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 Gianforte'Murphy Brown' episode focuses on assault of reporter at Trump rally Montana New Members 2019 Gianforte defeats Democrat for Montana's at-large congressional seat 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 TrumpCorsi sues Mueller for alleged leaks and illegal surveillance Comey: Trump 'certainly close' to being unindicted co-conspirator Trump pushes back on reports that Ayers was first pick for chief of staff 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 ZinkeTrump attends Army-Navy game Trump is no fan of trophy hunting — will he let giraffes go extinct? Trump admin floats reduced protections for imperiled sage grouse 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) TesterSchumer gets ready to go on the offensive Criminal justice reform splits 2020 Democrats Farmers sticking with Trump, says GOP senator 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.