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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Poll shows housing, economy are top issues for Montana voters

A new poll from Emerson College gives insights into Montana voters’ views of candidates and issues heading into election season. Notably it shows a tight race for the U.S. Senate seat.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican frontrunner Tim Sheehy are in a statistical tie, according to the poll.

1,000 Montanans participated from late February to early March.

Massachusetts based Emerson College polling shows 44% of respondents favor Tester and 42% favor Sheehy, with a margin of error of 3% in either direction. Fourteen percent of respondents said they're undecided.

Jeremy Johnson, chair of Carroll College's political science department, said that margin is consistent with Tester's previous races and Montana's current political environment.

"Tester is very well known in Montana. But, you know, statewide generally, Republicans have been winning recently," Johnson said.

Montana appears to be holding on to its independent streak.

The poll found that 14% of 2024 Trump voters plan to split their tickets and also vote for Tester. Political newcomer Sheehy has been endorsed by Trump.

The poll found that President Joe Biden's age raised doubts for 68% of Montana respondents. A little more than half were not concerned about Trump's criminal indictments.

On Montanans views of their chief executive, the poll shows 37% of respondents approve of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, 25% are neutral. Gianforte faces Democrat Ryan Busse in his reelection campaign.

Respondents 40 and younger identified affordable housing as a top issue in the state, while those 40 and older pointed to the economy.

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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