Poll: Montana Senate Seat Could Go To GOP in 2012

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) could be on his way out of the Senate after just one term.

In a new poll of likely voters conducted by 47 North Communications, Tester trails Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) in a hypothetical 2012 match-up. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they would vote for Rehberg, while only 44% said they would back Tester.

Earlier this month, Rehberg formally announced that he would take on Tester in next year’s election.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%.