PPP's final polls in Arizona and Montana find Mitt Romney leading by 7 points and two key Senate races leaning in opposite directions, with Democrat Jon Tester leading Republican challenger Denny Rehberg 48-46 in Montana and Republican Jeff Flake leading Democratic foe Richard Carmona 51-46 for the open seat in Arizona.
Obama came close to winning Montana in 2008 and Arizona was thought of earlier this year as a place where he might be able to expand the map. But he's not popular in either state, sporting a 42/53 approval rating in Arizona and 44/53 one in Montana. In Arizona he's up 69/30 with Hispanics, but that's not enough to make up for a 61/39 deficit with white voters. In Montana Obama would have to win independents to make up for the Republican lean of the state, but he's losing 51/43 with them.
We've released 4 Montana Senate polls since Labor Day and Tester has led by 2 points in every one of them. Voters are closely split on Tester with 47% of voters approving of him to 46% who disapprove, but that makes him far more popular than Rehberg who only has a 37% approval with 54% of voters unhappy with his performance. The only reason this race is even close is the GOP nature of the state. Tester's ahead 50/37 with independents.
Just like in the Missouri Senate contest the Libertarian candidate is worth keeping an eye on here. Dan Cox is pulling 4% and the fact that his voters support Romney 56-11 suggests that he's pulling almost of them from Rehberg. Cox's support has already dropped from 7% three weeks ago, and Tester needs for it to not drop much further.
Richard Carmona led our last Arizona Senate poll, in early October, 45-43. What's happened since then is pretty straight forward- the Republican base has unified around Jeff Flake. He's gone from pulling 70% of Republicans on that survey to now 88%. And although Carmona still leads by 5 points with independents, Flake's cut that down from a 15 point lead a month ago.
Attacks on Carmona have taken a toll- his net favorability has dropped 11 points from +8 at 35/27 to -3 at 40/43. He leads 70/26 with Hispanics but that's not enough to make up for his 59/39 deficit with white voters.
-The Governor's race is all tied up with Steve Bullock and Rick Hill each at 48%. Bullock is much more personally popular (47/37 favorability) than Hill (39/45) as we've found all year, but he's still struggling to overcome the GOP bent of the state.
-The open House race finds Republican Steve Daines leading Democrat Kim Gillan 48-44.
-Montana's 'corporations are not people' initiative is headed for an overwhelming passage with 59% of voters planning to support it to 25% who are opposed. There's bipartisan support for the initiative with Democrats (76/12), independents (58/26), and Republicans (45/36) all saying they'll vote for it.
Full results here