Montana Governor Steve Bullock
LIVINGSTON, MT - OCTOBER 03: Montana democratic Governor Steve Bullock campaigns for the senate at a drive in rally on October 3, 2020 in Livingston, Montana. Bullock is challenging incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) for a seat in the U.S. Senate. (Photo by William Campbell/Getty Images)

With two weeks to go until the election, a once safe Senate seat for the Republicans is a toss-up today.  The latest PoliticalIQ poll shows Republican Senator Steve Daines attracting 49% of the vote the Democratic challenger Steve Bullock is two-points back at 47%. 

That 2-point lead is well within the survey’s margin of error. The PoliticalIQ poll, conducted by Scott Rasmussen, shows 1% of Montana Likely Voters plan to vote for someone other than the two leading Senate contenders, with 4% unsure.

The Senate race became competitive the earlier in the year when Bullock, Montana’s current Governor, threw his hat into the ring. It is now close enough that it could go either way, with the result likely dependent on voter turnout.  Given the difficulty of projecting turnout amidst an unprecedented pandemic, Rasmussen’s PoliticalIQ polls release three separate turnout models – Baseline, Strong Republican Turnout, and Strong Democratic Turnout.  This approach incorporates how modest differences in turnout can significantly impact election results.

In the case of the Montana Senate race, a Strong Republican Turnout would result in Daines widening his lead over Bullock to 50% to 45%.  But a Strong Democratic Turnout results in Bullock taking a slight edge, 48% to 47%.

A win by Bullock in Montana would suggest a very good night overall for the Democrats. In a sense, Montana is the opposite of the national partisan dynamic. Nationwide, the range of likely outcomes goes from a very narrow victory for President Trump to a fairly comfortable victory for former Vice President Joe Biden. In Montana, depending on voter turnout, the range stretches from a fairly comfortable victory for the GOP to a narrow victory for the Democrat.

PoliticalIQ will be releasing new Battleground State Polls every weekday between now and Election Day.  In the 2014 race for Senate, Daines defeated State Representative Amanda Curtis 58% to 40%.

Methodology

The survey of 800 Likely Montana Voters was conducted by Scott Rasmussen from October 15-18, 2020. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Respondents were randomly selected from a list of Registered Voters and contacted via text or through a process of Random Digital Engagement. The Likely Voter sample was derived from a larger sample of Registered Voters using screening questions and other factors. Certain quotas were applied to the larger sample and lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, and political party to reasonably reflect the state’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.

Forty-two percent (42%) of the Likely Voters either identify as Republican or Lean Republican. Thirty-two percent (32%) either identify as a Democrat or Lean Democrat. Twenty-six percent (26%) do not identify with either major party.

The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3.5 percentage points.