An internal Rehberg campaign poll taken as the representative mulled a Senate bid showed him leading Tester 49% to 43%. And while internal polls are liable to be biased, a PPP poll in November showed a similar result, with Rehberg leading 48% to 46%.
Tester is in his first term in the Senate, having assumed office in 2007 after knocking off Sen. Conrad Burns (R). Burns was one of six incumbent Republican Senators who lost reelection bids that year as Democrats reclaimed control of the upper chamber of Congress.
Yet Tester won his race by less than one percentage point. Looking ahead to next year, it appears as though he'll have a similarly tough fight on his hands to head back to Washington for a second term.
The 47 North poll was conducted February 16-17 among 400 likely Montana voters. It has a margin of error of 4.65%.