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Montana Senate - Daines vs. Walsh

Candidates

Steve Daines

Steve Daines (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

John Walsh

John Walsh (D)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Montana Snapshot

RCP Average:
RCP Ranking: Likely GOP
2014 Key Races: MT-AL

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

2012President | Governor | SenateMT-AL
2010MT-AL
2008: President | Governor | Senate | MT-AL
2006: Senate | MT-AL
2004: President | Governor | MT-AL

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEDaines (R)Walsh (D)Spread
RCP Average6/9 - 7/24----51.738.0Daines +13.7
CBS News/NYT/YouGov7/5 - 7/24LV3.65640Daines +16
PPP (D)7/17 - 7/18574 RV4.14639Daines +7
Rasmussen Reports6/9 - 6/10750 LV4.05335Daines +18

All Montana Senate - Daines vs. Walsh Polling Data

Race Analysis

While Big Sky Country has been Republican at the presidential level for quite some time, at the state and local levels it has a strong Democratic streak extending back to the Progressive era. The western mountains are heavily unionized (Montana is one of the Mountain West states without a right-to-work law), and Democrats with a populist streak, like former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, are popular in the state. In fact, former Sen. Conrad Burns is the only Republican who has ever been elected to successive terms in Montana history.

Max Baucus was elected to the House from the old 1st District (which covered the western half of the state) in 1974. Four years later, after the death of Sen. Lee Metcalf, Baucus defeated appointed Sen. Paul Hatfield in the Democratic primary, before winning the general election by almost a dozen points. Baucus generally avoided a strong challenge, save for 1996 when then-Lt. Gov. Denny Rehberg held the senator to under 50 percent of the vote.

Baucus announced his retirement last year, and most observers expected Schweitzer to replace him. But Schweitzer opted not to run, and the Democrats’ positioning for the seat declined markedly. Their hopes rose when Baucus was appointed ambassador to China, allowing Gov. Steve Bullock to appoint Lt. Gov. John Walsh to the seat. But Walsh still trails Rep. Steve Daines in polling by a substantial margin.

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEDaines (R)Walsh (D)Spread
RCP Average6/9 - 7/24----51.738.0Daines +13.7
CBS News/NYT/YouGov7/5 - 7/24LV3.65640Daines +16
PPP (D)7/17 - 7/18574 RV4.14639Daines +7
Rasmussen Reports6/9 - 6/10750 LV4.05335Daines +18
CEA/Hickman Analytics (D)4/24 - 4/30400 LV4.94937Daines +12
Rasmussen Reports3/17 - 3/18750 LV4.05137Daines +14
PPP (D)11/15 - 11/17952 RV3.25235Daines +17