Poll: Rick Hill leads governor's race, but within margin of error

2012-11-01T22:45:00Z 2014-10-03T14:27:46Z Poll: Rick Hill leads governor's race, but within margin of errorBy CHARLES S. JOHNSON Missoulian State Bureau missoulian.com

HELENA – A Lee Newspapers poll this week shows that the Montana governor’s race remains tight, with Republican Rick Hill at 49 percent to Democrat Steve Bullock at 46 percent.

The difference falls within the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The margins are higher for subgroups such as region or gender.

Only 3 percent of the voters were undecided heading into Tuesday’s election, while Libertarian Ron Vandevender had 2 percent.

Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., polled 625 registered voters from Monday through Wednesday who said they were likely to vote.

“I’m a little surprised,” said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon. “Hill has been getting some bad press. I’d still call that one a tossup.”

Coker was referring to the controversy that broke when Bullock went to court Oct. 18 to challenge the legality of Hill’s campaign receipt of a $500,000 donation from the Montana Republican Party, to block him from spending it. A state district judge from Helena ruled Wednesday that the contribution is likely illegal, and ordered the campaign to continue not spending it. Hill’s campaign has maintained it’s a legal donation.

An earlier Mason-Dixon poll for Lee Newspapers, taken Sept. 17-19, showed Bullock at 44 percent and Hill at 43 percent. Eleven percent were undecided then, while Vandevender was at 2 percent.

“The fact that Hill’s survived and picked up a little bit since he picked up some bad press is encouraging to him,” Coker said. “Having the Republican label I’m sure is making the difference.”

He added: “When it comes to campaign finance, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to resonate with voters.”

The recent poll also showed that men favor Hill over Bullock by 53 percent to 42 percent, while women support Bullock over Hill, 49 percent to 46 percent.

By party, those people saying they are Democrats support Bullock over Hill by 96 percent to 2 percent. Republicans back Hill over Bullock 92 percent to 5 percent.

Among independents, Hill captured 46 percent, while Bullock had 41 percent.

By media markets, here was the breakdown:

• Eastern Montana area (15 counties): Hill had 63 percent to Bullock’s 31 percent.

• Billings area (11 counties): Hill had 59 percent to Bullock’s 34 percent.

• Great Falls area (12 counties) Bullock had 52 percent to Hill’s 43 percent.

• Butte, Helena and Bozeman area (10 counties): Bullock had 54 percent to Hill’s 41 percent.

• Missoula and Kalispell area (eight counties) Hill had 49 percent to Bullock’s 48 percent.

The poll also asked if voters recognized the names of candidates, and if so, whether they had a favorable, unfavorable or neutral opinion.

Results showed Bullock with a 44 percent favorable recognition to 33 percent unfavorable, with 21 percent neutral and 2 percent didn’t recognize him.

For Hill, it showed 43 percent favorable recognition to 36 percent unfavorable, with 18 percent neutral and 3 percent who didn’t know him.

