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Montana Senate Race



Burns (R)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Jon Tester

Jon Tester (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

RealClearPolitics Snapshot
RCP Average: Tester +3.0 % |RCP Chart
RCP Ranking: Toss Up

Polling Data

PollDateSampleBurns (R)Tester (D)Und.Spread
Final Results----48.349.2--Tester +0.9
RCP Average10/24 - 11/4--45.548.54.0Tester +3.0
Rasmussen11/4 - 11/4500 LV48501Tester +2
USA Today/Gallup11/1 - 11/4874 LV41506Tester +9
Mason-Dixon10/31 - 11/2625 LV47475Tie
Reuters/Zogby10/24 - 10/31600 LV46474Tester +1

All Montana Senate Race Polling Data

Previous Elections

2000: Burns 51, Schweitzer 47
1994: Burns 62, Mudd 38

2004: Bush 59, Kerry 39
2000: Bush 58, Gore 33
1996: Dole 44, Clinton 41


Occupation: Blue Collar 22.0% | White Collar 58.6% | Gray Collar 19.4%
Race: White 89.5% | Native American 6.0% | Hispanic 2.0% | Asian 0.5% | Black 0.3%


(November 4) Burns continues to close with Mason-Dixon’s numbers going from Tester up 7 in September, to up 3 in October to now tied in November. Rasmussen Reports originally had their latest poll at 6 points for Tester with leaners, speaking with Scott Rasmussen today, he says that was a mistake and their Wednesday night poll has Tester ahead by 4, 50%-46%.

Burns has the definite momentum, but he is still closer to 45% in the RCP Average rather than 50%, a dangerous place to be for a Republican incumbent.

(October 24) With the Mason-Dixon poll indicating a 4-point move toward Burns from their last poll in September and confirming Rasmussen's poll from late last week showing Burns pulling within three, we are moving this race to a toss up. Unlike Pennsylvania and Ohio where Democratic challengers have been able to build up big leads and are currently at 50% in the RCP Average, Tester has been unable to put Burns away. Given the conservative tilt to Montana, Burns has a shot at holding on, though Tester retains the advantage because of the whiff of Abramoff and the fact the incumbent still seems stuck in the low forties.

(October 20) Thursday evening from Rasmussen Reports: "Burns has closed the gap in Montana. He now trails Tester by two, 48% to 46%. When leaners are included, it's Tester 49% Burns 46%.... With the exception of the one poll showing a tie in August, this is the closest the candidates have been since April."

We are watching closely where Mason-Dixon pegs this race next week.

(October 17) We have bumped Conrad Burns down to only the fourth most endangered incumbent. RCP still has the race rated "Leans Democrat" but, perhaps tellingly, Tester has not been able to put Burns away. The conservative tilt to Montana and the fact that Burns can probably expect strong national support from the GOP down the stretch gives Republicans a shot to hold this seat.

(October 13) Burns trails by 5.7% in the latest RCP Average. Tester has been in control in this race for months and while you can’t completely count Burns out, this doesn’t feel like the kind of year where he will be able to pull off a comeback.

(October 1) Trailing in October is different than trailing in August, and Mason-Dixon’s latest poll showing Burns at 40% and trailing by 7 points is bad news for his ultimate chances. Burns can’t be counted out because Montana is conservative state, but Tester clearly has the edge heading into the home stretch.

(August 20) We are tempted to put this race into the Leans Democrat column, and as things stand today Burns will probably lose, but this is a race and more importantly a state where President Bush can make a difference. Bush carried Montana by over 20 points in both 2000 and 2004 and if Burns can dent Tester’s image with paid advertising and have some success as painting him as a liberal more in step with national Democrats than Montana, he has a good shot at winning a third term. However, his Abramoff baggage and sub-40% job approval, combined with Tester’s folksy appeal, is why we feel the challenger has the advantage.

Links for More Information

Money Race: Latest FEC Filings

Blogs: MTPolitics | TesterTime | RightMontana | ElectionDaze

State Newspaper Coverage: Billings Gazette | The Missoulian

State Parties: Mt GOP | Mt Dems

Polling Data

PollDateSampleBurns (R)Tester (D)Und.Spread
Final Results----48.349.2--Tester +0.9
RCP Average10/24 - 11/4--45.548.54.0Tester +3.0
Rasmussen11/4 - 11/4500 LV48501Tester +2
USA Today/Gallup11/1 - 11/4874 LV41506Tester +9
Mason-Dixon10/31 - 11/2625 LV47475Tie
Rasmussen11/1 - 11/1500 LV46502Tester +4
Reuters/Zogby10/24 - 10/31600 LV46474Tester +1
Rasmussen10/26 - 10/26500 LV48511Tester +3
Harstad Strategic Res. (D)10/24 - 10/25662 LV4248--Tester +6
Mason-Dixon10/17 - 10/19625 LV43469Tester +3
Rasmussen10/18 - 10/18500 LV46494Tester +3
Rasmussen10/11 - 10/11500 LV44504Tester +6
Reuters/Zogby9/25 - 10/2607 LV42469Tester +4
Mason-Dixon9/26 - 9/28625 LV404710Tester +7
Rasmussen9/20 - 9/20500 LV43505Tester +7
Rasmussen9/12 - 9/12500 LV43524Tester +9
USA Today/Gallup8/23 - 8/27641 LV45485Tester +3
Lake Research (D)8/8 - 8/10600 LV374416Tester +7
Rasmussen8/8 - 8/8500 LV47475Tie
Mason-Dixon5/22 - 5/24625 LV424513Tester +3
Rasmussen5/11 - 5/11500 LV44485Tester +4
Ayres McHenry (R)4/25 - 4/27600 424810Tester +6
Rasmussen4/11 - 4/11500 LV47445Burns +3
Rasmussen3/14 - 3/14500 LV43465Tester +3
Rasmussen2/7 - 2/7500 LV46464Tie
Rasmussen1/9 - 1/9500 LV45456Tie
Mason-Dixon12/13 - 12/15625 RV493616Burns +13
Rasmussen9/8 - 9/8500 LV51387Burns +13
Mason-Dixon5/23 - 5/25625 LV502624Burns +24