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Ron Paul To Appear on Montana Ballot

He’ll be the nominee of the Constitution Party:

On September 5, the ballot-qualified Constitution Party of Montana submitted its presidential elector candidates to the Secretary of State. The party informed the Secretary of State that its electors are pledged to Ron Paul for president and Michael Peroutka for vice-president. Ron Paul was aware that the party planned to do this, and has said that as long as he can remain passive and silent about the development, and as long as he need not sign any declaration of candidacy, that he does not object.

Could Paul be a difference-maker? He’s actually pretty popular up there. Paul was responsible for raising 8.4 percent of the funds raised by all Presidential candidates in Montana. By that metric, Montana is his third-best state after Alaska and North Dakota.

Highest Ron Paul Fundraising Share, as
Percentage of All Presidential Candidate
Funds Raised

Alaska 12.2%
North Dakota 8.8%
Montana 8.4%
Idaho 7.3%
New Hampshire 6.5%
Wyoming 6.4%
Iowa 6.3%
Nevada 5.3%
Kansas 5.1%
Hawaii 5.0%

Paul also got about 22 percent of the Republican vote in the largely meaningless Republican primary in June, and finished ahead of McCain (but behind Mitt Romney) in the somewhat meaningful Republican caucus in February.

I do think he’ll steal a few votes from McCain — particularly given the selection of Sarah Palin, who may not play all that well with libertarianish Republicans. But he’ll likely also take some votes from Obama, especially among under-30 voters, as well as from other third-party candidates. And having attended a Ron Paul event in Chicago last summer (don’t ask — we don’t get many presidential candidates around these parts), I also get the sense that he turns out certain folks who just wouldn’t bother voting period if it weren’t for Ron Paul.

My guess? He gets 5-6 percent of the vote, taking 2-3 percent from McCain, 1-2 percent from Obama, and 2-3 percent from other/nobody.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.