Indecision is the main findings for many upcoming primary races in Montana and Wyoming according to the results of the 32nd Mountain States Poll conducted by Montana State University Billings. The renamed poll (formerly known as the MSUB Poll) surveyed voters in Montana, and for the first time, Wyoming.
Greg Gianforte is leading the pack among contenders for the Republican nomination for Montana governor with 33 percent support, with Tim Fox garnering 25 percent support, and Al Olszewski at 9 percent, with the 32 percent of respondents who indicated they will vote in the Republican primary next June undecided. The Democratic race is unsettled with 62 percent undecided, 19 percent supporting Mike Cooney, Whitney Williams garnering 11 percent support, Casey Schreiner at 6 percent support, and Riley Neill at 2 percent.
“With eight months to go until the primary election in Montana, 10 months until the Wyoming primaries, and the Wyoming Democratic Presidential caucus in the spring, voters just aren’t thinking much about many of the races,” said Dr. Jason M. Adkins, assistant professor of political science and director of the Mountain States Poll.
In Wyoming, Liz Cheney is leading the pack of declared and undeclared contenders to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Mike Enzi with 37 percent support, with Cynthia Lummis at 17 percent, Mark Armstrong at 4 percent, Foster Friess at 3 percent, and Jillian Balow at less than 1 percent. Undecided voters among Wyoming Republicans lead the pack at 38 percent. Among Democrats, Dave Freudenthal leads the pack of declared or potential candidates with 36 percent support, with Dave Trauner at 12 percent and John Hastert at 8 percent. Undecided voters top the Democratic standings at 44 percent.
For the Montana U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines, potential candidate Steve Bullock has the support of 59 percent of voters who said they would vote in the Democratic primary compared to 1 percent for Wilmot Collins, with 39 percent undecided.
Elizabeth Warren is leading the pack among Democratic voters in both states with 40 percent support in the Montana primary and 82 percent support in the Wyoming caucus. However, the number of Democratic voters in both states is too small to generalize the results. President Donald Trump, who faces a primary challenge from three Republicans, comfortably leads the pack in both states with 88 percent of Republican primary voters in Montana indicating they would vote for him and 91 percent of Wyoming Republican caucus attendees stating they would vote for him.
Respondents were also asked questions such as support for the ongoing House of Representative impeachment inquiry of President Trump, approval of President Trump’s performance in office, and approval for various other elected officials in Montana and Wyoming. Regarding the impeachment inquiry, 59 percent of Montana voters oppose the impeachment inquiry, 33 percent support it, and 8 percent are undecided. In Wyoming, 77 percent oppose the inquiry, 21 percent support it, and only 2 percent are undecided.
Other highlights from the Mountain States Poll:
* 54 percent of Montana voters approve of President Trump, 36 percent disapprove, and 10 percent are undecided. 75 percent of Wyoming voters approve of President Trump, 19 percent disapprove, and 6 percent are undecided.
* 42 percent approve of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, 41 percent disapprove, and 16 percent are undecided.
* 73 percent approve of Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, 5 percent disapprove, and 22 percent are undecided.
* 49 percent approve of Montana Sen. Steve Daines, 35 percent disapprove, and 16 percent are undecided.
The poll results from a statewide random sample telephone survey of 215 likely adult Montanan voters and 177 likely voters from Wyoming conducted from October 7-12, 14, and 16, 2019, in the Market Research Lab on campus. The margin of error for the Montana sample is 6.7 percent and the margin of error for the Wyoming sample is 7.4 percent.
“Again, it is very early in the campaign season,” Adkins said. “Some candidates have not formally declared, while others will drop out. There is still a long way to go.”
The poll was conducted with the help of students in Dr. Adkins “Media, Public Opinion and Polling” and “Introduction to Comparative Government” courses, as well as from Jessie Perius’ (business instructor) “Sales and Sales Marketing” course.
For more information, please contact Dr. Jason Adkins at 657-2933 or email jason.adkins1 @msubillings.edu.