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Montana 2020: Trump Holds Strong as Biden Coalesces Support

A new Emerson College poll of Montana finds President Donald Trump at 53% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 42% with 5% undecided. When undecided voters were asked who they would choose they broke for Biden nearly 3:1 and tightened the race from an 11 point margin down to 9. 

Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson College Poll found “Trump support nearly mirrors his 2016 results but in a two-horse race Biden looks to be closing the gap by picking up the voters who went third party in 2016, however, there is likely a ceiling to how close he can get”.




The US Senate race appears competitive with incumbent Republican Steve Daines leading with 50% support. His Democratic opponent, Governor Steve Bullock. is at 44%. Of the remaining voters, 5% find themselves undecided. Independents are breaking for Bullock, with 53% support. 



Kimball points out that “Montana could be a bellwether of sorts to see if Gov. Bullock can buck the trend of 2016 when Trump states went Republican in Senate races while Clinton states went Democratic”.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, 62% of Montana voters plan to vote by mail. Democrats overwhelmingly plan to do so, with 88% saying they will vote by mail. Republicans on the other hand plan to be showing up at the ballot box this year, with 57% saying they plan to vote in person. Similar to the Emerson national Poll in July, of those who plan to vote in person, 87% are supporting Trump, and of those voting by mail, 61% plan to support Biden. 




Voters who consider themselves Independents are breaking for Biden, with 49% to 39% supporting the President. 

Trump is leading amongst men, with 64% support, while Biden has 52% support from women. Biden’s strongest age group is with younger voters, with 52% of 18-29-year-olds supporting him. Trump is strongest with 30-49-year-olds, with 60% supporting him. Trump is also strongest in the rural areas of the state with 63% support.

The President holds an approval rating of 52% and disapproval of 44% in Big Sky Country. Republicans give the President 93% approval, inversely, 90% of Democrats disapprove of the President. More than half of Independent voters, 58%, disapprove of Trump’s job performance. 

Republicans are also leading in the Gubernatorial race, with Republican candidate Congressman Greg Gianforte at 50% support. Democratic candidate Mike Cooney is at 41% support with 7% of voters undecided. Independents in Montana are breaking again for the Democratic candidate with 50% supporting Cooney and 9% undecided. 




Caller ID

The Montana Emerson College poll was conducted July 31-August 2, 2020. The sample consisted of likely registered voters, n=584, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/-4 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, and ethnicity based on 2016 voter turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a list of 30,000 mobile numbers provided by Aristotle Inc. A SMS-text to web was sent July 31 to 15,000 numbers and on August 1 to an additional 15,000 numbers. Responses were open until noon August 2.


Key Takeaways
  • Undecided voters break for Biden nearly 3:1
  • Trump holds 2016 support, Biden able to pick up those who went third party
  • Senate and Gubernatorial race both close as Republican candidates lead with 50% support each
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Trump support nearly mirrors his 2016 results but in a two horse race Biden looks to be closing the gap by picking up the voters who went third par...
Spencer KimballDirector of Emerson College Polling
Montana could be a bellwether of sorts to see if Gov. Bullock can buck the trend of 2016 when Trump states went Republican in Senate races while Cl...
Spencer KimballDirector of Emerson College Polling
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Spencer Kimball
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