UM Poll Examines Economy, Elections, Job Performances

MISSOULA – The University of Montana Big Sky Poll recently asked 498 likely Montana voters their opinions on the economy, the fairness of elections and the job performance of our elected officials.

The poll asked, “In your view, is the economy improving, staying the same or getting worse?” Fifty percent of respondents said the economy was improving, 31% said it was staying the same, and 19% said it was getting worse.

When asked, “How much do you trust that elections are fair?” 30% of respondents answered “a lot of trust,” 57% responded “some trust,” and 13% responded “no trust.”

Montanans also rated the job performance of their elected officials from excellent to poor. 

For presidential elections, respondents were asked, “Do you support or oppose changing to a system in which the president is elected by popular vote instead of the Electoral College?” Twenty-nine percent strongly supported change, and 28% strongly opposed.

In a series of head-to-head matchups, participants were asked to pick their preferred candidate, if the 2020 presidential election were held today.

The UM Big Sky Poll was conducted online Feb. 12-22 with 498 randomly selected likely Montana voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.39 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

The Big Sky Poll is directed by UM Associate Professor Sara Rinfret, chair of the Department of Public Administration and Policy, and UM marketing Associate Professor Justin Angle, in conjunction with four graduate students from UM’s public administration, law and business analytics programs. 

The survey was commissioned with support from UM’s Office of Research and Creative Scholarship, the Baucus Institute’s Department of Public Administration and Policy, and the Social Science Research Laboratory.

Use of poll findings require attribution to UM’s Big Sky Poll. Full results from the poll are available on the UM Big Sky Poll website at

Contact: Sara Rinfret, associate professor and chair, UM Department of Public Administration and Policy, 406-243-4702,