POLITICS

Poll: Many undecided for Montana governor, House

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A new poll released Wednesday found large percentages of Montana voters were still undecided about races for governor and U.S. House, and in strong support of Republican Mitt Romney for president.

The Montana State University, Billings poll said 40 percent of voters supported former Rep. Rick Hill for governor and 38 percent supported Democratic Attorney General Steve Bullock.

Another 20 percent remained undecided with less than a month to go until the election.

Libertarian Ron Vandevender showed less than 2 percent for governor.

The university's late September telephone survey included 477 adults and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

In the House race, the poll said 36 percent of voters backed Republican Steve Daines, a former technology executive, while 23 percent backed Democratic state Sen. Kim Gillan.

The 37 percent said to be undecided eclipsed the support of both candidates, although analysts have said Daines' sizeable lead in campaign donations gives him more resources to reach out to voters.

The high numbers of undecided voters as the election reaches its final stretch likely stems from the difficulty candidates have faced trying to break through the U.S. Senate race's dominance of the airwaves.

In that race, Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Denny Rehberg and their supporters are pouring millions of dollars into television and radio ads. The campaign is expected to be the state's most expensive ever.

In the presidential race, Romney had support from 49 percent of respondents compared to 35 percent for President Barack Obama.

More than half of voters — 56 percent — disapproved of the president's job performance. He e also scored low marks when voters were asked who could better handle the economy and reduce the deficit.

Obama lost Montana in 2008 by only two percentage points to Republican nominee John McCain. But that came after Obama campaigned hard in Montana and visited several times during his tough primary battle with Hillary Clinton.

This year, the Obama campaign has concentrated its efforts elsewhere, particularly swing states considered key to an electoral college victory.

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