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MT Senate: Moves to Toss-up

Topics: 2006 , The 2006 Race

Two pieces of housekeeping: First, our latest update of the charts and scoreboards moves the Montana Senate race to the toss-up category. The new Reuters/Zogby poll showing Democrat Tester up by just a single percentage point confirms a recent Rasmussen poll showing Tester ahead by just three points. These two new polls help pull Tester's lead over Republican Senator Conrad Burns to just 3.2% on the last five public polls, just enough to move Montana to the toss-up category.

Second, those who watch this site closely have noticed the lag between updates of our "most recent polls" box and the charts. Until today, our charts and tables have updated infrequently, sometimes only once a day. The reason is largely technical (and not worth attempting to explain), but from now until the Election Day we are committed to far more frequent updates - hopefully at least three updates a day. Also, by popular demand, we will try to post updates like this one on the blog when our categorization of a race changes.

 

Comments
Bruce Moomaw:

I just ignore ALL of Zogby's statewide polls (though not his national ones). For foms reason, from the very start they have been so grotesquely inaccurate (in no particular ideological direction) as to be utterly useless. In 1998, he called the NY Senate race for D'Amato by 0.5% (he lost by 10) and Illinois for Moseley-Braun by 3 points (she lost by 4). His record has not improved since them.

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BruceMoomaw:

Make that "for some reason", not for "foms reason". (Gadfry.)

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Srini Venkat:

Quote from last week's Montana Senate debate between Burns (R) vs Tester (D):

Senator Burns : "I think President Bush has got a plan .... we're not going to tell you what it is, John (Tester)... if we tell you, you're just going to blow it up .... "

I guess that "compelling argument" really helped change some minds in Montana :-)

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Bruce Moomaw:

According to Robert Novak ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/01/AR2006110102970.html ), what's been changing voters' minds is Burns yelling continuously over the airwaves that Tester wants to Raise Your Taxes. (Burns, of course, isn't proposing to cut government spending instead. Deliberately inflating the deficit to the size of the Crab Nebula, and then letting your successors in office deal with the resulting mess, seems to be the Wave of the Future where election campaigns in democracies are concerned -- at least until those democracies install some kind of institutional system to make it more difficult for politicians to do that.)

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Any thoughts on the validity of the poll the Tester campaign is releasing on early voting results?
http://www.testerforsenate.com/2006/11/02/montanans-voting-for-change-voting-for-tester/

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For decades, the Republicans in Congress were proposing an institutional mechanism designed to prevent politicians from inflating the deficit to the size of the Crab Nebula. It was called the balanced budget amendment. The Democrats in Congress defeated it again and again.

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oz:

These polls are wrong most of the times. Tester will win as Ford in TN, Allen in VA and Talent in MO.I see that pollsters engage in a lot of guessing game. Zogby was all wrong but one in 2004 and Rasmussen missed the most. Turnout will determine election results...

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keikekaze:

Yeah, Republicans really, REALLY, care about balanced budgets, as their unanimous enthusiasm for spectacularly budget-busting tax cuts and astronomical annual deficits so amply proves.

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Alan R. Snipes:

Yeah, Democrats voted against the balanced budget amendment and when Bill Clinton came into office along with a Democratic Congress voted to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of incomes (oh those poor oppressed rich people!)cut spending, and EVERY Republican voted against it eventually producing surpluses for three years that George Bush immediately got rid of by helping those poor oppressed rich people.

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Matonte:

Yeah, it was kinda funny when Zogby said that on the afternoon of the election that the polls stated a 50-49-1 vote for Kerry with the election coming down to Pennsylvania and VIRGINIA...that may be a possible scenario as Virginia pushes to the middle in the future, but Zogby was WAAYYYY OFFF.

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Matonte:

...I also find it odd that the leftist John Zogby always talks about how the religous right is just BOOMING (they claim that 60% of the population was pro-choice in 1990 but by 2006, there were only 52%) while other pollsters show a slight uptick in pro-life thought in the early 80s and late 90s and a slight uptick of pro-choice sentiment in 1991 and 2005 (Think Thomas,Roberts and Alito for that...in fact Thomas, Kennedy and Souter were going to be the ones that would overrule Roe in Casey...) but all in all, these opinions haven't shifted much at all out of the margin of error for decades.

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Gary Kilbride:

That's the one fear tactic Republicans can still abuse as a Hail Mary, higher taxes. I sample the local media outlets every day via the state pages on dcpoliticalreport.com and taxes are all over the place in the Montana race, as Bruce Moomaw indicated in an earlier comment. The Billings Gazette did an excellent bracket-by-bracket rundown today that hopefully will ease concerns in Montana. Tester and Burns don't differ at all on the income tax brackets until the top 0.7% of the population, averaging $1 million per year:

http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/11/02/news/state/20-taxes.txt

On progressive sites there is dismay Jim Gibbons is hanging on to a small lead in Nevada gov, despite an annoying tendency to assault cocktail waitresses. It's also taxes in Nevada. Gibbons' current commercial leads off with, "My opponent and I are as different as night and day. She will raise your taxes. I wont."

Nothing to do with polling, but here's a good new read on Jon Tester and his campaign:

http://www.missoulanews.com/News/News.asp?no=6083

I'm confident Tester will hold on. These races always figured to tighten, especially incumbents who are persistent underdogs like Burns and Erlich. Give me the longterm lead and no major gaffes and I'll take my chances. Stretchrunners always have the worst of it.

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