Updated: Republican Greg Gianforte Leads By 5 in Montana At-Large House Race
Welcome to the first campaign poll result from Change Research! Change Research was founded by two former LinkedIn data scientists, to make public opinion polling accessible to candidates at every level. Change Research finds voters online (cheap!) and uses data science to ensure a representative sample (accurate!).
Our first public poll result shows a tight race for Montana’s Special Election for a U.S. House seat (MT-AL). It’s a 1888 person online poll, and it gives Republican Greg Gianforte a 6-point lead over Democrat Rob Quist, 49–44. Support for Libertarian Mark Wicks stands at 7%.
Among those who say they’ll “definitely” vote, 43% are certain to vote for Gianforte, 40% will certainly vote for Quist, and 4% will certainly vote for Libertarian Mark Wicks. 5% of definite voters are likely to vote for Gianforte, 4% say they’ll probably vote for Quist, and 2% will probably vote for Wicks.
Gianforte has a larger lead among those who aren’t sure they’ll vote.
Montanans were asked about the most important role of the federal government. 22% cited giving everyone access to affordable health care, with 88% of them planning to vote for Quist. 18% said the most important role of the federal government is to prevent terrorism, with 79% planning to vote for Gianforte.
Montanans were also asked about the most important role of the state government. 26% cited creating an environment where businesses can thrive, with 76% of them planning to vote for Gianforte. 23% said the most important role of the state government is to improve schools, with 73% planning to vote for Quist.
22% of Montanans cited Fox News as their primary news source; 92% of them plan to vote for Gianforte. 11% cited NPR, with 93% of those planning to vote for Quist.
9% of those who voted for Governor Steve Bullock against Gianforte in the 2016 race for Montana governor plan to vote for Gianforte this time around. Under 1% of those who voted for Gianforte for governor plan to vote for Quist in this election.
Trump voters favor Gianforte 85%-5%, while Clinton voters favor Quist 97%-1%. 99% of Clinton voters say they will “definitely” vote, while 91% of Trump voters intend to vote.
When asked to rate President Trump’s performance on a scale of 1–10, 34% of Montanans give Donald Trump’s performance a 1. 96% of those voters plan to cast a vote for Rob Quist. 35% of Montanans give Trump an 8, 9, or 10, and 90% of them plan to vote for Gianforte.
Montanans are closely split on the issue of who should manage public lands. 43% say the federal government should manage them, with 70% of them supporting Quist. 40% would like to see the federal government transfer lands to the state, with 75% of them supporting Gianforte
34% of Montanans said they’d like to see members of Congress who are “Independents who aren’t tied to leadership on either side.” Quist has the most support among this group: 45%, with Gianforte at 34% and Wicks at 17%.
33% of Montanans want “Strong conservatives, who will stick up for conservative principles no matter what,” overwhelmingly siding with Gianforte; 22% want “Strong progressives, who will stick up for progressive principles no matter what,” overwhelmingly siding with Quist.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock gets a wide range of ratings, with 29% rating him between 1–3 (out of 10) and 29% rating him between 8 and 10. Rob Quist has over 80% support among those who rate Bullock 8 or above, while Greg Gianforte has over 80% support among those who rate him 3 or below.
Quist leads Gianforte by over 15 points among women, while Gianforte leads Quist by over 30 points among men. Mark Wicks has twice as much support among men as among women (10% vs. 5%).
The survey was based on a sample of 1888 registered voters, conducted May 20–23 online. Results were weighted to line up with Montana’s demographics with respect to age, gender, and political partisanship. We’re continuing to get responses, so we’ll tabulate them as they come in.
We’re also releasing the semi-raw data for those who like numbers more than words.
This post has been edited from its original version. With 1540 people sampled, Gianforte was leading Quist by six points. With an additional 348 respondents, the margin has tightened to 5 points.