Democrat Steve Bullock has pulled ahead in the race to be Montana's next Governor. He's at 44% to 39% for Republican opponent Rick Hill. The candidates were tied at 39% on PPP's last poll of the contest in the spring.
Montanans have a much more positive opinion of Bullock than they do of Hill. 43% of voters see him favorably to 27% with an unfavorable opinion. Bullock's name recognition has increased by 25 points since our last poll and he's gone from a +13 spread to at a +16 one. Hill meanwhile continues to be unpopular with 32% of voters rating him positively and 39% holding a negative opinion.
Bullock's up 41-34 with independents. He also has his party more unified around him with 83% of Democrats planning to vote for him compared to 75% of Republicans who are standing with Hill. 7% of Republicans are planning to vote for one of the third party candidates in the race while only 3% of Democrats are. It's a close contest but for now Bullock has the advantage.
Montana's constitutional amendment setting it as state policy that 'corporations are not people' has a wide lead for passage right now with 53% of voters saying they support it to 24% who are opposed. Democrats (67/13) and independents (59/25) both stand strong behind the 'corporations are not people' movement, while Republicans are pretty evenly divided with 32% of them supporting it and 35% opposed.
Democrats might not need Schweitzer to run to hold that seat though. Max Baucus has seen a significant improvement in his poll numbers over the last year. Last December only 37% of voters approved of the job he was doing to 51% who disapproved. Now he's seen a net 12 point improvement in his numbers and finds 45% of voters giving him good marks to 47% who remain unhappy. He would lead a generic GOP foe 48-42, only a touch worse than Schweitzer.
We continue to find that Schweitzer would lead Baucus in a hypothetical primary challenge. The spread is 40-36, more narrow than other times we've tested that question. However it's worth noting that the sample size of Democratic primary voters was only 200 this time, giving it a pretty high margin of error. Voters identifying themselves as 'very liberal' prefer Schweitzer by a 63-15 margin, but moderates go for Baucus by a 47-25 spread.
Full results here