New poll shows Rehberg leading Tester in Montana

A new poll of the Senate race in Montana shows Denny Rehberg leading incumbent Democrat Jon Tester by a margin of 48 to 45. The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for Lee Newspapers in Montana.

Rehberg’s lead falls within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4 points. Nonetheless, an incumbent Senator who polls at below 50 percent a month and a half before the election should be discouraged. So too should an incumbent who is viewed favorably by only 40 percent of the electorate, as is the case with Tester (36 percent view him unfavorably; for Rehberg the split is 44 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable).

According to the poll, Montana Democrats and Republicans stand strongly behind their party’s candidate. But independents break in favor of Rehberg by 47-38. Tester also suffers from a “gender gap.” In the Big Sky Country, where men are men, Rehberg enjoys a 53-39 advantage among males.

Rehberg’s lead in the Mason-Dixon poll is consistent with most other polling of this race. In the past six months, to my knowledge, only PPP (a Democratic firm) has produced polling that puts Tester ahead.

This is a race the Republicans should win. As the Mason-Dixon pollster says, “Tester won a very close race [in 2006], and that was without being dragged down by an unpopular presidential candidate.” Or, in the words of one Montana voter:

Tester knew that more than 65 percent of Montanans opposed Obamacare, but he voted with Obama and sold Montana out. Why would we want to elect him again? He just followed Obama.

Nontheless, the race remains close. To help put Denny Rehberg over the top, go here.

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