Poll: Republican Gianforte tied with Dem challenger in Montana House race

Poll: Republican Gianforte tied with Dem challenger in Montana House race
© Greg Nash

Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteJournalists seek federal, state support for right to inform the public Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo criticize Trump’s response to Coast Guard lieutenant's arrest Sarah Sanders: Trump hasn't ‘at any point’ done anything but ‘condemn violence against journalists' MORE (R-Mont.) is tied with his Democratic challenger in Montana’s at-large congressional race, according to a poll from Gravis Marketing.

The new poll shows Gianforte, who won a special election last year, in a dead heat with former Democratic state Rep. Kathleen Williams, with both candidates having the support of 48 percent of the likely voters polled. Three percent of likely voters are undecided.

The latest poll is a huge shift from Gravis’s last poll from September, where Gianforte held a 9-point lead in the deep-red state.

More recent polls showed the GOP congressman with a smaller lead, including a Montana State University Billings survey that had Gianforte ahead by 3 points.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE remains popular in Montana, with 58 percent who approve of the job he’s doing and 38 percent who disapprove. The president carried the state by 20 points in 2016.

Trump recently held a campaign rally in Missoula, Mont., where he raised eyebrows for joking that Gianforte assaulting a reporter for The Guardian helped him win the 2017 special election to fill now-Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Interior secretary met with tribal lawyer attached to Zinke casino dispute Zinke joins board of small gold mining company MORE’s seat.

“We endorsed Greg really early, but I heard that he had body-slammed a reporter. And he was way up … and I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.’ But then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him,’ and it did … He’s a great guy and a tough cookie,” Trump said at a Missoula rally in mid-October.

The assault occurred the night before the special election in a state that largely relies on early voting. Gianforte pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault. He won the special election by 6 points.

The Gravis poll also found that Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) Tester20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall Overnight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US Bipartisan senators want 'highest possible' funding for carbon capture technology MORE (D-Mont.) leads his Republican challenger, state auditor Matt Rosendale, 48 percent to 45 percent, which is within the survey’s margin of error. Seven percent remain undecided.

That’s in line with another recent poll from the Montana State University/Montana Television Network, which also showed Tester with a 3-point lead.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 24 to 26 and surveyed 782 likely voters in Montana. The margin of error was 3.5 percentage points.