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HELENA - Gov. Judy Martz came from behind before to win an election, and shouldn't be worried that a recent poll gives her low marks, said her spokesman.

"I donà t think too many people were betting on Judy Martz to become governor three years ago," said Chuck Butler of Martz's win over Democrat Mark O'Keefe despite being outspent 3-to-1. "And probably, if she'd listened to the tea leaves, maybe she wouldn't have gotten in the race."

Martz has said she will decide next month whether she will run for re-election.

A Lee Newspapers poll released Sunday found only 18 percent of Montana voters would vote for Martz if the 2004 election were held today. Her positive job performance rating came in at 20 percent.

The poll also said that she would lose to Democratic challenger Brian Schweitzer of Whitefish by a 52 percent to 24 percent margin if the election were held today, with 24 percent undecided.

The telephone poll, taken of 625 Montana from May 16-19 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Butler said polls are "good snapshots in time," but noted there is more than a year to the 2004 primary election and nearly 18 months until the 2004 general election.

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