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New MSU Billings poll shows tight races across Montana

Posted at 11:39 AM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 13:39:41-04

It’s the latest and what could be the last poll on Montana’s election before the general election: The results of the 33rd edition of the Mountain States Poll from Montana State University-Billings were released Wednesday, showing that Montana’s races are extremely close.

In Montana’s battle for U.S. Senate—one of the most-watched and expensive races in the country—Democrat Steve Bullock is narrowly on top Republican incumbent Steve Daines 48-47%, with 5 percent still undecided.

The race for governor was tied—both Demorat Mike Cooney and Republican Greg Gianforte were at 45%, but 9% were undecided.

Republican Matt Rosendale led the poll in the race for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat by a percentage point over Kathleen Williams.

The main takeaway is that all three races are too close to predict.

“Everything is essentially a dead heat or a one-point advantage,” said Dr. Jason Adkins, the MSUB political science professor who directed the poll.

The poll did show strong support for the legalization of marijuana, with 54% saying they have already voted or will vote for it.

Meanwhile, 52% said they oppose LR-130, which removes the authority of cities and counties to regulate firearms. Adkins says many respondents seemed confused about the measure.

As for the race for the president, the poll shows Republican Donald Trump on top of Joe Biden 52-47% in Montana.

The results came from phone calls that MSUB political science students made between Oct. 19 and 24 with 546 likely Montana voters.

“Traditionally it’s been fairly accurate within a few points and definitely within the margin of error,” said Adkins.

Adkins believes the turnout of young voters between the age of 18-34 will have a lot to do with how many of the races actually turn out.

“It can really swing some of these close races not only in Montana but nationwide,” said Adkins.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.