PPP’s new Montana poll finds that Steve Bullock is the most popular politician in the state and he has a small lead over Steve Daines, 46-44. 50% of voters approve of the job Bullock is doing to only 38% who disapprove. By contrast opinion about Daines is much more closely divided, with 43% approving and 42% disapproving of his work in the Senate. Bullock has an 8 point advantage with independents and gets 12% of Republicans while just 5% of Democrats go for Daines. One note of caution for Bullock is that the undecideds for Senate skew strongly Republican- they’re supporting Donald Trump over Joe Biden by 37 points. But the undecideds were structurally Republican in 2018 too and Jon Tester held on to his small lead anyway so there’s no guarantee they will end up moving against Bullock.
In the Governor’s race Greg Gianforte starts out with a 46-42 lead over Mike Cooney, but a lot of that might be name recognition at this point. 87% of voters are familiar enough with Gianforte to have an opinion about him, while only 52% can say the same for Cooney. Gianforte is unpopular- only 40% see him favorably to 47% with a negative opinion of him. But starting out with a 35 point advantage in name recognition, well liked or not, is inevitably helping him to a modest early advantage.
In the House race Kathleen Williams and Matt Rosendale lost their statewide runs in 2018 by comparable margins so it’s perhaps not surprising that they are tied in their head to head match up for 2020, each getting 44%. Williams (+4 at 37/33) has a net favorability rating 10 points better than Rosendale’s (-6 at 34/40) but the Republican orientation of the state means that her personally being better liked than her opponent only gets her to a tie at this point. The undecideds support Trump by 28.
The one Montana race our polling didn’t find especially close is the one for President- Donald Trump leads Joe Biden by 9, 51-42. That still represents an 11 point improvement on the margin for Biden from Hillary Clinton’s 20 point loss in the state the last time around though.
PPP interviewed 1,224 Montana voters on July 9th and 10th. The margin of error is +/-2.8%. Full results here