PPP's newest Montana poll finds a steep drop for Barack Obama in the state compared to a month ago. He now trails Mitt Romney by 11 points, 52-41. Previously he had been behind by only 5 points at 50-45.
Montanans have really warmed up to Mitt Romney in the last month. 52% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 44% with a negative one. That's up a net 9 points from last month when was at a -1 spread (47/48). At the same time Obama's already poor approval numbers have sunk even further. He was already at a 44/54 approval spread last month and that has declined further to 40% now with 56% of voters disapproving of him.
When Gary Johnson is included in the poll he gets 6% with Romney leading Obama 50-40. That's consistent with our general finding that Johnson doesn't pull too disproportionately from either Obama or Romney and is thus unlikely to play a spoiler effect in the contest.
The good news for Democrats is that even as Obama's standing has deteriorated in the last month, Jon Tester's has remained unchanged. Last month we found him leading Denny Rehberg 45-43 with Libertarian Dan Cox at 8% and this month we find the exact same numbers for all three candidates. Tester leads thanks to a 45-36 lead with independents and because he's taking 88% of the Democratic vote while only 78% of Republicans stand behind Rehberg.
Montanans aren't thrilled with the job Tester is doing. 42% approve while 50% disapprove. The reason he has a slight advantage at this point is that they like Rehberg even less. He has only a 41% approval rating with 52% of voters disapproving of him. This has become the reality in a lot of hotly contested Senate races this year- with the high volume of negative ads voters have in many cases ended up disgusted with both candidates.
Republicans have the advantage in Montana's open House race. Steve Daines is at 43% to 34% for Kim Gillan and 10% for Dave Kaiser. Both candidates continue to be pretty unknown to the voters, with only 50% name recognition, so the numbers at this point are kind of a generic ballot and Gillan could gain as people become more familiar with her in the final month.
Full results here