President Trump Endorses Tim Sheehy for U.S. Senate

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Independent Record: Poll shows tight Senate race in Montana

04.08.24 |


New polling in Montana’s closely watched U.S. Senate race shows what’s shaping up to be a razor-thin contest between incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican political newcomer Tim Sheehy.

The poll from J.L. Partners, provided exclusively to the Montana State News Bureau, shows Sheehy leading Tester within the margin of error, by 48% to 45% with 7% of those polled undecided. The poll’s margin of error is 4.3%.

Tester is seeking re-election in one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate races in the country. Sheehy was hand-picked by GOP leaders to run against him in a race seen as critical to the party’s efforts to gain back control in the Senate.

The polling found that Sheehy held a 9-point lead among men, while Tester was up by 3% with women.

Older voters also skewed more toward Sheehy — he captured 52% of those ages 51-64 and 50% of those 65 and up. Tester was stronger among those 18-35, with 52% of respondents in that age group backing him.

Among independents, who could play a critical role in the race, Tester held 49% to Sheehy’s 39%, with 11% undecided. But, as the poll noted, Sheehy was claiming enough of that group to lead in the poll overall.

Those polled ranked inflation and the economy as the most important issue facing Montana, at 33%, followed by border security and illegal immigration at 20% and threats to democracy at 15%. Climate change, health care, abortion, national security, election integrity and crime and public safety all ranked in the single digits.

Broken down by party, Republicans found both inflation and the economy and border security and illegal immigration to be the top issues (both at 36%), while Democrats said threats to democracy was the top issue facing the state (31%) followed by inflation and the economy (21%). Independents put inflation and the economy at the top (38%) followed by border security and illegal immigration (18%).

Undecided voters found inflation and the economy most important, followed by border security and illegal immigration. That made them look more similar to a Sheehy supporter than a Tester backer, according to the poll, except when it came to abortion. Eight percent of undecideds said abortion was the most important issue facing Montana, compared to 9% of Tester supporters and just 2% of Sheehy’s backers.

The poll was conducted between March 26-29 and sampled 503 likely voters by a mix of text messaging, mobile calls, landline calls and in-app responses. It used quotas to ensure representative data for gender, age, partisanship and more, and was weighted on the same variables.

Sheehy’s campaign was encouraged by the poll.

“This poll shows what we’re hearing from folks across the state — Montanans want a political outsider who will deliver commonsense solutions that put Montana and America first,” said a spokesperson in a texted statement. “Despite Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester smearing us for the last 7 months with nearly $7 million in attack ads, their phony charade is up. Montanans are fed up with the disastrous Biden-Tester liberal agenda of never-ending inflation, open borders, and reckless spending. Come November, Montanans will finally retire Jon Tester and Joe Biden.”

An August poll from the same organization that asked Republican respondents about their preference between Sheehy and U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, who at that point was entertaining a run in the Senate primary. That poll found 55% of respondents supporting Rosendale and 19% for Sheehy, with 26% undecided.

Rosendale later entered the Senate race but quickly dropped out, and after a short bid to retain his seat in the House said he would not run again and leave politics after 2024.

Read more from the original publication HERE.


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