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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

New Poll Shows Gianforte Leading Williams In Montana House Race

Montana U.S. House candidates Greg Gianforte and Kathleen Williams.
(Williams: Olga Kreimer/MTPR)
Montana U.S. House candidates Greg Gianforte and Kathleen Williams.

A newly released pollsays Republican Greg Gianforte has a 7-point lead over Democrat Kathleen Williams in the race for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House.

The poll of nearly 2,000 voters was conducted between mid-September and early October by MTN News and Montana State University. It shows Gianforte’s lead over Williams is outside the margin of error, giving him a decisive lead.

But more than 8.5 percent of the poll’s respondents said they didn’t know who would vote for yet, indicating Kathleen Williams may be able to eke out a win on Election Day if she can swing the current undecided voters over to her side.

“We are seeing what we’ve known for some time; that this is going to be a close race,” says Andrew Markoff, Williams’ campaign director.

Markoff saysa more recent survey of voters conducted by Montana State University, Billings shows the race is much closer, within the margin of error. It gives Gianforte only a 3-point lead.

“And so I’m confident that the race has narrowed steadily over time,” Markoff says. 

MSU-B surveyed 471 likely voters in Montana from early to mid-October.

The larger MTN-MSU poll shows Williams’ edge over Gianforte is in liberal, young and college-educated voters. Williams will continue attempting to tap into that group, which is notoriously difficult to get out to the polls, during a rally for Montana Democrats at Montana State University with U.S. Sen. Jon Tester later this week.

Independent voters, according to the poll, also favor Williams. However, independents don’t see her as favorably as they do her democratic counterpart this year, Jon Tester.

The poll showed women are nearly 6 percentage points more likely to vote for Williams and men are more than 20 points more likely to vote for Gianforte.

Greg Gianforte's campaign declined to be interviewed for this story. In an email, Mr. Gianforte said the only poll that matters is Election Day.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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