Montana is quite the action hotspot this election season! According to Civiqs’ first poll of the state, we have a 1) competitive presidential race, 2) a competitive governors race, 3) a competitive Senate race, and 4) a competitive House race (Montana only has one House seat).
For a state that impeached dunderhead Donald Trump won 56-36 in 2016, this is a remarkable turn of events.
Montana isn’t a state averse to electing Democrats. Its outgoing governor is a Democrat, the governor before him was a Democrat. That outgoing governor, Steve Bullock, is now the Democratic Senate nominee, and if victorious, he would join another Democrat, Jon Tester, in representing his state in the Senate.
It is averse to electing Democrats to its single House district, and to the White House. Bill Clinton won it in 1992 … with 38% of the vote. Ross Perot got 26% that year. Before that, the last Democrat to win it was FDR in 1944, though Barack Obama made it close in 2008, losing by only 11,000 votes to John McCain, 49.5-47.25.
But throw all that out, because this year, Montana is competitive up and down the ballot!
|President||Donald Trump (R)||49|
|Joe Biden (D)||45|
|Governor||Greg Gianforte (R)||47|
|Mike Cooney (D)||44|
|Senate||Steve Daines (R)||49|
|Steve Bullock (D)||47|
|House||Matt Rosendale (R)||49|
|Kathleen Williams (D)||47|
We are consistently seeing a direct 1-2 point correlation between Trump’s job approval ratings, and his percent of the two-candidate presidential vote. Our Civiqs tracker pegs Trump’s support in Montana at 47-50, and there he is, with 49% of the vote.
So if the election was held today, odds are he (and his party-mates on the ballot) would hold on with the wins. The problem for Trump and his party is that there’s no indication that he’s hit rock bottom. Look at the trends:
Trump’s coronavirus and Black Lives Matter woes extend to Montana, and it’s reflected in the state’s sudden battleground status.
That’s why you can look at the 50-state job approval number and get a real good sense of where the competitive states live:
And yes, that means that there are a lot more competitive states than we expected heading into this thing.
Of course, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden doesn’t need Montana’s three electoral votes. But by becoming competitive, it makes it easier for the rest of the Democratic slate. There’s a huge difference between overcoming a 20-point deficit, as we saw in 2016, and the kind of deficit you can count on one hand. As you see, the down-ballot Democrats all do better than Biden, and that’ll likely carry through on Election Day. So the more Trump screws it up, and he's screwing up plenty, the better our chances to emerge with the clean sweep.
Civiqs surveyed 873 registered voters in Montana from July 11-13, 2020. The survey results are weighted by age, race, gender, education, and party identification to be representative of the population of registered voters in Montana. The general design effect due to weighting is 1.61. The survey has a margin of error of ±4.2% at the 95% confidence level, accounting for the design effect.