Daines ahead of Walsh in newly released political polls


Daines ahead of Walsh in newly released political polls

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Newly released polls show Steve Daines leading John Walsh by double digits in the U.S. Senate race. A few polls, while slightly different, all seem to point to a strong lead for Daines.

Here's how a few of the polls break down: In a poll conducted by the GOP firm Vox Populi, Republican candidate Steve Daines leads appointed democratic Senator John Walsh by 23 points, 56 percent to 33 percent.

Rasmussen reports released its first post-primary poll on Montana's Senate race, showing Daines with an 18-point advantage over Walsh, 53 percent to 35 percent.

The National Mining Association and Magellan Strategies released new numbers with Daines leading Walsh by 16 points -- 55 percent to 39 percent.

While experts say the polls show Daines is in the lead among people who are likely to vote in the November election, we're told they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Vox Populi is the same pollster that predicted Senate Majority Leader Eric Cantor would beat his opponent, but in an unexpected twist, Cantor lost in the primary.

Political expert Eric Austin from Montana State University said many of these polls skew conservatively, but added with so many polls showing Daines with a big lead, the trend cannot be ignored.

"Most of the methodologies here are quite good," explained Austin. "They're all showing double-digit differences, and so I think across all of these polls, the likelihood is there is some gap. We're a long ways out from the election still, but there seems to be pretty clearly some gap."

Daines' campaign released a statement about the polls saying, "With the race to November officially underway, momentum continues to build for our campaign. Montanans are sending a strong message that Steve's positive message of more jobs, less government and his vision of opportunity and economic growth will best serve the people of Montana in the U.S. Senate."

Walsh's campaign isn't buying the numbers, saying many of the polls are pushing a conservative agenda, and don't necessarily reflect what will happen in November's election.

"You can't put too much stock in these partisan polls, in these polls that are driven by one certain perspective," explained Walsh spokesperson Lauren Passalacqua. "These snapshots that happened earlier that come from these groups that have what we would say an agenda, we're not paying too much attention to them."

Austin explained both campaigns will likely study the poll results to learn where their strengths are, figure out their opponent's weaknesses, and change their campaign strategies accordingly.

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