Could Gary Johnson matter in Montana presidential race?



It's been hard to muster up much excitement about the 2012 presidential election in Montana. Mitt Romney is expected to win the state's three electoral votes and the Obama campaign, unlike 2008 against John McCain, is not putting up a huge fight.

But a different story line is emerging, and it involves Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson. The former two-term New Mexico governor is polling higher than expected in key Mountain West states, and could play a role in November's election. From Politico:

In an interview with POLITICO reporters Tuesday, Johnson laid out the “libertarian-leaning states” where he expects to do best: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Johnson's numbers are much better in New Mexico (13 percent), Colorado (7) and Arizona (9) than Montana, where he's hovering at or below 1 percent, according to Public Policy Polling. It'd be easy to write him off as a non-factor in Big Sky Country, until you notice some other numbers: like that Montana voters agree with Johnson more than any other candidate on key issues in the 2012 election.

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