Poll gives Democrats bad news in key Senate race

David Knowles
·Editor
·2 min read

Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines, running for reelection, holds a 6-point lead against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in a race that will help decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, according to a poll released Monday by Emerson College.

Daines received 50 percent support in the poll, while 44 percent said they would vote for Bullock. Five percent of those contacted said they were still undecided in the race.

Like other traditionally Republican strongholds, Montana is being looked at to see whether support for President Trump has softened, giving Democrats a better chance of retaking control of the Senate. To do that, they need to flip three seats in November and win the White House (or four seats if Trump is reelected), and Bullock, who mounted an unsuccessful campaign for president this year, is seen as a strong contender. Two weeks ago, a Public Policy Polling survey of the race found Bullock leading Daines by 2 points.

The Emerson poll showed Trump leading former Vice President Joe Biden by a margin of 11 points in Montana, 53 percent to 42 percent. In 2016, Trump beat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by 20.5 percent of the vote in the state.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock holds a microphone
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 10, 2019. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

Daines, who was elected to the Senate in 2014 and has voted in concert with Trump 86.1 percent of the time, according to the website FiveThirtyEight, has been following the president’s playbook by painting his opponent as bankrolled by “the liberal mob” who seek to defund the police.

Bullock, whose approval ratings have risen in recent months thanks to his response to the coronavirus pandemic, has been emphasizing his record on health care in the state, including signing the expansion of Medicaid into law for Montana in 2015.

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