United States presidential election in Montana, 2008

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United States presidential election in Montana, 2008
Montana
2004 ←
November 4, 2008
→ 2012

  John McCain official portrait with alternative background.jpg Obama portrait crop.jpg
Nominee John McCain Barack Obama
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Arizona Illinois
Running mate Sarah Palin Joe Biden
Electoral vote 3 0
Popular vote 243,882 232,159
Percentage 49.49% 47.11%

Montana presidential election results 2008.svg

County Results
  Obama—60-70%
  Obama—50-60%
  Obama—<50%
  McCain—<50%
  McCain—50-60%
  McCain—60-70%
  McCain—70-80%
  McCain—80-90%

President before election

George W. Bush
Republican

Elected President

Barack Obama
Democratic

The 2008 United States presidential election in Montana took place on November 4, 2008 throughout all 50 states and D.C., which was part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Voters chose 3 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.

Montana was won by Republican nominee John McCain by a 2.38% margin of victory. Before the election, Montana was initially viewed as safe republican, but was viewed as lean republican or toss-up in the final weeks. Historically the state is a Republican stronghold, but polls during the 2008 election showed Democrat Barack Obama just narrowly trailing Republican John McCain. On election day, McCain narrowly carried Montana. Like 2004, this state had a strong showing among third party and independent candidates, as Ron Paul received over 2% of the vote, possibly taking away conservative votes from McCain. It was the fourth closest state in the nation, behind Missouri, North Carolina and Indiana.

Primaries[edit]

Campaign[edit]

Predictions[edit]

There were 17 news organizations who made state by state predictions of the election. Here are their last predictions before election day:

  1. D.C. Political Report: Republican[1]
  2. Cook Political Report: Toss Up[2]
  3. Takeaway: Leaning McCain[3]
  4. Election Projection: Leaning McCain[4]
  5. Electoral-vote.com: Leaning Republican[5]
  6. Washington Post: Leaning McCain[6]
  7. Politico: Leaning McCain[7]
  8. Real Clear Politics: Toss Up[8]
  9. FiveThirtyEight.com: Toss Up[9]
  10. New York Times: Leaning Republican[10]
  11. CNN: Toss Up[11]
  12. NPR: Leaning McCain[6]
  13. MSNBC: Toss Up[6]
  14. Fox News: Republican[12]
  15. Associated Press: Republican[13]
  16. Rasmussen Reports: Toss Up[14]

Polling[edit]

Although Republican George W. Bush of Texas carried the Treasure State by double digits in both 2000 and 2004, polls taken throughout July indicated a close race between Republican John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Barack Obama of Illinois. When Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska was announced as McCain's running mate in late August, however, McCain took a double-digit lead in the state that lasted until the middle of October, when polling once again showed the two candidates within striking distance of each other in the state. When the actual 2008 presidential election took place, McCain carried the state by about 2.26 percentage points.[15] The state's results were significantly closer than they were in the 2004 election when George W. Bush carried the state by a margin of 20 points.[16]

Fundraising[edit]

John McCain raised a total of $386,940 in the state. Barack Obama raised $1,089,874.[17]

Advertising and visits[edit]

Obama and his interest groups spent $1,732,467. McCain and his interest groups spent just $134,805.[18] The Democratic ticket visited the state 3 times and McCain didn't visit the state.[19]

Analysis[edit]

Montana, a Republican-leaning state, has voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election since 1968 except in 1992 when the state slightly preferred Democrat Bill Clinton to Republican George H. W. Bush.

Obama did very well among the Democratic base of Montana, which consists of three sections. Students in Missoula County, which is home to the University of Montana, helped him win a three-to-two margin there. In the southwest, Obama won more than 65% of the vote in Deer Lodge County and Silver Bow County - Democratic strongholds which have voted Republican only twice since 1912. Finally, Native Americans gave Obama strong support; in the eastern part of the state, Obama only won counties in which Native Americans composed at least 30% of the population.

