As the clock ticks down for the next special congressional election, two polling companies have released new data out of Montana.
Up first is Gravis Marketing, which polled the race on April 27th and again on May 4th. In the former survey, they found Republican candidate Greg Gianforte leading Democratic candidate Rob Quist by thirteen points, but in the latter, his lead appears to have been reduced to just a 45% to 37% margin. One caveat here: in the recent survey, Gravis polled half as many voters as they had for the April 27th round.
Lending some weight to Gravis is a release by the firm Gary-Hart-Yang on behalf of the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic organization. It found Gianforte with just a six point lead, beating Quist 49% to 43%. Caveat here is the lean of the backer, but with special elections usually scaring off many of your public pollsters, I suspect we’ll see more such releases from both sides.
President Donald Trump won Montana easily in 2016, beating Hillary Clinton by over twenty points. But it’s an off year special featuring increased out-party enthusiasm, so we’ll probably see what we’ve already witnessed in a lot of races so far: increased Democratic turnout, decreased Republican turnout, and a closer-than-first-anticipated election. It remains a tougher state for the Democrats: while they have won statewide offices on the regular in Big Sky country, the House seat has eluded them for decades. Still, with the quirks of a special, an upset isn’t off the table.
We will be keeping our eye on this and every other Congressional special election in the coming weeks. Election day in Montana is May 25th.