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Montanans Blame Governor and Legislature over Property Taxes, Support Abortion Rights and Medicaid Expansion


April 30, 2024

Media Contact:

Brandon DeMars,

New Poll: Montanans Blame Governor and Legislature over Property Taxes, Support Abortion Rights and Medicaid Expansion

Statewide survey from Middle Fork measures Montanans’ opinions on taxes, healthcare, education, and more

(Helena, Mont.) – A new statewide public opinion poll released by Middle Fork Strategies finds Governor Greg Gianforte and the Montana Legislature receiving the greatest share of blame among policymakers when Montanans are asked to give their thoughts on responsibility for the shift in property taxes experienced over the past year.

Twenty-nine and 28 percent respectively rate the Montana Legislature and the Governor as a responsible party for increased property taxes. Other most-selected causes include out-of-state homebuyers and tax breaks given to corporations.

“Montanans are feeling the effects of the tax shift that our elected leaders failed to prevent, and they see it taking place alongside the giveaways those same leaders handed to big corporations,” said Brandon DeMars, Middle Fork’s Executive Director. “Working families, homeowners, and renters are footing the bill for corporations’ tax breaks and don’t feel like they are lawmakers’ priority.”

A majority of respondents, 52 percent, see Montana on the wrong track while only 39 percent rate the state as going in the right direction. Forty-five percent of Montanans said that their personal financial situation has worsened in recent years, 34 percent reported that it has remained the same, and 21 percent said that it has gotten better. When respondents were asked to rate the financial situation of their neighbors and those living in their community, 57 percent said those around them are doing worse, 25 percent that they had remained the same, and 8 percent reported improvement. For both questions, these results represent a negative shift in sentiment from Middle Fork’s previous surveys in 2023.

Among other findings in the survey were several continuations of trends observed in Middle Fork’s previous opinion research. Montanans support the reauthorization of the state’s Medicaid expansion by an overwhelming margin—75 percent to 22 percent. 

Additionally, a significant majority of Montanans continue to believe that abortion should remain legal in all or most circumstances, 58 percent, compared with just 9 percent who believe it should be banned.

“Whether it’s deliberately undermining Medicaid expansion or attacking abortion rights, too many lawmakers are ignoring the wishes of Montanans when it comes to healthcare,” said DeMars. “Large majorities of Montanans support Medicaid expansion and reproductive rights. Elected officials should be focused on real problems, not restricting their constituents’ freedoms.” 

Other key findings from the poll:

  • 74 percent oppose the creation of a sales tax in Montana.

  • 66 percent oppose legislation allowing tax dollars to be taken away from local public schools and given to private charter schools.

  • 60 percent of Montanans believe the state’s public schools are inadequately funded

  • 62 percent believe Montana’s senior care facilities and services are inadequately funded

The survey also measured support for a number of possible policy options to address property taxes. These include ideas ranging from restrictions on short-term vacation rentals, which saw mixed results with plurality support, to middle-class tax relief funded by new revenue from taxes on multimillion-dollar homes, which enjoys broad support at 69 percent.

The results of Middle Fork’s most recent poll are available here, and a memo analyzing findings can be found here. The poll was conducted by Searchlight Research from April 7-10, among a 600-participant statewide sample. Responses were captured by live telephone survey to both landline and cell numbers.


Middle Fork Strategies is a multi-issue advocacy and research organization based in Montana. Middle Fork’s goals are to hold accountable those in power and work with like-minded advocacy groups on policies and issues that impact Montana.

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