McCain's base was in the eastern part of the state, which is less unionized and more rural. It is home to more ranchers and less miners than elsewhere. Only five counties voted Democratic in the east. In Western Montana, McCain generally won wherever Obama's Democratic base was lacking. His biggest margins came from the region bordering the GOP bastion of Idaho.

There was also a relatively high third-party vote, totaling around four percent. The Montana Constitution Party ran libertarian-leaning Republican U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas on their line (against his wishes), winning 2.17% of the vote in Montana, which was the highest statewide percentage total for any third-party candidate in the 2008 presidential election. A significant number of write-in candidates also ran in the state, with some beating third-party candidates.

During the same election, incumbent Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer was reelected to a second term in a landslide over Republican Roy Brown and Libertarian Stan Jones. Winning by more than a two-to-one margin, Schweitzer received 65.21% of the vote while Brown took in 32.77% and Jones got 2.03%. At the state level, however, Republicans picked up three seats in the Montana Senate and gained control of the chamber. Democrats picked up the office of Secretary of State.

Results[edit]

United States presidential election in Montana, 2008[20]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 243,882 49.49% 3
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 232,159 47.11% 0
Constitution Ron Paul (no campaign) Michael Peroutka 10,669 2.17% 0
(write-in) Write-in candidates 817 0.17% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 3,699 0.75% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 1,358 0.28% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin (write-in) Darrell Castle 143 0.03% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney (write-in) Rosa Clemente 23 0.00% 0
Totals 492,750 100.00% 3
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 67.4%

Results breakdown[edit]

By county[edit]

