MT Senate 2014: Plus 10

Mondays in the summer are not supposed to be too exciting, but with a new poll showing a dramatic change in Montana’s U.S. Senate race between Sen. John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines, yesterday had to be pretty exciting for the Walsh campaign. That’s probably not the case in the Daines camp.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released the results of a new Montana Senate poll yesterday morning showing Senator John Walsh has gained 10 points on Steve Daines since their last poll in November. Walsh now trails Daines by just seven points 46-39.

Some headlines told it this way:

Poll: Walsh closing on Daines in U.S. Senate raceThe Bozeman Daily Chronicle

New poll shows Montana U.S. Senate race tighteningKBZK Bozeman

Poll shows Montana’s U.S. Senate race is tighteningKXLH Helena

Here are some things that caught my attention in the latest poll.

There are many parts of the poll that should worry Team Daines, and one of those things should be the Libertarian in the race. PPP did not ask about the Libertarian candidate Roger Roots. If Roots was included in the polling, Daines would probably lose another two to three points. The margin of error for the PPP survey was +/-4.1%.

Readers may remember in the 2012 Montana Senate race, the Libertarian candidate received over 6% of the vote.

PPP said that Steve Daines “went under water following the government shutdown and has not seen his numbers turn back around.”

While that may be true, I think Daines’ swiftboat attacks on Walsh have backfired. Montanans are a patriotic bunch and they honor veterans. Daines, who is not a veteran, has tried to bring discredit to the career of Montana born and raised Walsh. It looks like Montanans do not like it.

It appears Daines is trying to stop the bleeding with a new veterans’ ad that I wrote about yesterday, plus he was on the radio Monday talking about veterans. Daines may not recover from being so negative.

While the sky is not falling for Daines, the next 106 days will be more important and require more work than they hoped. It’s time for Team Daines to cancel their vacation plans, and ensure the professional staff has plenty of “personal” time to use during the last few weeks of the election to help with the campaign. I’ve seen the bottom fall out of campaigns before, and I can tell you it’s a sick feeling. While that has not happened to Daines just yet, it’s time to get serious.

Another interesting part of the poll is that Daines job approval rating shows him with a higher negative rating than positive. Daines has 40% disapproval and 39% approval. Back in November during the last PPP poll Daines was at 42% disapprove and 37% approve. Walsh has done a little better 38% approve and 37% disapprove.

As for the Walsh campaign, they need to keep on keepin’ on and, like good soldiers, keep marching up the hill. They can actually see the top of the hill now, and that should energize them.

What many considered a runaway race will now get more and more attention – and more money will be thrown into the race.

This race has just gotten interesting…


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10 thoughts on “MT Senate 2014: Plus 10

    • Nope. This could hurt what momentum he might have obtained over the past view months. -JmB

      • I think it’s fair game, too. It’s not unsubstantiated like other accusations. I would like to hear his side and also how the NYT decided to investigate. – JmB

      • Jackie, Walsh has spoken. First he denied any wrong doing at all. Now he falls back on PTSD.

        Walsh says he unintentionally made incorrect citations in the 2007 paper, written nearly two years after he returned from Iraq.

        Walsh told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his “head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment.”

        He was being treated and taking medication for persistent nightmares, anxiety, sleeplessness and the recent suicide of another veteran.

        He says he has worked through those issues, though he is still taking antidepressant medication. Walsh says he will consider apologizing to the scholars for lifting their work.

        Deflecting is NOT is not in the character of a true leader. The Army Inspector General was also not pleased with Walsh’s ethical lapses. His service record is squarely a political issue now.

      • Craig – I read that and tweeted it about 10 minutes after it was posted by the AP. Follow me on Twitter @TheWesternWord to see most things first.

        As for the article and your comments, I would never say “he falls back on PTSD.” Nobody wants to fall back on PTSD. The bottom line is that this is Walsh’s story and now everyone who votes in Montana will get to decide if it’s believable.

        My biggest question now is I just wonder how, out of the blue, the NY Times decided to review his paper from seven years ago?

        Politics is a contact sport – at least that is what I wrote in my book.


    • Craig – Thanks for the comments. That is the fun thing about polls – most folks see the results differently. In 2012 PPP showed Tester winning by 2 points in the last poll and he won by 3.7. You are right, it will help with fundraising bigtime. -JmB

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