Politics

Tester, Rosendale Neck and Neck in Latest Montana Poll

Incumbent holds 3 point lead within error margin

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., walks to the Senate Democrats' policy lunch in the Capitol via the Senate subway tunnel Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just two weeks before the midterm elections on Nov. 6, Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester held a 3-point advantage over his Republican challenger in a new poll released by the Montana Television Network and Montana State University.

Tester, seeking a third term, led state auditor Matt Rosendale, 46 percent to 43 percent in the survey of registered voters. That’s within the margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points for the poll conducted by mail of more than 2,000 registered voters from late September through early October.

Republicans have gone hard this cycle at Tester, a Democrat in a state GOP President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016. He’s one of 10 such Democrats in Trump states up for re-election this cycle.

The president has visited Montana three times this cycle to stump for Rosendale, including a trip to Missoula last week.

Still, Tester holds a slight edge in the race according to a handful of handicappers.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Democratic.

The MTN-MSU poll released Monday tracks with three other public polls conducted in July and September that used a generally more accurate “likely voter” models.

Just over 2,000 of the 10,215 registered voters who received mail-in questionnaires responded to the survey. Pollsters then weighted responses based on demographics of the respondents and other criteria.

Tester’s most pronounced advantage over his opponent was among women. Fifty-two percent of women favored the incumbent, while 39 percent preferred Rosendale.

On the other hand, 47.5 percent of men said they would vote for Rosendale, compared to just 41 percent for Tester.

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