Poll: Tester holds narrow lead over Rosendale in Montana Senate race

Poll: Tester holds narrow lead over Rosendale in Montana Senate race
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocratic senators quietly hope Biden wins over rivals GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson to resign at end of year Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE (D) holds a narrow 3-point lead over his Republican challenger Matt Rosendale in a new poll of the Montana Senate race released two weeks from the election.

Tester leads Rosendale 46 percent to 43 percent in the Montana State University/Montana Television Network poll of registered voters, with 6.5 percent of respondents undecided.

Tester holds a double-digit lead over Rosendale among women in the poll, 52 percent to 39 percent, while Rosendale holds a 6-point lead over Tester among male voters.

David Parker, an associate professor of political science at Montana State University, said in a statement that "the key is how the independent vote will break." He noted that about 27 percent of undecided voters are independent.

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“Those voters could decide the election, as will turnout," Parker said.

Tester is one of 10 Senate Democrats facing reelection in a state President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE won in 2016. Polls have shown a tight race, with the Democratic incumbent typically holding a slight edge over his GOP challenger.

The Cook Political Report rates the race as a "toss-up," while FiveThirtyEight has it as "likely Democratic" and gives Tester a nearly 85 percent chance to retain the seat. 

The Montana State University/Montana Television Network poll results were based on surveys of registered voters in Montana from Sept. 15 to Oct. 6. The pollsters mailed questionnaires to 10,400 registered voters and received responses from 2,079 voters. 

The poll has an overall margin of error of 2 percentage points.