UM Big Sky Poll: Tester Leads Senate Race, Congressional Race Within Margin of Error

October 26, 2018

MISSOULA – The most recent University of Montana Big Sky Poll indicates Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester has a 10-point lead on his Republican challenger, Matt Rosendale, but many still remain undecided. The poll also indicates Montana’s U.S. House race is too close to call.

The poll surveyed 607 registered voters Oct. 10-18. Of those, 533 were classified as likely voters. The survey asked likely voters who they would vote for if the Nov. 6 midterm election were held today.

Forty-nine percent indicated they would vote for Tester for U.S. Senate, while 39 percent chose Rosendale. Two percent indicated support for Libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge, and 10 percent remain undecided. Of these undecided likely voters, 20 percent said they lean toward Rosendale, 10 percent lean toward Tester, and 6 percent lean toward Breckenridge. This represents significant tightening in the race since the Big Sky Poll’s August survey.

In the race for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat, 46 percent sided with Democratic candidate Kathleen Williams, while 45 percent would choose incumbent Republican candidate Greg Gianforte, which is within the poll’s margin of error.

Two percent indicated support for U.S. House Libertarian candidate Elinor Swanson, and 7 percent remain undecided. Of these undecided likely voters, 17 percent said they lean toward Williams, 3 percent lean toward Gianforte, and 2 percent lean toward Swanson.

“The races are tightening as we approach Election Day,” said UM Professor Sara Rinfret, co-director of the Big Sky Poll said. “Compared to our August telephone survey, undecided voters appear to be moving toward the challengers.”

The UM Big Sky Poll defines likely voters as those who said they were very likely or somewhat likely to vote in the November 2018 election. Survey results were weighted by geography and gender to more accurately reflect demographics of the registered voter population in Montana. Results reflect the responses of likely Montana voters only. The margin of error for likely voters is +/-4.33 at a 95 percent confidence level with the same weighting. Use of poll findings requires attribution to the UM Big Sky Poll.

The Big Sky Poll is directed by Rinfret, director of UM’s Master of Public Administration program, and UM marketing Associate Professor Justin Angle, in conjunction with seven graduate seminar students from UM’s MPA and Business Analytics programs. The survey was commissioned with support from UM’s Social Science Research Laboratory and Office of Research and Creative Scholarship. The UM Big Sky Poll will be conducted on an ongoing basis, with more results expected in spring 2019.

Full results from the poll can be found on the UM Big Sky Poll website at http://umt.edu/bigskypoll.

###

Table 1: If the Election Were Held Today, Who Would You Vote For?

U.S. Senate Candidates

Jon Tester

48.9%

Sure about my vote

97%

 

 

Might change my vote

2%

 

 

Don’t know/Unsure

0.4%

Matt Rosendale

38.8%

Sure about my vote

94%

 

 

Might change my vote

5%

 

 

Don’t know/Unsure

1%

Rick Breckenridge

1.9%

Sure about my vote

70%

 

 

Might change my vote

30%

 

 

Don’t know/Unsure

-

Undecided

10.4%

Which candidate are you leaning towards?

Rosendale: 21%

Tester: 10%

Breckenridge: 6%

Don’t know: 64%

 

Table 2: If the Election Were Held Today, Who Would You Vote For?

U.S. Senate Candidates by Demographic

 

 

Female

Male

Urban

Rural

Dem.

Repub.

Indep.

Jon Tester

54%

45%

58%

36%

99%

9%

49%

Matt Rosendale

33%

45%

30%

51%

0%

81%

33%

Rick Breckenridge

1%

3%

2%

2%

0%

1%

4%

Unsure

12%

8%

10%

11%

1%

9%

15%

 

Table 2 Cont’d., Education Level

 

 

Some high-school

High school/GED

Some college

Associate Degree

Bachelor

Degree

Post Bacc.

Other

Jon Tester

40%

44%

42%

26%

53%

66%

0%

Matt Rosendale

40%

46%

47%

54%

37%

24%

33%

Rick Breckenridge

0%

1%

4%

4%

2%

1%

0%

Unsure

20%

9%

8%

15%

9%

9%

67%

 

Table 2 Cont’d., Age

 

 

18-26

27-46

47-66

67 or older

Jon Tester

47%

57%

46%

48%

Matt Rosendale

47%

30%

44%

38%

Rick Breckenridge

0%

2%

2%

2%

Unsure

5%

11%

9%

12%

 

Table 3: If the Election Were Held Today, Who Would You Vote For?

U.S. House of Representatives

Kathleen Williams

45.8%

Sure about my vote

94%

 

 

Might change my vote

5%

 

 

Don’t know/Unsure

1%

Greg Gianforte

45.3%

Sure about my vote

93%

 

 

Might change my vote

7%

 

 

Don’t know/Unsure

1%

Elinor Swanson

1.8%

Sure about my vote

56%

 

 

Might change my vote

44%

 

 

Don’t know/Unsure

-

Undecided

7.1%

Which candidate are you leaning towards?

Williams: 17%

Gianforte: 3%

Swanson: 2%

Don’t know: 78%

 

Table 4: If the Election Were Held Today, Who Would You Vote For?

U.S. House of Representatives by Demographic

 

 

Female

Male

Urban

Rural

Dem.

 

Repub.

 

Indep.

 

Kathleen Williams

51%

42%

54%

34%

97%

7%

44%

Greg Gianforte

38%

53%

36%

59%

1%

90%

41%

Elinor Swanson

2%

2%

3%

1%

1%

0%

5%

Unsure

9%

3%

7%

7%

1%

3%

10%

 

Table 4 Cont’d., Education Level

 

 

Some high-school

High school/

GED

Some college

Associate Degree

Bachelor

Degree

Post Bacc.

Other

Kathleen Williams

40%

44%

33%

22%

52%

62%

0%

Greg Gianforte

40%

51%

54%

62%

41%

32%

67%

Elinor Swanson

0%

1%

3%

2%

3%

1%

0%

Unsure

20%

5%

10%

13%

5%

5%

33%

 

Table 4 Cont’d., Age

 

 

18-26

27-46

47-66

67 or older

Kathleen Williams

42%

53%

43%

45%

Greg Gianforte

53%

37%

49%

45%

Elinor Swanson

0%

6%

1%

1%

Unsure

5%

5%

7%

8%

 

This release is online at:

SR/cbs
State
102518poll

Contact: Sara Rinfret, director, UM Master in Public Administration Program, 406-243-4702, sara.rinfret@mso.umt.edu.