09 December 2011

Rank 31 / 21: Montana

Montana





The 3rd closest race of 2008.



Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:



Year
Rank
Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
Swing“
National Swing
Trend
2008
31 21
49.49%
+2.38%
+9.64%
-18.12%
+9.72%
+8.40
2004
39 13
59.07%
+20.50%
+18.04%
-4.57%
+2.98%
+1.59
2000
45 / 07
58.44%
+25.07%
+25.59%
+22.19%
+8.00%
+14.19
1996
36 / 16
44.11%
+2.88%
+11.40%
+5.39%
+2.96%
+8.35
1992
29 / 23
37.63%
+2.51%
-3.05%
+8.38%
+13.29%
+4.91
1988
20 / 32
52.07%
+5.87%
-1.86%
-16.43%
-10.49%
+5.94


Blue shading = DEM pick-up over the cycle before.
Red shading = GOP pick-up over the cycle before.

Montana margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): GOP +9.03 %





(raw totals for 2008 and 2004, margins, swings, % of state PV, county growth rate)



Trend: LEAN DEMOCRATIC

The trend in MT requires some explanation. MT is leaning LEAN DEMOCRATIC not just because Obama almost pulled an upset in the state, but rather, because the mathematical trend has gone for the Democratic Party now for two cycles in a row, especially interesting in that MT actually trended Democratic during the successful re-election of a Republican President in 2004.

Remember, a trend designation is in no way a prediction. A rock solid Democratic state, used to 66-34 wins over Republicans, may experience a statistical trend toward the Republican party, but this means in no way that anyone expects a Republican win there, say, in Rhode Island. 



The Partisan Rankings over 44 years

The partisan rankings for Ranking 31 (Montana) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow):

