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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:49 GMT
Montana

Montana tends to lean Republican, though not as much as the other Rocky Mountain states. But it has strong Democratic areas like Butte and the university community of Missoula and also showed significant support for Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996.

Key facts
Population: 879,372 (ranked 44 among states)
Governor: Marc Racicot (R)
Electoral College votes: 3
Montana dislikes meddling central government. In 1995 the state decided to abolish daytime speed limits and this continued 1999 when the Supreme Court overturned the move and re-instated a 75mph limit.

The "Big Sky State" is America's fourth largest state geographically but one of its least populated. It has 25 million acres of national forest and public lands, with mountains in the west and empty plains in the east.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 1 Republican
Senate: 1 Democrat, 1 Republican
Since its settlement Montana has relied heavily on its abundant natural resources. In the 19th century it attracted gold, silver and copper miners keen to exploit the stocks and mining towns sprang up across the state.

Voting record
1996: Dole 44%, Clinton 41%, Perot 14%
1992: Clinton 38%, Bush 35%, Perot 26%
1988: Bush 52%, Dukakis 46%
Despite some remaining mines, the old Montana of booming quarries, powerful unions and management corruption is now gone, replaced by a concern for the environment and an economy based on wheat and cattle.

Traditional cowboys still roam here, although the 1990s has seen an influx of urban cowboys too, yuppies and celebrities from the two coasts looking for peace and quiet and a slice of magnificent scenery.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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