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 GianforteTrump declares Gorka 'wins big' after clash with reporters in Rose Garden Republican who lost Montana Senate bid to run for House next year Gianforte files to run for Montana governor 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 TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 ZinkePuerto Rican police fire tear gas at crowds protesting governor Overnight Energy: Trump officials gut DC staff for public lands agency to move West | Democrats slam EPA over scientific boards | Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of decade Trump officials gut DC staff as public lands agency preps to move out West 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) TesterPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives 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.