2008Margin '082004Margin - 042000Margin '001996Margin '961992Margin '921988Margin '88Rank1984Margin '841980Margin '801976Margin '761972Margin '721968Margin '681964Margin '642008
16 - 36NJ15,53%MN3,48%PA4,17%MI13,21%PA9,02%CA3,57%16 - 36TN16,27%DE2,33%FL5,28%MT20,08%MD1,64%MO28,10%
17 - 35NM15,13%MI3,42%MN2,40%CA12,89%NM8,56%MO3,98%17 - 35VT17,11%NY2,67%NY4,43%DE20,41%TX1,27%MN27,76%
18 - 34WI13,90%PA2,50%OR0,44%WA12,54%ME8,33%NM4,96%18 - 34OH18,76%ME3,36%MO3,63%OH21,56%AR7.64%OR27,75%
19 - 33NV12,49%NH1,37%IA0,31%LA12,07%DE8,20%CT5,10%19 - 33MI18,99%WI4,72%TX3,17%ME22,98%MO1,13%NH27,28%
20 - 32PA10,31%WI0,38%WI0,22%IA10,34%MI7,40%MT5,87%20 - 32DE19,85%LA5,45%PA2,66%AK23,51%NJ2,13%TX26,82%
21 - 31MN10,24%IA0,67%NM0,06%WI10,33%CT6,43%SD6,34%21 - 31MO20,05%VT5,96%HI2,53%MD23,90%OH2,28%OH25,89%
22 -30NH9,61%NM0,79%FL0,01%NH9,95%IA6,01%CO7,78%22 -30GA20,39%MI6,49%MS1,88%NM24,49%AK2,64%WA24,59%
23 - 29IA9,53%OH2,11%NH1,27%PA9,20%TN4,65%MI7,90%23 - 29NM20,48%MO6,81%WI1,68%MO24,59%IL2,92%WI24,35%
24 - 28CO8,95%NV2,59%MO3,34%OR8,09%LA4,61%LA10,21%24 - 28KY20,66%PA7,11%OH0,27%NJ24,80%CA3,08%IA23,97%
25 - 27VA6,30%CO4,67%OH3,51%NM7,33%WI4,35%OH10,85%25 - 27NJ20,89%IL7,93%OR0,17%HI24,96%DE3,51%CO23,07%
26 - 26OH4,58%FL5,01%NV3,55%OH6,36%CO4,26%ME11,45%26 - 26CT21,90%CT9,63%ME0,84%VT26,20%WI3,62%DE22,17%
27 - 25FL2,81%MO7,20%TN3,86%MO6,30%KY3,21%KY11,64%27 - 25ME22,05%OR9,66%IA1,01%ND26,28%GA12.43%NM18,98%
28 - 24IN1,03%VA8,20%AR5,44%FL5,70%NV2,63%DE12,40%28 - 24AR22,18%OH10,60%OK1,21%WV27,22%OR6,05%IL18,94%
29 - 23NC0,33%AR9,76%AZ6,28%TN2,41%MT2,51%TX12,60%29 - 23AL22,26%WA12,34%VA1,34%NV27,36%KY6,14%MT18,38%
30 - 22MO0,13%AZ10,47%WV6,32%AZ2,22%NJ2,37%ND13,06%30 - 22MT22,30%IA12,70%SD1,48%CO28,01%NV8,16%CA18,32%
31 - 21MT2,38%NC12,43%LA7,68%NV1,02%OH1,83%KS13,23%31 - 21LA22,60%VA12,72%CA1,78%KY28,60%NH8,18%NV17,16%
32 - 20GA5,20%WV12,86%VA8,04%KY0,96%NH1,22%NJ13,64%32 - 20IN23,99%NJ13,42%IL1,97%NH29,12%SC5,79%ND16,09%
33 - 19SD8,41%TN14,27%CO8,36%GA1,17%GA0,59%AR14,18%33 - 19NC24,00%TX13,86%NJ2,16%AZ31,26%MT9,01%WY13,12%
34 - 18AZ8,48%LA14,51%GA11,69%CO1,37%NC0,79%NC16,26%34 - 18MS24,39%CA16,78%NM2,47%IN32,77%CO9,14%AR12,66%
35 - 17ND8,65%GA16,60%NC12,83%VA1,96%FL1,89%TN16,34%35 - 17VA25,19%FL17,02%WA3,88%TX32,96%VT9,22%IN12,42%
36 - 16SC8,98%SC17,08%AL14,88%MT2,88%AZ1,95%OK16,65%36 - 16SD26,47%NM18,18%NV4,36%LA36,97%FL9,60%NC12,30%
37 - 15TX11,76%MS19,69%KY15,13%SD3,46%TX3,48%AL19,30%37 - 15TX27,50%IN18,35%CT5,17%VA37,72%TN3,83%OK11,49%
38 - 14WV13,09%KY19,86%IN15,63%NC4,69%SD3,52%IN20,16%38 - 14SC27,99%CO24,00%MI5,39%TN37,95%NC8,25%SD11,22%
39 - 13MS13,17%MT20,50%SC15,93%TX4,93%VA4,37%GA20,25%39 - 13CO28,32%MT24,39%ND5,85%AR38,11%VA10,87%TN11,01%
40 - 12KS14,92%IN20,68%MS16,91%MS5,13%KS5,14%VA20,50%40 - 12FL30,66%KS24,56%MT7,44%KS38,15%SD11,31%UT9,73%
41 - 11NE14,93%SD21,47%KS20,80%IN5,58%WY5,60%MS20,82%41 - 11ND31,04%OK25,53%KS7,55%ID38,20%NM12,10%KS9,03%
42 - 10TN15,06%TX22,86%TX21,32%SC6,04%IN6,11%NV20,94%42 - 10KS33,67%AK27,94%IN7,62%WY38,54%IA12,19%VA7,36%
43 - 9KY16,22%KS25,38%OK21,88%ND6,81%AL6,77%NE20,96%43 - 9NV33,88%SD28,83%VT11,20%NC40,58%IN12,30%NE5,21%
44 - 8LA18,63%AK25,55%SD22,73%AL6,97%SC8,15%AZ21,21%44 - 8AZ33,88%NH29,39%NH11,28%NE41,00%OK15,70%FL2,30%
45 - 7AR19,85%AL25,62%MT25,07%OK7,81%OK8,62%FL22,36%45 - 7AK36,79%AZ32,36%CO11,47%UT41,25%ND17,71%ID1,83%








MT ELECTORAL DEVELOPMENT




MT Electoral Development (electors through history): 3 (1892-1908), 4 (1912-1988) 3 EV (1992-present)




SUMMARY



Montana is the 21st most conservative state and the 31st most liberal state, with a Republican winning margin of +2.38% and having voted 9.64% more Republican than the national margin in 2008. Montana was the second closest statewide presidential contest for the Republicans in 2008  and the 3rd closest statewide race overall.

