Public Policy Polling released a new poll today, showing Tester with a small lead over Rehberg, 45-43. Tester’s lead is too close to be very interesting: because it’s within the margin of error and because the polling firm historically gives a 3 point advantage to Democrats.
The poll does document the unfortunate reality of blanketing an entire state with negative ads for months–voters don’t really like any of their choices (though, I am glad to see that Rehberg gets the brunt of the disappointment):
Montana voters aren’t actually happy with the job Tester’s doing. The negative ads have taken a toll and only 46% of voters approve of him to 48% who disapprove. But Rehberg’s even more unpopular with just 42% of voters happy with the job he’s doing in the House to 52% who disapprove. [...] Both candidates have their party base pretty much locked up- Tester’s winning 89% of Democrats and Rehberg has 88% of Republicans behind him. Tipping the balance to Tester overall is a 41-33 advantage with independents.
The Gillan campaign was quick to point out that she’s closing the gap, and is now within 3 points of Daines, who leads 40-37. However, over half of those polled did not know enough to have an opinion of either Gillan or Daines, so either candidate can gain ground as the campaigns start spending their war chests. But with Daines’ ten-to-one advantage in cash-on-hand, it’s still an uphill battle for Gillan.
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