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2012 Watch: Tester, Webb Under 50%

1:24 PM, Nov 17, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, is already looking ahead to 2012, when Democrats will have to defend 23 Senate seats and Republicans will defend just 10.

2012 Watch: Tester, Webb Under 50%

In Montana, PPP finds Democratic senator John Tester trailing Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg 48% to 46% and former GOP governor Mark Racicot 49% to 42%. Two other potential candidates--Steve Daines and Neil Livingstone--are unknown by more than three quarters of the electorate, so Tester leads Daines 48% to 37% and Livingstone 46% to 35%. Tester won his first term in 2006 by just over 3,000 votes in his race against the embattled Conrad Burns, who was tied to Jack Abramoff. Tester's approve/disapprove rating is 50%/40%.

In Virginia, Democratic senator Jim Webb, who seems unsure about a run for reelection in 2012, polls at 49% when matched up against three potential opponents. Webb leads former senator George Allen 49% to 45%, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli 49% to 39%, and  Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling 49% to 39%. PPP suggest that Bolling may have more room for improvement: 

For Bolling a large part of the problem is anonymity- 55% of voters in the state say they don't know enough about him to have an opinion positive or negative. For Cuccinelli the problem is more that voters don't like him- 39% have an unfavorable opinion of him while only 31% have a favorable one and independents split against him by a 28/42 margin.

Webb defeated George Allen in 2006 by just over 7,000 votes. His approve/disapprove rating is 43%/37%.

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