Montana was the 13th most conservative state and the 29th most liberal state in 2004, with a Republican winning margin of +20.50% and having voted 18.04% more Republican than the national margin in that year.

Montana was the 7th most conservative state and the 45th most liberal state in 2000, with a Republican winning margin of +25.07% and having voted 25.59% more Republican than the national margin in that year. 



From1904-2008, Montana went for the GOP 18 times, for the DEMS times.

Since1948 Montana went for the GOP 13 times, for the DEMS times.



Since its entry into the Electoral College in 1892 , it has gone for the GOP 19 times total, for the DEMS 11 times total.

Geographical note: with 380,838sq. km., MT is just slightly larger in land mass than the Federal Republic of Germany (357,114sq. km.), but with 81,729,000 people within its borders, Germany is 82.6 times more populous than Montana, which has 989,415 people within its borders. MT is the fourth largest state in the Union by land mass and the 44th largest by population. Germany has a population density of 228.9 persons per sq. Km. MT has a population density of 2.6 people per sq. Km. Germany has 88 times more people packed into a sq. km as MT! So, you see, the„Big Sky Country“ nickname is a very apt one.

Admitted to the Union on November 8, 1889, Montana first participated in a presidential election in 1892, and right from the start we can see the independent streak in this state. Already, in it's first election results, James Weaver of the Populist Party, took 16.50% of the vote – twice as much as his 8.51% national percentage, and Republican incumbent Benjamin Harrison barely won the state with a minority win of 42.44% and a +2.66% margin, the third leanest win in MT's electoral history. Remember these numbers when we get to 1992.
In both 1896 and 1900, MT was solidly in the Democratic column and supported William Jennings Bryan both times against William McKinley.In 1896, the electoral record of 79.93% and a margin of +60.23% was set and no candidate has even come close to this record since then. In 1900, Bryan retained the „Big Sky Country“ with a far lesser but still impressive 18.64% landslide margin.

So, in its first three presidential cycles as a newly admitted state, MT picked the loser all three times.

That changed starting in the next cycle: 1904 through 1956 (14 cycles in a row), MT was a bellwether state, having gone for the winner each time from 1904 up to 1960. The margins were often not really in line with the national margin, but the wins were mostly very decisive.

MT gave Teddy Roosevelt the first Republican landslide of it's history, with +20.42% but „only“ 54.21% of the vote. Reason: independent candidate Eugene Debs (Socialist Party), James Weaver (People's Party – YES, the same James Weaver as from 1892) and two other small candidates took 12.01% of the vote in 1904.

In 1908, Taft retained the state for the GOP, but with a lean +4.37% margin and a minority win of 46.98% to 42.61% AND 10.41% independent vote, most of it again for Eugene Debs (Socialist Party).

In 1912, Woodrow Wilson captured MT with a +6.87% margin but only 35.00%of the vote! (see: 1992). Teddy Roosevelt , with 28.13% (Bull Moose Party) took second place away from GOP incumbent Taft, who got only 23.19% AND ON TOP OF THAT, the „other“, or 4th Party vote was 13.68%, virtually all of it once again Eugene Debs (Socialist Party).

This means that 3 of the first 6 cycles in MT's electoral history were minority wins and 4 of those 6 had intensive third or even fourth party activity.

In1916, with the disappearance of a 3rd party and a very reduced fourth party vote, Wilson commanded a large landslide in MT of +19.31%, whereas in the national election, his winning margin was much leaner than 1912.

In the roaring twenties, MT went for all three GOP presidents: Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, all with varying margins. The 61.13% of the PV and a +29.08% margin from 1920 for Harding is still the GOP record-setter. Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush 43 would come close in percentage, but not in margin. Reason: 6.82% for the 3rd party Farmer-Labor vote.


