Polls: Tester, Rehberg Neck and Neck

By Beacon Staff

A Public Policy Polling survey released last week shows Rep. Denny Rehberg leading incumbent Sen. Jon Tester 47 percent to 45 percent, while a Montana Chamber of Commerce poll has Tester up 42-37.

PPP has polled the race three times in the last year and Rehberg has led by 2 points in every one of them. From PPP:

“It’s pretty unusual to see a year pass with absolutely no movement in a political race,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But both of these candidates are already very well known to the voters and the race hasn’t really gotten going yet, so it’s not terribly surprising.”

In separate poll commissioned in mid-November by the Montana Chamber of Commerce and obtained by POLITICO, Tester leads by 5 points, 42-37. From David Catanese:

While the margin of error isn’t included in the memo, the sample of 600 voters means it is likely around 4 percent. It was composed of 49 percent Republicans and 32 percent Democrats.

It also comes just as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a completely separate entity — has unloaded an air assault on Tester, targeting energy policy.

Other polling news:

• The PPP survey shows President Barack Obama down 10 in Montana to Mitt Romney; eight to Newt Gingrich; and eight to Ron Paul. PPP’s Debnam says: “Barack Obama came surprisingly close to winning Montana in 2008. But it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to make it competitive again this time.”

• The Montana Chamber poll found, in the GOP gubernatorial primary, former Rep. Rick Hill leads Ken Miller 29 percent to 15 percent, which is much closer than the PPP poll, which has Hill leading Miller 37-10. Many voters in each poll are still undecided or unfamiliar with the candidates.

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