Montana State University claimed that Steve Bullock would win Montana’s U.S. Senate seat by 1% (Bullock lost by 9%). It also claimed that Mike Cooney was tied with Greg Gianforte in the race for governor (Cooney lost by 14%) and that Matt Rosendale was only ahead of Kathleen Williams by one point (Rosendale won by 14%). Meanwhile, the university poll also claimed that Montanans would reject pro-gun LR130 by nearly 20% (it passed by 2%). They also claimed that Trump would only win Montana by only 7%. Instead, Trump won Montana by 16%.
Oddly enough, out-of-state pollsters showed liberal bias (over-representation of Democrats) as well, but not as badly as MSU. The university’s polling system, as seen above, was off roughly 8 – 12% per race they predicted.
For example, the New York Times predicted Daines would beat Bullock 3%, NBC said Daines would win by 1%, and PPP – the Democrat polling organization – said the two were tied. MSU was off worse than these organizations and were off by 10%.
For federal races, national polling organizations thousands of miles from Montana proved to be more accurate than Montana State University. Real Clear Politics showed that Trump was winning Montana over Biden by 16.3% – which is roughly the same as Trump actually won (the MSU poll was off by 9%). The polling average for Senate showed Daines winning by 10% (the MSU poll was off by 11%). The polling average for the U.S. House showed Rosendale winning by 12.8% (the MSU poll was off by more than 11%).
While pollsters all across the country are tucking their tail for abysmal predictions two presidential elections in a row, few pollings organizations were as dramatically off as MSU.
The MSU polls were overseen by members of the MSU Department of Political Science. It seems they still have a thing or two to learn. David Parker, the MSU poli-sci professor who oversaw the projections said they had a margin of error of 3.9%, but that proved to be off dramatically.
Parker claimed the verdict of a Democrat-sweep of our election would be dependent upon voter turnout, claiming that low turnout would result in Republican victories and high turnout would result in Democrat victories. Ultimately, the election brough a record-high turnout of Montanans to the polls (or returning their ballots) and saw a 100% GOP sweep of federal and statewide offices.
Whatever kids are paying for an education in political science from MSU, it appears to be too much.