In 1924, Coolidge won MT with a lean +4.60% margin but only 42.50% of the vote. Reason: third party influence and in this case, the third party (Robert LaFollette, Progressive Party, listed as„LaF.-Wh. Ind.“) upset the second party. LaFollette garnered 37.91%of the vote in 1924, while Democrat John Davis only got 19.38%. The same Democratic party that set the record with 79.93% just 28 years before. 



So, within the first 9 cycles of MT's electoral history, we see 4 minority wins and 5 cycles of major third/fourth party activity, 2 cycles in which the 3rd party took 2nd place in the results.


That changed in 1928: with practically no third party participation on the ballot, Hoover won a clean +17.89% landslide and both his percentage and marginal most perfectly paralleled his national figures. This is the first time in MT's electoral history that the state paralled the national figures so closely.

In 1932, FDR flipped MT to the Democratic Party with +22.73% (above his national average) and retained the state in 1936 (+41.69%,the second highest DEM win in MT history), 1940 (+18.61%) and 1944 (+9.35%).1940 is notable as that was the year where many "FDR" states went back into single-digit margins. Not so in MT. Harry Truman actually improved ever so slightly on FDR's 1944 statistic and retained MT with +9.95% (over his national average). Over these cycles (1928-1948) there was very little third/party activity.

MT loved IKE in 1952 and gave him a +19.31% margin (well over his national margin). It loved him less in 1956,with +14.27% (slightly under his national margin). In the razor-close election of 1960, Richard Nixon retained the state with a lean +2.50%, which, until 2008, was the record holder for the leanest win in MT's history.

 In 1960, MT lost its bellwether status.



In 1964, in an indication of the right-wing trend in this state, MT gave Johnson a +18.38% landslide margin (under his national average) and with statistics almost identical to FDR 1940 – FDR's THIRD election. That being said, of all the states in the Rocky Mountain zone, Johnson's win here was the second highest in the region, after Colorado.

In 1968, MT returned to the GOP column and would stay there for the next 6 cycles.

In 1968, Nixon won MT by +9.01%,but barely came over 50% (50.60%)in the PV. Reason: Third Party vote (Wallace, „American“, 7.29%). Nixon's 1968 win in MT was well over his national +0.70 margin, and conversely, his +20.08% margin in 1972 was UNDER his national margin. The state was not competitive for Jimmy Carter in 1976: Ford won here with +7.44%.


Reagan romped here both in 1980 and 1984, but again, with margins that went against the grain: in 1980, he won with +24.39% (well above his national margin) and in 1984 with +22.30%,a lesser margin, but still greater than his national margin.
With 1988 and the last 6 cycles to date, we entered a phase where 4 of those 6 cycles were single digit wins, 3 cycles had 3rd party activity and 4 of those cycles had increasing 4th party activity. Michael Dukakis actually made MT much more competitive than people realize. Bush  41won MT, but by only +5.87% in a pure two man race. It was the best percentual showing for a Democrat in this state since 1960.

In 1992, which was like a replay of 1912 or a replay of 1892 in reverse, Bill Clinton eeked-out a narrow +2.51% win here over George W. Bush 41, with 37.63% to 35.21% and a massive third party vote for Ross Perot: 26.12%

The tables turned slightly in 1996: with half of the „Perot“ vote in that year over 1992, Bob Dole returned MT to the GOP column, but with an equally lean +2.88% and again, a minority win. This is the first GOP minority win in MT since1924!

In 2000, George W. Bush, Jr. (43) swept MT with a massive +25.07% margin, the largest margin in the state since 1936, better than Reagan, Nixon or Eisenhower's margins. However, he came in under 60% of the vote (58.44%). Reason: THIRD party vote: Ralph Nader got 5.95% and the Reform Party that Perot formed put up Pat Buchanan as its candidate in 2000 in MT, where he got 1.39% of the vote. In 2004, Bush's margin was slightly reduced to +20.50%, but his actual percentage of the vote in MT went UP to 59.07%, due to the absence of a third party on the ballot. Most of those Nader voters either didn't show up or chose Kerry in 2004.

