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 race – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
New poll shows Montana U.S. Senate race tightening – KBZK Bozeman
Poll shows Montana’s U.S. Senate race is tightening – KXLH 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…
## END ##