Thursday, June 23, 2011

Montana Governor looks like toss up

The race to be the next Governor of Montana looks like a toss up, with the potential candidates to replace Brian Schweitzer largely unknown to voters in the state.

You would usually expect an open seat in a Republican leaning state to be leaning toward the Republicans but Schweitzer's continued popularity is helping Democratic prospects for retaining the office. 52% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 38% who disapprove. He's universally beloved by Democrats (an 88% approval rating) and the 26% of GOP voters who think he's doing a good job represents an unusual level of crossover support.

Primary polling PPP will release next week finds that former Congressman Rick Hill is the early front runner for the Republican nomination, while Attorney General Steve Bullock and Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger are the top choices on the Democratic side. Either of those match ups would start out basically as a tie: Hill leads Bullock 39-37 and leads Bohlinger 40-39. Bohlinger and Bullock both have small leads over Hill with independents, but they get only 8% and 7% of the Republican vote respectively. They'd probably need more crossover support than that in the GOP leaning state to win next fall.

Hill, Bohlinger, and Bullock are the early front runners but none of them are terribly well known, which leaves the race pretty wide open. Only Bohlinger is known to a majority of voters in the state and it's a bare majority- 52% have an opinion about him. 46% are familiar enough with Bullock to have an opinion and that number is 45% for Hill.

We included three other candidates in the general election part of our poll but it basically boils down to the better known Democrats leading the lesser known Republicans, the lesser known Republicans leading the lesser known Democrat, and unsurprisingly the better known Republican leading the lesser known Democrat. It's pretty much all name recognition at this point and the race really hasn't developed.

Full results here


Nick said...

I thought Bollinger was a Republican.

Tom Jensen said...

He is but considering running for Gov as a Dem

Rasmus said...

Bollinger is the only person in Montana who considers Bollinger a Republican. The GOP has thrown him out for running with Schweitzer, the Dems have embraced him. He isn't allowed to take part in the GOP's Lincoln-Reagan dinner, and he's an honored guest at the Dems Mansfield-Metcalfe dinner. So... he's the very definition of a RINO, without the pejorative subtext.

luke brandon said...

Bolinger is a real republican, not a right wing nut job teaparty wacko. Therefore he has much more in common with democrats. The so called republicans that have taken over the MT legislature are really libertarians who know they will only get elected if the pretend to be republicans. The christian right and the libertarians have totally corupted the GOP.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to test Corey Stapleton? He has been consistently polling in second out of the GOP field.

Bob Brigham said...

A Republican being elected under the Democratic Party is not Democrats holding the seat, it is a Republican bypassing the GOP primary because he cares more about winning than staying true to his Party.

Anonymous said...

What are your plans to poll Illinois ?

No poll for the state since November 2010.

It would be nice to see how Obama's doing in his home state where Democrats got really hit last year.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"What are your plans to poll Illinois ?"

None. There's not really anything going on there. Obama obviously has no shot of winning the state by anything less than 20 points.

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