HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a 51 percent to 42 percent advantage over Democratic President Barack Obama among likely Montana voters, while 5 percent were undecided, a new poll found.
Two percent said they planned to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, according to a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research on Sept. 17-19 on behalf of Lee Newspapers of Montana.
"Obviously, Romney is pretty solid in Montana," said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason Dixon Polling.
Pollsters interviewed 625 registered Montana voters who said they expected to vote in the general election. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
In a separate question, 53 percent of those polled oppose the Affordable Care Act while 40 percent support the health care law and 7 percent were undecided. The law extends health care coverage to most Americans by expanding public programs and offering subsidies to help lower- and moderate-income people buy private health insurance.
Those polled were also asked their opinions on the candidates. Forty-six percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Romney, 36 percent had an unfavorable opinion, and 18 percent had a neutral opinion. Nearly half of those polled had an unfavorable opinion of Obama, 41 percent had a favorable opinion, and 10 percent were neutral.
Some of those polled agreed to be interviewed by reporters later and they shared their opinions of the presidential candidates.
"I think it would be a total disaster if Obama got re-elected," said Lorraine Johnson of Plentywood. "It's like he's trying to be a dictator and I'm just scared to death of him."
David Pugh, a retired National Park Service employee living in Philipsburg, supports Obama.
"I think he's got a better feel for the country," Pugh said. "I think he's more compassionate. I think his opponent Romney has lived in a gilded cage his entire life."
During the 2008 presidential election, Obama campaigned aggressively in Montana. He made appearances in the state during his primary challenge against Hillary Clinton and visited Butte with his family on July 4, 2008. Republican John McCain won the presidential election that year in Montana, 49 percent to 47 percent for Obama.