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MSUB Poll Finds Homelessness Major Community Issue

One of three tent camps that were cleared from Bozeman Pond in June.
Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio Station
Homeless tent found in Bozeman.

Montana residents believe homelessness is a major problem in their communities, according to the results of the Mountain States Poll conducted by MSU-Billings.

The polling was conducted by the Media, Public Opinion and Polling Class over the first two weeks of October and including opinions on the Tik Tok ban, transgender care, elected officials and homelessness.

MSUB Professor and Poll Director Hope Dewell Gentry said the pollsters called over 49-hundred numbers.

“(Its used through a process called random digit dialing which is to make sure that it’s done through a scientific manner. So that way we can assure true representation of the Montana population,” said Dewell Gentry.

Seventy percent of the 657 people who responded to the poll think that homelessness is a problem in their community, compared to 25% who said it is not. Fifty-four percent also do not think their communities had the systems in place to address homelessness.

In the political arena, 45 % of the surveyed Montanans approved the state’s ban on TikTok, 29% disapproved and 22 % neither approved or disapproved.

Respondents are strongly supportive of the Montana Legislature’s ban on medical gender affirming care for transgender minors, with 61% in support, 21 % against the ban and 16 % neither approved or disapproved.

Of the state’s political leaders, Governor Greg Gianforte got the largest approval rating at 49 %, followed by Senator Steve Daines at 40%, Senator Jon Tester at 39%, Representative Ryan Zinke at 36%, and Representative Matt Rosendale at 32%.

The poll’s margin of error is 3.82%. Over 4,900 numbers were called and there were 657 valid responses.

This is the 36th edition of the Mountain States Poll, launched by Dr. Craig Wilson 1989 at then Eastern Montana College. The name was changed in 2019.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.