Obama's surprisingly good showing in MT in 2008 is something that most pundits did not expect to happen.

McCain's win in MT 2008, with
+2.36%, is:

-the third closest race in 2008 and the second closest Republican win.

-the closest Presidential „squeaker“ in MT history, having surpassed Nixons +2.50% win in 1960.

-the highest percentage for a Democratic candidate in MT since 1964 and the highest Democratic losing percentage since 1960.

-the third largest cross-partisan shift of 2008, behind IN and KS and the fourth largest partisan shift overall, behind HI, IN and KS.

One more interesting note about MT 2008: the „third party“ candidate on the ballot who got most of the„other“ vote, was RON PAUL, who was placed on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate, in spite of the fact that on the national ballot in all other states, the Libertarian candidate was Bob Barr. Ron Paul got 2.17% of the vote in MT.

Don't forget, at the beginning of the 20th century, it was the Socialist Party that made big third party numbers. Now it is the Libertarian Party making inroads in „TheTreasure State“.


Important details about MT:

Republicans:


-Since1904 every elected Republican president has won MT for either or both terms,without exception:T. Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43.

-The only completely non-elected incumbent in our history, Gerald R. Ford, won MT in his first election attempt (1976).

Only one 2-term Republican in all of history did not win MT either time: William McKinley, in 1896 and 1900.

Democrats:
Since1904, 4 Democratic Presidents have won MT in their first election, Wilson (1912), FDR (1932), Truman (1948), Johnson (1964), Clinton (1992).

Since 1904, 3 Democratic Presidents have lost MT in their first election: Kennedy (1960), Carter (1976), Obama (2008)



Independents

No third party candidate has ever won MT since 1892, but there have been some close calls.



MT and Incumbents

UNLIKE 
RI and MI,Montana has for the most part NOT rewarded incumbents who won re-election in percentage. 


President - MT Year / Margin Year / Margin State Shift National Shift: State minus Nat'l (TREND)
Wilson
1912 / +6.87
1916 / +19.31
+12.44
-11.32
+23.76
FDR
1932 / +22.73
1936 / +41.69
+18.96
+6.49
+12.47
FDR
1936 / +41.69
1940 / +18.61
-23.08
-14.30
+8.78
FDR
1940 / +18.61
1944 / +9.35
-9.26
-2.46
+6.80
Eisenhower
1952 / +19.31
1956 / +14.27
-1.78
+4.55
+5.04
Nixon
1968 / +9.01
1972 / +20.08
+11.07
+22.98
+11.91
Carter 1976 / -7.44 1980 / -24.39
-16.95
-11.80
+5.15
Reagan
1980 / +24.39
1984 / +22.30
-2.09
+8.48
+10.57
Bush 41 1988 / +5.87 1992 / +2.51
-8.38
-13.29
+4.91
Clinton
1992 / +2.51
1996 / +2.88
-5.39
+2.96
+8.35
Bush 43
2000 / +25.07
2004 / +20.50
-4.57
+2.98
+7.55
Obama 
2008 / +2.36
2012 / ??? ??? ??? ???



Redshading = GOP pick-up


To explain this gobbledygook, the most important value to understand isthe “State minus Nat'l” value, in the right-most column, shadedin grey. 
If it is a positive number, then this is good for that incumbent. Unlike RI and MI, where most of the “State minus Nat'l”numbers are positive, MT is a mixed-bag of results, to say the least.


Sometimes the numbers look counterintuitive, but they are real. Bush 41 (1988 and 1992) is an outstanding case. Bush 41 WON MT in 1988, by +5.87% (under his +7.73% national margin from that year). Bill Clinton won MT in1992 by +2.51% (also under his national margin for that year). That makes for a partisan shift within the state of -8.38% for Bush 41 or +8.38% for the Democratic Party (Dukakis to Clinton). But because Bush did so much worse nationally than he did in MT in 1992, the difference between the statewide partisan shift and the national partisan shiftis actually a POSITIVE trend for the GOP. In other words, had Bill Clinton won MT in 1992 with a +7.42% margin instead of the historically recorded +2.51%, then the TREND in MT would have been absolutely 0.00, or STEADY, for a margin of +7.42% for Clinton would have made a statewide partisan shift of exactly -13.29 for Bush, which would have been identical to his national: -13.29. Quick math:  -13.29 - (-13.29) = 0.00.



