HELENA – Republican Tim Fox leads Democrat Pam Bucy by 46 percent to 37 percent in the attorney general’s race, a new Lee Newspapers poll showed.
In addition, 17 percent are undecided in the race between the two Helena lawyers.
The poll, taken Monday through Wednesday, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, although it’s higher for subgroups such as gender.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court justice candidates Ed Sheehy and District Judge Laurie McKinnon were nearly tied, with more than half the voters undecided.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research polled 625 registered voters who said they plan to vote in the November election in Montana’s election.
Fox enjoys a 2-1 lead over Bucy among male voters – 54 percent to 27 percent – with 19 percent of men undecided.
Bucy leads with women voters, 46 percent to 39 percent, with 15 percent undecided.
By party, Bucy received 83 percent of the votes of people who said they identified themselves as Democrats, to Fox’s 4 percent, with 13 percent undecided.
Among voters who called themselves Republicans, Fox leads Bucy 86 percent to 1 percent, with 13 percent undecided.
Among independents, Fox has a 45 percent to 27 percent lead, while 28 percent are undecided.
Fox, who is in private law practice in Helena, narrowly lost for attorney general in 2008 to Democrat Steve Bullock. Bucy, who has not sought office previously, is an attorney for the state Department of Labor and Industry.
Bucy has raised more money than Fox for the campaign, $270,000 to $232,000, as of Sept. 5, although Fox raised more money in the latest month.
Fox also has been the recent beneficiary of recent television and radio ads purchased by the Republican State Leadership Committee Inc., as an independent expenditure in support of his campaign. Independent expenditures on behalf of a candidate are legal, but coordination with the candidates is illegal.
Earlier this week, the Missoulian State Bureau reported the national Republican group had bought more than $580,000 worth of TV and radio ads in independent expenditures supporting Fox.
In the Supreme Court justice race, Sheehy and McKinnon are vying for the seat being vacated by Justice James Nelson, who is retiring at year’s end.
Sheehy, a public defender from Missoula, had 23 percent, while McKinnon, a district judge from Choteau, had 22 percent, the poll showed. Some 55 percent of the voters were undecided.
Although the court candidates run as nonpartisan candidates, the poll broke down how they did by party and gender.
Among Democrats, McKinnon was ahead 28 percent to 22 percent, with 50 percent undecided. Among Republicans, Sheehy had the edge, 24 percent to 17 percent, with 59 percent undecided.
Independents favored Sheehy over McKinnon by 24 percent to 21 percent, with 55 percent undecided.
By gender, McKinnon received 23 percent of the women’s votes to Sheehy’s 20 percent, with 57 percent undecided.
Among men, Sheehy had 27 percent of the vote to McKinnon’s 21 percent, with 52 percent undecided.