ROUNDUP, Montana — Driving into Montana last night, one thing was clear as my Chevy Venture van passed through various towns and cities: Montana was celebrating the 4th of July bigtime, with roadside stands capped with signs screaming “FIREWORKS”, and sporadic bursts of initial fireworks lighting up the state’s famous big sky.
But this morning, something else was clear: Democratic presumptive Presidential nominee Barack Obama is serious — bigtime — about targeting Montana and trying to create a political realignment.
Today he’ll be attending an Independence Day parade and picnic in Butte, Montana. And his campaign is now peppering the airwaves with TV campaign ads bigtime.
This morning I watched TV and saw THREE slick Obama ads with general info introducing himself to voters….within 90 minutes…on the same station.
Obama is turning Montana into a real horse race — and part of it is due to his appeal among younger voters, a Rasmussen Reports poll shows.
Barack Obama is leading John McCain by five percentage points in Montana. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state shows Obama attracting 48% of the vote while McCain earns 43%.
In April, the numbers were reversed with McCain leading 48% to 43%. That was before Obama clinched the Democratic nomination and defeated Hillary Clinton by fifteen points in Montana. Fifty percent (50%) of Montana Democrats want Clinton named as Obama’s running mate. Just 29% of all Montana voters would like to see Clinton as the Vice Presidential nominee.
But here is the news that should be troubling to the GOP:
Against McCain, Obama leads among voters under 50, including a twenty-seven point lead among voters under 30. McCain leads among those over 50. Obama is supported by 89% of Montana Democrats while McCain gets the vote from 85% of Republicans.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of Montana voters say McCain is too old to be President while 42% say Obama is too inexperienced.
It would be truly stunning if Obama could turn Montana into a competitive state this November. George W. Bush won Montana’s 3 Electoral College Votes by twenty percentage points in 2004 and by twenty-five points four years earlier. Even Bob Dole managed to win Montana, albeit by a narrow 44% to 41% margin (Ross Perot picked up 14% of the vote).
The last Democrat to win Montana was Bill Clinton in 1992. He did so with 38% of the vote. The first President Bush got 35% of the Montana vote while Ross Perot picked up 26%.
This is probably the kind of news (multiply this poll several times over) that helped lead to the recent McCain campaign shake up.
One of the joys of Montana is having an authentic Buffalo Burger. This is the original land where the buffalo roam.
But Obama will also be literally roaming around here…….as he tries to wrest Montana away from the GOPers and implement his plan for a political realignment. Fox News:
Only two Democratic presidential candidates have carried the state in the general election since 1948. But Montana was the site of Obama’s final victory in the Democratic primary. It is just the kind of overlooked state that helped him build his delegate lead against Hillary Clinton and is one of several untraditional states the Illinois senator wants to put in play this November.
“I’m a firm believer that 90 percent of success is showing up,” Obama said Thursday in North Dakota, another red state. “And Democrats haven’t been showing up in these places and talking to people.”
His campaign promises “significant” investment in Montana and already has been spending a sizable amount of time and money there, hiring a state director and staff while running TV ads detailing his background and qualifications.
You can see the investment on the TV station here this morning — where Obama ads run repeatedly and no McCain ads appear.
It seems to be a Presidential Politics Showdown At The Previously-GOP Montana Corral.
But today only one side has shown up.