Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group, surveying for the Kathleen Williams campaign (6/24-28; 500 MT likely general election voters), finds both Ms. Williams (D) and State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) in a dead heat tie at 47% apiece for Montana’s at-large open congressional seat. This survey, however, disagrees with last week’s University of Montana data (6/17-26; 517 MT registered voters) that posted Mr. Rosendale to a relatively strong 45-37% advantage.
A story in the June 6th Business Insider publication reports that mail voting was handled well in certain states for last Tuesday’s primary, and poorly in others. Getting good marks, according to the BI story, are Iowa, Michigan, and Montana. Doing poorly, where voters were not sent their ballots, receiving incorrect ballots for their districts, or facing crowded polling stations for those who chose to vote in person, were the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
With voter turnout being way down in Pennsylvania, for example (34% under 2016 Democratic primary participation totals and 55% for Republicans), a great deal of the reasoning for such a steep fall off could be that thousands of voters simply weren’t well enough informed that the April 28th election had been moved to June 2nd. We will be hearing much more about the all-mail experience while undoubtedly seeing calls for increasing mail options for this year’s general election.
A total of 24 states will host nomination elections in June, ten of which are postponed from earlier dates. Tomorrow is the biggest day, with ten states holding elections. Eight will vote in their presidential primaries (Iowa and Idaho held their presidential nominating votes earlier in the year).
June 2nd hosts regular state primaries on their originally scheduled date in Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has postponed the presidential and state primary to July 7th, thus opting out of its traditional early June nomination date because of Coronavirus precautions.
A presidential stand-alone event is occurring in Rhode Island tomorrow, necessary since their regular state primary is scheduled as one of the latest in the country on September 15th. Postponed state primaries from earlier in the year are happening in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
The Montana state Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling allowing county clerks to receive ballots after the June 2nd primary election so long as they are postmarked on Election Day. The ruling means the state returns to their long-held practice of requiring all ballots to be received by Election Day.
Currently, 22 states have adopted some type of election law changes that will allow more mail voting to various degrees for at least their upcoming primary elections.
To the more extreme extent, five states, according to the Ballotpedia organization, are doing away with the application process and simply sending absentee ballots to every voter. They are: California, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey. Lawsuits to institute similar changes or make even more drastic alterations such as allowing ballot harvesting and extending the deadline to return the ballot to ten days past the election, are alive in nine additional states.
The Montana State University at Bozeman just released a statewide survey (4/10-27; 738 MT adults; 548 MT likely voters; online) that tested the presidential race and the US Senate campaign (see Senate section below). The results find President Trump leading former Vice President Joe Biden 45-40%. This is a much lower total than the President’s 20-point victory here in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. More polling will undoubtedly be released after the June 2nd statewide primary.
The Montana State University at Bozeman also covered the US Senate race in their statewide poll (4/10-27; 738 MT adults; 548 MT likely voters; online) and it returns a surprising result. Their data finds Gov. Steve Bullock (D) opening the race with a seven-point lead over incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R), 46-39%.
It appears the major reason for Gov. Bullock’s early advantage is his solid 70% approval rating on his handling of the Coronavirus situation. On the negative side, with a very long 18-day sampling period, the poll is vulnerable to reliability points of inquiry. If this pattern continues to emerge, however, the Montana Senate race will become a top-tier challenge campaign.
It is clear that former state Representative and 2018 at-large congressional nominee Kathleen Williams is primed to again become her party’s statewide candidate. Ms. Williams announced on Friday that she will report $486,000 raised for the 1st quarter 2020, with $1.1 million cash-on-hand. Her Democratic primary opponent, state Rep. Tom Winter (D-Missoula), raised only $74,000 and has just $88,000 in his campaign account. The winner will face a strong open seat Republican candidate in the general election, most likely State Auditor and 2018 US Senate nominee Matt Rosendale (R). Incumbent Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Bozeman) is running for Governor.
Late last month, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) ruled that each of Montana’s counties could conduct the June 2nd statewide primary solely by mail if they so desired. Yesterday, a report was released indicating that election officials in all of the state’s 56 counties have selected the mail option, meaning that the June 2nd primary vote will be conducted entirely through the postal system.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D) filed to challenge Sen. Steve Daines (R) on the final day of the candidate qualifying (March 9) and is already in a dead heat race with the incumbent according to the first published poll of the new contest. Public Policy Polling, surveying for the progressive left group, End Citizens United (3/12-13; 903 MT registered voters) finds the two statewide elected officials tied at 47% apiece. Sen. Daines has a favorability ratio of 45:42% favorable to unfavorable, while Gov. Bullock’s numbers are a slightly better 49:40%. Consistent with the others, President Trump’s job approval is 50:46%.
The Public Policy Polling approval numbers always skew toward the negative. Therefore, it is safe to assume that all three men have a better image than this poll suggests. Clearly, the Democrats have their strongest candidate to challenge Sen. Daines, and this will now be a competitive race. It is likely the state will swing Republican as the election draws closer, but we can expect a very active general election campaign in Big Sky Country.
The Rundown Blog
Before you vote, learn more about the candidates who will support a pro-jobs America.