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Post-election Survey Planned To Better Understand Montana Voters

Montana Free Press

A post-election poll is planned immediately after the November 6th election to better understand how Montanans feel about their elected officials and the issues.

Political scientist David Parker of Montana State University hears from people who are skeptical about political polls. He sees the issue differently. Parker likens it to a doctor sending someone to a lab go get their blood drawn.

“It’s the same idea,” he said. “You take a sample of a population, a sample of the blood in your system - and you do certain things to make sure that sample isn’t skewed. You don’t drink or you don’t eat before. Well guess what the same thing here. We try to do certain things to make sure the sample’s not skewed.”

Credit Jackie Yamanaka/YPR
David Parker, MTN's chief political analyst and MSU political scientist, and Mike Dennison, MTN's chief political reporter, chat on the KBZK set before a taping of Face The State to feature the MSU-MTN Poll.

Parker worked with numerous political scientists at MSU and elsewhere to on the just released MSU-MTN Poll. It was a snapshot from registered Montana voters from late September to early October. Some 10,400 Montanans across the state were randomly selected and mailed a survey with a postage paid return envelope.  Nearly 20% of the surveys were returned.

Parker says while it takes longer to gather results from such a survey, at the same time he’s pleased with the high response rate. He’s hoping for a similar outcome from the post-election survey.

“So no matter how you feel, if you get one of the surveys please return it so we can learn about Montana and the issues that are important,” Parker said. “(It) improves our understanding of Montana and holds everybody accountable – Democrats, Independents and Republicans.”

The team plans to mail out the post-election poll either on Election Day or the day after, while the election is still fresh in the minds of voters.