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President Trump campaigning with Matt Rosendale in Montana. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Here's one reason Republicans are feeling better about the Montana Senate race: a new internal poll for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) shows Republican candidate Matt Rosendale leading Democratic Sen. Jon Tester by two points.

Why it matters: While this poll doesn't mean Democrats are certain to lose, they can't afford to give up this Senate seat in November. Montana's Senate seat is one of 10 Democrats are defending in states Trump won in 2016.

Two caveats to this poll: (1) the sample size is 600 likely voters around the state and (2) the margin of error is 4 points, meaning that Tester could, in fact, be ahead. And the Real Clear Politics average has Tester up by 5.5 points.

  • The poll also shows that Tester has a 49% favorable rating compared to Rosendale's 44%.
  • Illegal immigration is the top concern (24%) among the likely voters surveyed for this poll. That could help Rosendale fire up the Republican base in Montana, especially after President Trump tweeted "Democrats like Jon Tester continue to support the open borders agenda – Tester even voted to protect Sanctuary Cities. We need lawmakers who will put America First."

One more thing: Republicans control every statewide office in Montana, except for Tester's Senate seat and the governorship, per Real Clear Politics.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tesla's wild rise and European plan

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

Dave Lawler, author of World
50 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.