Helena, Montana - Montanans have seen little relief from a rough economy over the past few years and appear poised to direct their discontent toward President Obama and Democrats in Congress during the 2012 Presidential Election, according to a new poll conducted by the Montana Business Leadership Council.
When asked to consider conditions at the national level, eight out of ten Montanans (79 percent) believe the country has gotten off track. Moreover, a majority (61 percent) believe that the state economy is worsening. This trend continued to the individual level with half of respondents (49 percent) answering that their personal economic situation has declined since 2008.
"It is no surprise that times continue to be tough for Montanans struggling through a weak economy," said Max Hunsaker, Executive Director of the Montana Business Leadership Council. "The extent of dissatisfaction, however, is staggering. Montanans traditionally remain relatively positive about local economic opportunities despite national trends. With nearly half of respondents answering that they are worse off compared to 2008, and over sixty percent expressing little confidence in the state economy to improve, we've experienced a startling shift in attitude."
The poll results indicated that most Montanans blame Democrats for the nation’s economic troubles. A majority of Montanans (58 percent) prefer “electing Republicans who will provide a check on President Obama and Congressional Democrats”, as opposed to twenty-nine percent that prefer “electing Democrats who will help President Obama pass his agenda”. The poll also found that Montanans prefer Republicans by a twenty point margin to handle economic issues (Republicans: 51 percent, Democrats: 31 percent).
President Obama narrowly lost Montana in the 2008 Presidential Election, but his support base appears to have severely eroded. When asked who respondents would support if the 2012 Presidential Election were held today, sixty percent would select the as yet undetermined Republican candidate, while only 32 percent said they would vote for President Obama.
"Whether Republicans have inspired the confidence of Montana voters due to policy positions, or if they are simply benefitting from being the alternative to the party in power, economic issues are driving the 2012 election and the GOP appears to be well-positioned to convert economic angst into gains next November" said Hunsaker.
The telephone survey of 500 likely voters in Montana was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on November 14, 2011. Pulse Opinion Research, LLC is an independent public opinion research firm using automated polling methodology and procedures licensed from Rasmussen Reports, LLC. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 4.5% percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
The Montana Business Leadership Council is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)6 business league designed to reverse the negative attitudes towards business and improve the overall economic climate in Montana. MBLC strives to increase the pro-business voting base though grassroots development and educate the public on business issues in order to increase awareness of the problems that have made Montana uncompetitive.