Steve Bullock is the best-known and by far the best-liked, and his popularity has only grown in the five months since PPP last polled the race. But because of the state’s Republican leanings, he remains down to his most likely Republican opponent, Rick Hill.
Bullock lags Hill by only one point (39-38), but that is hardly a change from June.
PPP's survey included other primary candidates, but none came close to Hill (pictured above) and Bullock. Hill leads Ken Miller by 9 points and Neil Livingstone and Jeff Essman by 12. Bullock crushes fellow Democrat Larry Jent 70-6.
So why is Bullock trailing Hill?
“Steve Bullock is a strong candidate for the Democrats, but the Republicans have a
generic edge,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.
PPP was not paid to conduct the poll and discloses that it is "a Democratic polling company." They add that "polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that [PPP's] surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates."
There may be something to that bias considering PPP's Montana results: the same survey showed Rehberg leading Tester by 2%. A different poll obtained this week by Politico and commissioned by the Montana Chamber of Commerce has Tester up 5%.
Either way, here's the obvious bottom line: the race for governor and the Epic 2012 Senate Battle Royale are both very close.