County McCain Votes Obama Votes Barr Votes Others Votes Total
Beaverhead 62.50% 3,008 33.60% 1,617 .29% 14 3.62% 174 4,813
Big Horn 30.68% 1,628 66.26% 3,516 .08% 4 2.98% 158 5,306
Blaine 38.54% 1,139 57.60% 1,702 .27% 8 3.59% 106 2,955
Broadwater 66.80% 1,875 30.53% 857 .32% 9 1.75% 66 2,807
Carbon 53.48% 3,108 42.03% 2,443 .34% 20 4.15% 241 5,812
Carter 78.49% 573 15.21% 111 .55% 4 5.75% 42 730
Cascade 46.68% 16,857 48.91% 17,664 .22% 79 4.19% 1,515 36,115
Chouteau 56.31% 1,634 38.66% 1,122 .28% 79 4.76% 138 2,902
Custer 55.25% 3,047 41.11% 2,267 .34% 19 3.30% 182 5,515
Daniels 62.92% 694 31.10% 343 .18% 2 5.8% 64 1,103
Dawson 58.45% 2,639 35.28% 1,593 .33% 15 5.94% 268 4,515
Deer Lodge 28.86% 1,502 65.37% 3,402 .31% 16 5.46% 284 5,204
Fallon 73.08% 1,064 21.84% 318 .07% 1 5.01% 73 1,456
Fergus 65.15% 4,108 30.66% 1,933 .33% 21 3.85% 243 6,305
Flathead 58.12% 25,559 36.70% 16,138 .21% 92 4.97% 2,186 43,975
Gallatin 46.77% 22,578 50.14% 24,205 .28% 137 2.81% 1,352 48,272
Garfield 80.92% 598 14.88% 110 .27% 2 3.92% 29 739
Glacier 28.64% 1,451 67.55% 3,423 .20% 10 3.61% 183 5,067
Golden Valley 68.74% 343 24.85% 124 .4% 2 6.01% 30 499
Granite 58.15% 1,013 34.50% 601 .40% 7 6.95% 121 1,742
Hill 41.12% 2,787 53.06% 3,596 .43% 29 5.39% 365 6,777
Jefferson 55.30% 3,538 40.36% 2,582 .23% 15 4.11% 263 6,398
Judith Basin 63.47% 801 31.46% 397 .48% 6 4.60% 58 1,262
Lake 46.32% 6,498 48.24% 6,766 .20% 28 5.24% 735 14,027
Lewis & Clark 45.31% 14,966 51.82% 17,114 .31% 102 3.27% 847 33,029
Liberty 55.57% 594 34.33% 367 .19% 2 9.92% 106 1,069
Lincoln 61.22% 5,704 32.47% 3,025 .47% 44 5.84% 544 9,317
Madison 61.06% 2,822 34.77% 1,607 .41% 19 3.76% 174 4,622
McCone 65.82% 726 29.10% 321 .09% 1 4.99% 55 1,103
Meagher 61.90% 624 29.56% 298 1.39% 14 7.14% 72 1,008
Mineral 52.10% 1,053 41.81 845 .25% 5 5.84% 118 2,021
Missoula 34.99% 20,743 61.63% 36,531 .27% 162 3.11% 1,841 59,277
Musselshell 67.62% 1,581 27.20% 636 .56% 13 4.62% 108 2,338
Park 47.96% 4,376 45.73% 4,173 .30% 27 6.02% 549 9,125
Petroleum 74.43% 227 22.30% 68 .33% 1 2.95% 9 305
Phillips 65.76% 1,423 29.48% 638 .46% 10 4.30% 93 2,164
Pondera 54.38% 1,588 41.88% 1,223 .24% 7 3.49% 102 2,920
Powder River 76.09% 802 19.7% 208 .28% 3 3.89% 41 1,054
Powell 58.60% 1,683 35.55% 1,021 .21% 6 5.64% 151 2,872
Prairie 67.70% 503 28.40% 211 .27% 2 3.63% 27 743
Ravalli 58.40% 13,002 37.73% 8,400 .29% 64 3.59% 799 22,265
Richland 69.87% 3,184 26.40% 1,203 .35% 16 3.38% 154 4,557
Roosevelt 35.05% 1,473 61.00% 2,564 .24% 10 3.71% 156 4,203
Rosebud 46.40% 1,768 50.37% 1,919 .29% 11 2.94% 112 3,810
Sanders 59.96% 3,563 33.15% 1,970 .45% 27 6.43% 271 5,942
Sheridan 48.41% 987 46.74% 953 .34% 7 4.51% 92 2,039
Silver Bow 27.99% 4,818 67.82% 11,676 .20% 35 3.98% 686 17,215
Stillwater 63.73% 2,991 32.22% 1,512 .26% 12 3.79% 178 4,693
Sweet Grass 71.04% 1,494 25.73% 541 .14% 3 3.09% 65 2,103
Teton 56.18% 1,874 38.79% 1,294 .42% 14 4.62% 154 3,336
Toole 60.69% 1,317 33.96% 737 .51% 11 4.84% 105 2,170
Treasure 63.82% 314 31.71% 156 1.02% 5 3.46% 17 492
Valley 53.21% 2,121 41.27% 1,645 .4% 16 5.12% 204 3,986
Wheatland 65.57% 657 28.84% 289 .30% 3 5.29% 53 1,002
Wibaux 66.26% 379 25.52% 146 .35% 2 7.87% 45 572
Yellowstone 51.24% 36,483 44.99% 32,038 .22% 156 3.55% 2,527 71,204

By congressional district[edit]

Due to the state's low population, only one congressional district is allocated, the At-Large District. This district covers the entire state, and thus is equivalent to the statewide election results.

District McCain Obama Representative
At-large 49.5% 47.1% Denny Rehberg

Electors[edit]

Technically the voters of Montana cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Montana is allocated 3 electors because it has 1 congressional district and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 3 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded all 3 electoral votes. Their chosen electors then vote for President and Vice President. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them.[21] An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.

The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 15, 2008 to cast their votes for President and Vice President. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.

The following were the members of the Electoral College from the state. All 3 were pledged to John McCain and Sarah Palin:[22]

  1. Thelma Baker
  2. John Brenden
  3. Errol Galt

References[edit]

See also[edit]