Five Things to Watch in Montana ...

The Treasure State may crown Obama
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2008 11:49 AM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns at a barbecue in Fort Madison, Iowa.    (AP Photo/Kevin Sanders, File)
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(Newser) – Montana is shaping up to be a slam dunk for Barack Obama and a chance to head into the general election with some momentum, according to recent polls. But a surprise win by Hillary Clinton could give her the credibility she needs to sway superdelegates, writes Politico. Five things to watch:

  • East vs. West: Clinton may be edging Obama out in the more rural east, and “if she starts cutting into his margins in the western part of the state, it could be closer,” says a pollster.

  • The battle for Billings: Nearly 15% of the state, and most of its Democrats, live in Billings. If Clinton can win by a sizable margin, she can cut Obama's statewide lead .
  • The tribal vote: Montana's seven Indian reservations produce up to 20% of the vote in Democratic primaries. Obama visited two tribes and was even "adopted" by one. The Clintons have held three meetings with tribal leaders, but the Clinton camp fears they may be reluctant to vote for a woman.
  • The student vote: Obama's campaign notes student support has declined since April, but since Montana students stay close to home, Obama can count on new voters.
  • Rush Limbaugh vs. Obamacans: Montana primaries are open to everyone. Obama may benefit from Republicans crossing the aisle, but some—perhaps influenced by Limbaugh—may vote for Clinton to protract the Democratic battle.