Montana Poll: Fewer Than Half Knew Montana Once Elected a Female to U.S. Congress

March 25, 2019

Big Sky Poll logoMISSOULA – The University of Montana’s Big Sky Poll recently launched a new online poll and asked participants, “From what you know, has Montana ever elected a female representative to the U.S. Congress?”

Forty-nine percent of respondents answered correctly – yes. Jeannette Rankin was elected in 1916 as the first female member of Congress.

Each iteration of the Big Sky Poll includes a question about Montana trivia. The Fall 2018 Poll included the question, “Can you tell me the name of the highest natural point in Montana?” Twenty-two percent of respondents answered correctly – Granite Peak. In the Spring 2018 UM Big Sky Poll, respondents were asked, “Can you tell me the words displayed on the ribbon of the Montana state seal?” Thirty percent of participants responded correctly with “Oro y Plata,” which is Spanish for “gold and silver.”

“The Big Sky Poll is an applied learning experience for our students to gain insight on Montanan’s perceptions about a host of issues,” said Sara Rinfret, co-director of UM’s Big Sky Poll. “Asking a Montana trivia question in each poll allows us to give back to the deep roots and tradition of our state.”

The Big Sky Poll was conducted online Feb. 21-March 1, with 293 registered voters in the state of Montana. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.72 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Use of poll findings requires attribution to the UM Big Sky Poll.

The poll collects and reports information about Montanans’ perceptions of local, state and federal issues. The Big Sky Poll is led by Rinfret, director of UM’s Master of Public Administration Program, and Justin Angle, UM associate professor of marketing, in conjunction with eight seminar students from UM’s MPA and business analytics programs.

The survey was commissioned with support from the UM Social Science Research Laboratory. The UM Big Sky Poll will be conducted on an ongoing basis, with its next iteration in Fall 2019.

Full results from the poll can be found on the UM Big Sky Poll website at


Contact: Sara Rinfret, chair, UM Department of Public Administration and Policy, 406-243-4702,