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New poll shows Tester, Gianforte on top as election nears

Posted at 4:55 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 19:01:11-04
A new poll shows the incumbents in Montana’s two headline races holding leads. (MTN News photo)

BILLINGS – A new poll released Tuesday shows the incumbents in Montana’s two headline races, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Greg Gianforte, holding leads.

Like the MTN poll released Monday, the Montana Poll, commissioned by Montana State University- Billings, showed Democrat Tester leading Republican Matt Rosendale in the race for U.S. Senate, but by an even wider margin of 47% to 38%.

Sen. Tester seems to be dominating with likely women voters—something that mirrored the MTN poll.

In the race for U.S. House, Republican Rep. Gianforte had a 44% to 41% advantage over Democrat Kathleen Williams with likely voters in the Montana poll.

The poll showed that both the Democrats had near unanimous support from their party– while neither Rep. Gianforte nor Rosendale seem to be getting full support from those who identify themselves as Republicans.

In this 31st edition of the Montana Poll, 471 likely voters were surveyed from across the state with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

There seems to be a lot of support for initiative 185 with 52% of likely voters saying they would support additional taxes on tobacco products and expanding Medicaid, compared to 39% who said they oppose the measure.

On Initiative 186, which would put a ban on new hardrock mines unless mine operators provide clear and convincing evidence that the mine will not require perpetual treatment of water polluted by contaminants, 50% support the proposal, 30% oppose, and 20% are undecided.

Dr. Jason Adkins, an MSUB political science professor, directed the research with help from other faculty and students.

“The biggest surprise is the Tester-Rosendale split — the nine point lead. Most polls show it as much closer. We saw the Montana State Bozeman poll show a three-point lead yesterday. But as you can see if you look at undecided voters, most of those appear to be swinging towards Trump which I think would lead them to vote for Rosendale,” said Adkins.

The report also takes a look at the popularity among likely voters of other politicians, including Montana Gov. Steve Bulloch and President Donald Trump as well as issues such as abortion and immigration. It also breaks the numbers down by age, gender, religion, and political preference.

Read the entire report by clicking here.

Reporting by Russ Riesinger for MTN News