Red Oak being so much harder than poplar it will show the faults much quicker. Next time try holding the plane at a very slight angle to the direction of travel - kind of like a skew. If you picture shaving with a regular razor - going straight the normal way it cuts OK, but make the mistake of sliding the razor at an angle and it will slice half your cheek off before you notice. Same effect with a plane.
Skipping says the blade was contacting wood sometimes, and other times it wasn't. Either concentrate on the parts that stick up, or if you need to hit the entire length of the wood then bring the cutter out just a skosh more (that's a technical term. Get a good metal ruler with inches on one side and angel hairs on the other. You want to move the iron out about 1/100th of an angel hair.)
I thought the new Stanleys were supposed to come with nice blades. They're advertised as 1/8" A2 steel, so springing for a Hock isn't going to really do anything except lighten your wallet.
One more thing to check. When setting the iron depth, there may be some play in the knob. This would let the iron get pushed back up when it encounters heavy resistance. Play with adjusting by going from shallow to deep, and deep to shallow while the lever cap is semi-tight. There should be play one way, and no play the other - you want to do final adjustments in the direction of no-play. (Clear as mud? Maybe someone else can explain it easier please.)
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