Experimental studies were conducted to enhance the oil recovery by a surfactant-polymer binary combinational flooding system. The surfactant-polymer binary combinational flooding was obtained by mixing the surfactants with the poly(AM-NVP-AS)-1 which was an anti-temperature and salt-resistance tercopolymer and successfully synthesized via free radical polymerization using acrylamide (AM), N-vinyl pyrrolidone (NVP), allyl sulfonate (AS) as raw materials. The initiator was redox system including water-soluble azo compound (AIBA·2HCl) and sodium bisulfite (NaHSO3). Petroleum carboxylate dodecyl dibasic carbonylic acid sodium (C12DAS) and carboxyl betaine dodecyl dimethyl betaine (C12DB) were selected in this article. Compared with the surfactant-HPAM, the surfactant-poly(AM-NVP-AS)-1 binary combinational system showed higher apparent viscosity and lower interfacial tension at high temperature and salinity conditions as the result of a better capacity of anti-temperature, salt-resistance, and swept volume. The recovery could enhance over 17% based on the core flooding test under the mineralization of 10,000 mg/L at 65°C. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2014, 131, 39984.