In addition to the political questions contained in the latest Big Sky Poll, organizers also asked about reactions to Wal-Mart’s recent decision to alter their firearms sales policies.

Sara Rinfret is Associate Professor and Chair of the UM Department of Public Administration and Policy, and directs the Big Sky Poll.

“We asked this question: ‘Wal-Mart is discontinuing the sale of certain short-barrel rifle ammunition, as well as handgun ammunition, in addition to discontinuing handgun sales entirely. Are you more or less likely to shop at Wal-Mart due to this announcement?’

“40 percent of those that responded said they are less likely to shop at Wal-Mart, 37 percent said more likely and 23 percent said they preferred not to answer,” said Rinfret.

Rinfret pointed out the high number of the 303 respondents who were hesitant an answer that particular question.

“One thing that was really interesting about this poll, and what we know about Montana, is that when we talk about guns or gum policy, there’s a strong percentage that preferred not to answer that question. That was very interesting.”

Rinfret said in the next poll, she wants to hold more personalized focus groups to find out the reasons why respondents answer the way they do.

“Maybe possibly in the spring of next year we can do some more focus groups so that we can get more anecdotal information as to why that is,” she said. “This just gives us a snapshot into what people are thinking, but we can’t get into their minds and find out just what they really are thinking until we sit down with them, so we’ve been talking about doing some focus groups around these questions.”

The Big Sky Poll is conducted on an ongoing basis with its next iteration planned for spring 2020. Full results from the poll are available by clicking here.

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