Montana Politics

New Lee Poll Shows Just How Awful the 47 North Poll Was


Remember that terrible poll conducted by 47 North Communications a few weeks back that claimed that Denny Rehberg was going get 25% of the voter of Montana Democrats? The one whose numbers didn’t even add up to 100% and which contained a demographic makeup of Montana entirely at odds with recent electoral history and even a second poll by 47 North a few weeks later?

To be blunt, the poll was crap. Hell, I don’t have any reason to believe that they didn’t just pick the numbers out of thin air—or concoct a result that was most favorable to their old boss. Both of those explanations would make a great deal more sense that the results they claimed.

The latest poll on the race, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling for the Lee Newspapers, bears that out. In a race they call a virtual tie, with Tester leading 46-45, exactly 1% of Democrats supported Rehberg, a number that seems maybe a little high, but just about right.

This is going to be a race about turnout and independents, and it’s got to be a good sign for the Tester camp that the Senator leads among Independents by 12 points already.

Two lessons, one obvious, and one increasingly apparent: this is going to be an incredibly close race, at least until the public learns more about the difference between these two men and no one should take any polling done by 47 North seriously. They’re a joke, and a bad, partisan one at that.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


  • This race will be another yawner. What it boils down to is whether or not size really matters. What is better, a big Koch or a little Koch? Dopey Reeburp is a big Koch, and Tester is a little Koch. But they’re both still Kochs!

    Do we go with the crazy, or with the disappointment? It really IS a tossup at this point. Why? Because most Montanans would be hardpressed to name ANYTHING that Tester has done to distinguish himself since getting in.

    Oh sure, we all remember the great campaign rhetoric. He was gonna oppose the wars, etc. And now, we’re in a third one too! He looks for all the world to have become a little Koch. In fact, Tester has even managed to anger a whole lot of people who supported him LAST time around.

    The gentleman farmer routine has run its course. It’s time to put up or shut up. Tester best figure it out, or he’ll be farmin’ again real soon, and Dopey Reeburp will be a senator.

  • 47 to 44????

    From your link: "n a telephone poll of 625 registered voters early last week, 46 percent said they would vote to re-elect Tester if the election were held today — and 45 percent said they would choose Rehberg. Only 9 percent of those polled were undecided."

    Don, do you moonlight for North?

      • No problem, just having a little fun with you.

        As to the Lee and NSON polls they measured different populations but seem to point to the same outcome– Tester is in trouble. Lee measured registered voters. NSON measured likely voters. The discrepancy in the NSON poll I found to be a non event. Out of 400 likely voters 46% R’s 36% D’s and 14% I’s. The remaining 4% I attribute to those unwilling to answer the affiliation question but willing to answer who they would choose between Rehberg and Tester.

  • I just want to see Denny Pornstache go back to Billings and manage his lawsuits against citizens and public utilities full-time. Unlike legislation, he seems to be really good at those….

  • I think saying that Tester is in trouble is just your way to frame it. This is essentially a content between two incumbents–of course it’s going to be close. That Rehberg is either ahead by a few or behind by 1 in a Republican-leaning state seems to suggest “trouble” for him.

    I don’t buy the 47 North poll at all. The Ds voting for Rehberg makes no sense and the identified party affiliation? Nonsense.

    Close race, but 47 North has discredited itself badly with this and the marijuana poll.


      A new Montana Senate poll offered fresh evidence that Sen. Jon Tester will have trouble holding his seat against Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg.

      The two state political powerhouses were statistically tied in a new survey by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which was conducted for Lee Newspapers with 20 months to go in the race.
      ===end quote===

  • Sure, why not.

    With Tester having voted Yea for nearly everything Obama has asked for, why doesn’t he want to appear with him in Montana?,0,7352528.story

    Asked whether he would stand alongside Obama if he campaigned in Montana, as he did in 2008, Tester suggested not.

    “I’ll stand with [Brian] Schweitzer. I’ll stand with Max [Baucus],” Tester said of the state’s Democratic governor and senior U.S. senator. He had just finished a day of events that included visits to two union halls, a radio call-in show, a business round table at the Chamber of Commerce and a speech to a joint session of the Legislature.
    ===end quote===

    As the Lee poll shows Baucus’ favorability rating is only 38%, however Tester would stand with him but not Obama. At this point, the Tester Rehberg race should not even be close.

  • Polls ?

    We just came off an election 18 weeks ago, and the Denny pounded the best that the Dems could come up with.

    If the election was held today, Tester would do no better than Dennis McDonald did.

    The 2012 elections will be a referendum on Obama, plain & simple.

    • That’s absurd. McDonald was a relative unknown. Tester is an incumbent, fighting for his own seat. Denny is the challenger, looking for a promotion he does not deserve in the slightest.

      • So Polish Wolf, if you are correct, a lot of Dems voted for Denny instead of Dennis McDonald. Do you know any ? I don’t.

  • Eric, not only has D & R vision – a large portion of Montanans vote for candidates, not parties. I don’t think many Independents voted for McDonald. Until you figure out that most Montanans can see something besides a candidate’s party affiliation, you will never understand Montana politics as well as you think you do.

  • Howdy! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thanks a ton!

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