It is the same story for Clinton, 1996 over 1992. He picked-up MT in 1992 and lost it to Bob Dole in 1996, both times by lean margins. But in relation to his national shift, MT TRENDED +8.35 points back again to the Republican Party, erasing the Democratic TREND gains from the Reagan/Bush era from 1980 through 1988.


The lowest TREND number for incumbents since 1912 is 4.91, the highest is 23.76. This means that MT has not really ever trended close to the national partisan shift, ever. This is one of those states that can swing wildly one way or the other, which explains the close statewide election of 2008.

Based on its voting record, MT is not bellwether state, having missed the Electoral College winner in 4 of the last 26 cycles, or 100 years and having missed the PV winner in 5 of the last 26 cycles, and more recently, it has missed the Electoral College winner 4 times since 1960 and the PV winner 5 times since 1960. It had a perfect bellwether record from 1904-1956, so all the misses have come since 1960.



Why was MT called a „battleground“ in 2008?

Because polling started to show the state, with it's heavy blue-collar working base, to be extremely competitive.

It is somewhat ironic that  core Republicans states like IN or VA both fell to Obama, but the GOP was able to hold MT. This is yet another sign that Montana has tilted more to the right, while at the same time, a perennial battleground state like Ohio has been tilting ever slightly to the left.

Of the 18 polls conducted in MT from March to November 2008, McCain won 15 polls and Obama won 3, but it was the very lean margin that concerned the Republicans. The end polling average showed McCain leading by +1.66%:


MONTANA
Date
Obama
McCain
Other
Und.
Margin
FINAL AVG:
11/03
45.37
47.03
2.65
4.58
+1.66
Results
11/04
47.11
49.49
3.39
---
+2.36
Diff.

-1.74
-2.46
-0.74
+4.58
-0.70







11/03
48
47
4*
1
1
10/31
46
49
1
3
3
10/31
44
48
3
5
4
10/30
46
50
2
2
4
10/28
44
48
--
8
4
10/23
44.2
40.2
4.9
9.5
4.2
10/19
45
49
3
3
4
10/09
45
50
--
5
5
10/02
44
52
2
2
8
09/26
39
52
4
5
13
09/24
43
54
--
3
11
09/17
47
49
1
4
2
09/09
42
53
2
3
11
07/31
44
45
4
6
1
07/03
48
43
4
5
5
05/25
39
47


8
04/10
43
48


5
03/06
39
47


8



* 11/03 PPP (D): 4 points for Paul






Can MT become a battleground in 2012?



Less likely. Current polling shows the GOP field leading between 10-15 points infront of the President, and since this state has a statistical tilt to the right, it would take a sizeable Obama landslide to pull MT over the line in 2012, so to speak.

MT Superlatives
YEAR
Candidate
Winning %
Notes
GOP
1980
Harding
61.13%
+29.08% margin 
DEM
1892
Bryan
79.93%
 +60.23% margin
IND
1912
1992
T. Roosevelt
Perot
28.13%
26.12%
Roosevelt became the 2nd party in MT.
----
Perot's 6th highest % in 1992 
---------------------
Winning Margin %
All-time "squeaker"
2008
McCain
+2.36%



In Montana - and this is somewhat unique situation, the Governor and both Senators are Democrats. The Lt. Governor and the at-large US Representative are both Republican. Once again, as in the case of Missouri, we see split-government within the Governor's mansion in MT. In the Montana Legislaturethe Republican Party has a strong majority in the Senate and hypermajority in the House. The Montana Legislature „flipped“ to the GOP in the 2010 Mid-Term elections.

Facit: in2007, I wroteMontana is a relatively safe GOP state that can swing in a landslide election or a three way election.

Facit 2011: 
Facit 2007 still holds.

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