Skip to content Skip to navigation

Fourth Annual Eccles Family Rural West Conference

People and Place in the Rural American West

Missoula, Montana, March 17-19

Eccles Rural West Conference: Montana Issues Survey

Eccles Rural West Conference- 2016 Montana Issues Survey


Commissioned for the 2016 Eccles Rural West Conference, the Rural West Conference Montana Survey was designed by Christopher Muste of the University of Montana, who presented initial survey findings to the conference on March 18.

Video: Presenting initial results at the Eccles Rural West Conference. Download presentation slides.

The Rural West Conference Montana Survey assesses the views of Montana's residents about major social, economic, and political issues, as well as events and political leaders that affect rural as well as urban Montanans and the state's ability to address their needs. The Rural West Montana Survey interviewed 923 Montana adults from February 1-28, 2016.[1] The survey questions focus on the four main topical panels in the 2016 Rural West Conference: health care and access, natural resource allocation, tribal policy, and homelessness, with additional questions on opinions about Montana and its political leaders, and demographic questions. The data has been weighted to approximate the demographic profile of the Montana population in gender, ethno-racial background, education, and age.[2]

Read preliminary survey analysis »

[1] Interviews were conducted by the Social and Economic Science Research Center at Washington State University. Questionnaire design was by Christopher Muste in consultation with UM faculty Monte Mills, Daisy Rooks, Steve Schwarze, Tom Seekins, Martin Blair and the staff of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, and WSU faculty Jennifer Sherman. Iris Hui of the Lane Center provided invaluable consultation on survey design and weighting. Survey funding was provided by the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, and by the University of Montana’s President’s Office, Provost’s Office, Vice-President for Research and Creative Scholarship, Institute on Ecosystems, Alexander Blewett III School of Law, Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities, and a UM Faculty Research Grant.

[2] Due to weighting calculations the reported number of interviews in the frequencies and other tables is 908, although there are actually 923 completed interviews



Rural West Conference Volume

Bridging the Distance

Common Issues of the Rural West

Edited by David B. Danbom
Foreword by David M. Kennedy

Published in cooperation with the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
The University of Utah Press has published Bridging the Distance, a book by the Rural West Initiative of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. Edited by the distinguished historian David B. Danbom and with a foreword by Center co-founding director David M. Kennedy, the book explores the Rural West across four dimensions: Community, Land, Economics – and defining the Rural West itself. The book is the result of work presented at the first Conference on the Rural West, which took place in Ogden, Utah, in October 2012.