MSUB poll shares Montana voters' views with some hang-ups

Eric Young

Montana State University Billings released its annual Mountain State Poll Wednesday revealing not only issues where Montanans may agree or disagree, but also revealing the limits of polling and its usefulness and accuracy in the modern political arena.

This year students with the university dialed over 9,000 random phone numbers aimed at reaching Montana’s counties based on population over the first two weeks of October. While last year’s poll garnered only 204 responses, this year’s total counted at an equally minuscule 343 valid participants giving the poll a margin of error of 5.29%.

As of Oct. 27, the Montana Secretary of State’s office reports a record number of nearly 759,000 registered voters in the state.

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Political Science Instructor and poll Director Hope Dewell Gentry says this year’s increase is likely due to the upcoming midterm elections. As far as the lack of overall responses, she attributes it to shifting trends in how pollsters reach voters rather than the substance of the poll itself.

“This is not [just] an issue we’re facing, this is an issue in polling in general,” she said. “So even when you

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