Congressman Greg Gianforte Leads In Race For Montana's Lone U.S. House Race

Oct 24, 2018

The three candidates seeking Montana's lone U.S. House seat faced off in a debate September 29, 2018 sponsored by the Montana Television Network and Yellowstone Public Radio
Credit screen capture/MTN

A snapshot of registered Montana voters found Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte with a lead over his Democratic challenger Kathleen Williams. Williams could still pull off an upset, says MTN’s chief political analyst and MSU political scientist David Parker.

http://www.mtpr.org/post/visualized-incumbent-fundraising-advantage-montana-s-congressional-races
Credit MSU-MTN Poll

Parker says Gianforte’s just over 7% lead is above the poll’s margin of error.

“But any time you’re under 50% which Greg Gianforte is, he can’t be comfortable with that at all,” said Parker. There’s a high number of ‘don’t knows.’”

The number of respondents to the MSU-MTN Poll who answered ‘Don’t Know” or “Other” totaled nearly 10%.

“So this race is still in flux and still in play,” he said. “I do think Greg is in a good position, but Kathleen could pull an upset. She did it once. Maybe she can do it again.”

A reference to Williams’ win  over a large field of Democrats in the June primary election.

The question is how married women, independents and others will vote, as they potentially could bring Williams the victory.

Parker says one unknown factor in this race is Gianforte’s assault on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the day before the 2016 special election. Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and the issue has come up in this year’s campaign ads.

Parker says it appears that incident has not dampened Gianforte’s support among both lower educated voters and men. Even President Donald Trump praised Gianforte for the incident during his 2 recent campaign stops in Montana. But Parker says the question will be whether it will influence women.

“And I think there’s growth potential for Kathleen Williams,” he said. “If enough women show up and independents show up and they’re upset about the assault and they vote because of that.”

Still Parker said it’s a double edged sword, “it might help among men, but women tend to vote in slightly higher rates.”

He notes unlike in the U.S. Senate race where Democratic incumbent Jon Tester has support  from both younger and older voters, this snap shot says Williams’ appeal is with younger Montanans, but they tend to be an unreliable voting block.

Early voting is underway in Montana. Election day is November 6, 2018.

A snapshot of registered Montana voters found Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte with a lead over his Democratic challenger Kathleen Williams. But as Jackie Yamanaka reports from Bozeman, a political scientist says Williams could still pull off an upset.

MTN’s chief political analyst and MSU political scientist David Parker says Gianforte’s just over 7% lead is above the poll’s margin of error.

“But any time you’re under 50% which Greg Gianforte is (47.6%) he can’t be comfortable with that at all,” said Parker. There’s a high number of ‘don’t knows.’”

The number of respondents to the MSU-MTN Poll who answered ‘Don’t Know” or “other” totaled nearly 10%.

“So this race is still in flux and still in play,” he said. “I do think Greg is in a good position, but Kathleen could pull an upset. She did it once. Maybe she can do it again.”

A reference to Williams’ win  over a large field of Democrats in the June primary election.

The question is how married women, independents and others will vote, as they potentially could bring Williams the victory.

Parker says one unknown factor in this race is Gianforte’s assault on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the day before the 2016 special election. Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and the issue has come up in this year’s campaign ads.

AD: I’m Kathleen Williams and I approve this message. (sound) Greg Gianforte (I’m sick and tired of you guys. Get the hell out of here) Assault and Lies. This is not who we are (fades)

Parker says it appears that incident has not dampened Gianforte’s support among both lower educated voters and men. Even President Donald Trump praised Gianforte for the incident during his 2 recent campaign stops in Montana. But Parker says the question will be whether it will influence women.

“And I think there’s growth potential for Kathleen Williams,” he said. “If enough women show up and independents show up and they’re upset about the assault and they vote because of that.”

Still Parker said it’s a double edged sword, “it might help among men, but women tend to vote in slightly higher rates.”

He notes unlike in the U.S. Senate race where Democratic incumbent Jon Tester has support  from both younger and older voters, this snap shot says Williams’ appeal is with younger Montanans, but they tend to be an unreliable voting block.

Early voting is underway in Montana. Election day is November 6, 2018.