week by the Tulsa World shows Fallin’s favorables at a new low, even among her fellow Republicans.


The incumbent now has the support of 64 percent of Oklahoma Republicans, while 70 percent of the state’s Democrats favor Dorman. Fallin leads by seven points among voters not affiliated with either major party.


Forty-nine percent now approve of the job Fallin is doing as governor, while 48 percent disapprove. This includes 20 percent who strongly approve and 28 percent who strongly disapprove.


Fallin is now viewed very favorably by 25 percent and very unfavorably by 29 percent.


For Dorman, very favorables are 11 percent and very unfavorables nine percent. His biggest challenge at this point is name recognition: 35 percent say they have never heard of him.


That’s one reason why at this point in an election cycle, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.