University Relations and Communications

Day Two - 2012 State Poll Results Released

October 11, 2012 


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings today released the second half of a poll of Montanan’s views of statewide and national candidates and issues.  The second half of the poll report shows opinions and views of Montanans in a tightly contested U.S. Senate race, the Montana Attorney General race as well as job approval ratings of Gov. Brian Schweitzer and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus. The poll report also has views on various ballot issues and social issues.


image of Democrat donkey and Republican elephant butting heads


In the U.S. Senate race, the MSU Billings poll shows Republican challenger Denny Rehberg with a lead over incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, 42.6 percent to 39.7 percent. The poll shows Libertarian Dan Cox gaining 5.8 percent of the support while the undecided voters make up the remaining 11.9 percent. The margin of error is plus/minus 4.6 percent.


While the campaign has drawn a lot of attention and has yielded a plethora of advertising, much of it negative, the poll wanted to find out how Montanans felt about the advertising. It appears both campaigns are being held accountable. When posed the question “between Tester and Rehberg, which candidate do you feel has run the most negative campaign?” A plurality (40.8 percent) of the interviewees replied Rehberg/Tester “the same.”


The report of the poll results were released at press conferences at MSU Billings and a PDF of the results are at


Funded by the Office of the Provost, this is the 24th year the survey has been conducted and during that time, 26 surveys have been completed. The co-directors of the 2012 poll are Dr. Craig Wilson (Political Science), Dr. Scott Rickard (Director of the Center for Applied Economic Research) and Ms. Jennifer Pope (Sociology). 


The poll reports summarize the results of a statewide random sample telephone survey of adult Montanans who said they were both registered and likely to vote.  The poll was conducted Sept. 27-30, 2012.  Students enrolled in the course Political Science 342, Media, Public Opinion, Polling completed 477 interviews for this survey. 


The survey was completed using random digit dial methodology, which selects both the phone numbers and members of a household to interview.  Land line and cell phone numbers were included in the sample. Of that sample, 43.3% were reached through cell phone.  The poll was conducted using MSU Billings’ CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) software.  Multiple attempts were made to reach selected households. 


The survey results have a +/- 4.6% margin of error at a confidence level of 95% (95% of the time the results will fall within the +/- 4.6% margin of error). 


>  Poll Results - Day 2