A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

7 April 2017

Raw milk legalization bill resurrected,
Quist polling at Yellow Dog Democrat level

Raw milk legalizers have exhumed HB-325, Logicosity reports this morning. Rep. Nancy Ballance’s bill was tabled in the Senate’s Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, Committee on 30 March. Yesterday, the bill was lifted from the table, amended, and reported to the MT Senate with a do pass recommendation. At this point, HB-325 must receive two-thirds majorities in both houses to send the bill to Governor Bullock.

No amendment can fix HB-325. It’s an assault on pasteurization, one of the most successful public health programs in history. It’s passage in any form would be a victory for deniers of science, and enemies of safe food.

Bills like HB-325, which has more lives than a bag of cats, sometimes get passed not because they do good things but because legislators grow weary of the relentless pressure from the zealots pushing the crackpottery. Instead of standing firm, voting NO, and admonishing the zealots not to return the next session, they throw their hands in the say, say “to hell with it,” and vote YES because capitulation is so much less tiring than constantly fighting the good fight.

A Gravis Marketing poll released yesterday reports Republican Greg Gianforte leading Democrat Rob Quist 50 to 38 percent. Libertarian Mark Wicks polled three percent, Green Partier Thomas Breck, who is not on the ballot, polled two percent, and seven percent said they were “uncertain.”

Quist’s 38 percent is the Yellow Dog Democrat baseline for Montana.

Take this poll with many grains of salt. The dates of the polling were omitted. The sample was a “random survey of 1,222 individuals across Montana.” It was a sample neither of registered voters nor likely voters.

The poll was conducted using interactive voice responses and internet responses of cell phone users, with the results weighted by demographic characteristics.

Thirty-seven percent said they were Republicans. Another 37 percent identified as independents. Only 26 percent identified as Democrats. Most of the self-identified independents actually are closet partisans who want to avoid being labeled. Had the independents’ partisan leanings been smoked out with a question such as “Do you usually lean Republican or Democratic?” the number of true independent would have dwindled to approximately ten percent.

President Donald Trump’s approval-disapprove ratio was 50–42 percent with eight percent uncertain. Governor Steve Bullock’s was 42–35–23. Sen. Jon Tester’s was 43–35–22.

Gravis works for conservative candidates and organizations. I suspect this poll was conducted for either a third party group supporting Gianforte, or for Gianforte’s campaign.