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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Polling Shows Tight Races For Statewide Offices

A poll released by Montana State University-Billings October 28 shows a tight race for Montana's U.S. Senate seat.
Big Sky Poll
A poll released by Montana State University-Billings October 28 shows a tight race for Montana's U.S. Senate seat.

Montana State University-Billings released a poll Wednesday that puts the Montana races for governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House tighter than most previous polls showed.

With Election Day just six days away, the Mountain States Poll puts all three of Montana’s high profile races well within the 4% margin of error. It has the candidates for governor tied. The poll is based on a smaller sample size than others recently published with 546 likely voters called between Oct. 19 and Oct. 24 

MSUB Political Scientist Jason Adkins is director of the Mountain States Poll. 

“As you all know, this election season is tight in Montana, and as we see from the results that we’ll present, it is going to show how tight."

The poll shows Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney each with 45% of the vote. It shows 9% of voters are undecided. 

Libertarian candidate for governor, Lyman Bishop, claimed 2% of voters. 

“We don’t know too much about him," Adkins said. "He isn’t getting much attention in the media. But he can prove spoiler in this race because Libertarian candidates tend to, would vote Republican if there wasn’t a Libertarian candidate in the race.” 

In a different Montana State University poll earlier this month, the governor’s race had the widest gap of any race, with Gianforte leading Cooney within the margin of error by five percentage points and 7% of voters undecided. 

Wednesday’s Mountain States Poll shows incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines apparently trailing Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock by one percentage point in the race for the U.S. Senate, a statistical tie. 

In the race for the U.S. House, Republican State Auditor Matt Rosendale is slightly ahead of Democrat Kathleen Williams by one percentage point in another statistical tie. 

President Donald Trump is shown apparently leading Democrat Joe Biden by seven percentage points, which is much closer than when Trump carried Montana by 20 percentage points in 2016. Of those polled, 52% approve of Trump in the White House. 

The ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana is shown to have ample support, with 54% of voters favoring the initiative and 38% opposing it.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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