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(10) Comments

  1. PapaBear
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    PapaBear - November 02, 2012 12:48 pm
    Bullock: Democrat, lawyer, liberal. Chilling to think of that combination as Governor. Funding from George Soros groups. Support from MoveOn, SEIU, CREW. Help from Union democrat Murry, democrat state judge, democrat federal judge. Not what Montana needs. Vote Hill.
  2. Tronski
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    Tronski - November 02, 2012 10:47 am
    Anybody ever been to Butte? Rick Hill plans to turn all of Montana into a Superfund Site. We can drill and mine sure, but what happens when those resources run out? ? ? yeah, we are left with a huge mess, destroyed environment and worse off then when we started. Drill baby Drill is not a vision, it's a nightmare.
  3. D
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    D - November 02, 2012 9:13 am
    Completely agree with Abonides. The crazy Repubs in the MT Legislature made MT look like throw-backs. Also glad Bullock wisely did NOT have MT join in the Obama-Care lawsuit, which would have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars. Repubs have become ridiculous.
  4. rosett
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    rosett - November 02, 2012 8:54 am
    I find it interesting that the Missoulian put the skewed results of Lee enterprises poll on the front page, but made no mention in print about one of Rick Hill's main supporters: American Tradition Partnership. TV stations and newspapers statewide were made to pull all of the ATP's ads supporting Hill because they contained outright lies about Bullock, and were actionably slanderous. The ATP and the republican party have been implicated in illegal campaign practices by ATP papers that were found during a raid on a meth lab! Then, the state offices where those papers were thought to be were burglarized two nights ago. If you take those facts, and add to them the ATP's attacks on Montana's constitution, so that they could spend unlimited money on lying attack ads and illegal and immoral campaign practices you have a pretty good representation of all that's bad about politics in this country. I find it interesting that candidate Hill has failed to distance himself from this illegal and immoral activity that has been perpetrated by his supporters. I guess that if you have enjoyed this campaign season, with the blitz of lying campaign ads, slimy, underhanded practices, and millions of dollars wasted, then you should vote for Hill. After all, what have the democrats done for this state? Oh yeah, they've made Montana a state that's in better financial condition than almost any other! Go ahead and vote for Hill, but don't complain when he puts in a sales tax and gives the store away to out of state corpoate interests.
  5. Indy
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    Indy - November 02, 2012 8:51 am
    I hope Montanans exercise caution here and note the careful coordination and uncanny timing of Hill's campaign and funding with the corrupt ATP. Blatant disregard and disrespect for our democratic system. Let's keep this election in open and in Montana. Not overly excited about Bullock, absolutely disgusted with Hill and his campaign's behavior and associations.

  6. idiot state
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    idiot state - November 02, 2012 8:10 am
    If you like your position as the lowest income, highest unemployment, lowest producing state in the region, then keep putting LIBERALS back in office, Montana. While South and North Dakota's incomes jumped 15 and 30% respectively, Montana's was a measly barely 4%. Montana's GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT is 44th in the nation. So keep electing the Liberals, and enjoy your status, Montana. Or vote for a shake up in Helena, and turn the economy around.
  7. BWO
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    BWO - November 02, 2012 7:47 am
    Remember that one of Hill's advisers is front and center in the fight to give rich land owners control of the streams and hunting land we have become accustomed to using. You will see an immediate sell-out to those landowners, and all the taxes you paid to protect our fishing and hunting, and the revenue they generate, will be gone. Welcome to California or Colorado or Texas folks. Stop and think of the legacy of Racicot...just think for a minute about who you are voting for....it's sobering, though I may start drinking!
  8. Scoop
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    Scoop - November 02, 2012 6:45 am
    Nobody should be surprised by this poll. Hill has an amazing grasp of the issues that face Montana and is offering a solid plan to grow jobs and increase pay. Bullock, on the other hand, has offered nothing except false, negative attacks on Hill. This normally moves the polls, but in an election where people are looking for leadership, moderation, experience and vision, the surprise is really how Bullock is doing so well. Hill's momentum and appeal is not unlike Romney- he is not who the ads make him out to be.
  9. Pogo
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    Pogo - November 02, 2012 12:08 am
    Hill is definitely gaining momentum and Bullock again is losing traction. The Lee poll last month had Hill at 43% and Bullock at 44%. In the past 30 days Hill is up 6 points compared to Bullock’s 3 point move. Though still barely within the margin of error, it shows Hill is gaining momentum and also shows, again, voters are focusing on important issues such as the state of Montana’s economy instead of negative attacks that misrepresent Hills positions with dishonestly edited video comments. Hill does not support a sales tax. Voters are not buying Bullock's lies.
  10. Abonides
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    Abonides - November 01, 2012 11:17 pm
    Just imagine the fiasco if Hill had been Gov back in 2011. The 2011 legislature was a disaster, with horrible 18% popularity ratings. The Tea party made a mockery of Montana, but thankfully we had Schweitzer and his "veto" cattle brand. Think carefully about the importance of the checks and balances before voting Republican. Otherwise we'll have the blind leading the blind.
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