Rep. Denny Rehberg (right) is one of 11 House Members running for Senate this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Republicans are touting a new poll in the Montana Senate race that shows Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) with an 11-point lead over Sen. Jon Tester (D).
Rehberg led Tester, 53 percent to 42 percent, according to a survey paid for by the conservative group American Crossroads and obtained exclusively by Roll Call.
Tester faces one of the toughest re-election races of the cycle, and Roll Call rates the contest a Tossup. Crossroads GPS, the well-funded sister organization of American Crossroads, has already invested heavily in television ads on behalf of Rehberg in the high-stakes contest.
Aaron Murphy, a spokesman for Tester’s campaign, dismissed the poll’s findings.
“Polls will show different results all year, but no one’s taking this one seriously,” Murphy said. “Remember, this is the same Dennis Rehberg who voted to give himself five pay raises, voted to increase the debt ceiling 10 times, sued Montana firefighters for doing their job and gave tax breaks to fellow millionaires who ship American jobs overseas.”
The survey reiterated that both men are very well-known in the Big Sky State: Each lawmaker had 97 percent name identification. The polling memo also noted the candidates’ geographical strengths.
“Each candidate displays some regional strengths and weaknesses, with Rehberg establishing an advantage in Great Falls and Billings, and Tester the more positive image in Butte,” GOP pollster Nicole McCleskey wrote in the polling memo. “Missoula is more up-for-grabs.”
Public Opinion Strategies, a well-known GOP polling firm, conducted the survey of 400 likely Montana voters Jan. 9-10. The margin of error was 4.9 points.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.