I'm very bullish on Montana. It is currently my number one pick to flip in 2012. Energy, land-management and environmental issues are key in Montana...It's way too early to predict how things may go in the 2012 presidential election. If you had come to me in June of 2005 and predicted a black Democrat would win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana, I would have called you a fool.
In June of 1977, no one could have seen a second rate movie star from California trouncing born-again native son Jimmy Carter in the Deep South in 1980.
Voters are very fickle and they can turn on a dime. If the economic situation is so dire that it can't be turned around in four years time, then not only will President Obama lose in Montana, but he could very well lose many of those Republican states he picked up last November.
That said, he lost Montana narrowly last time around (49% to 47%). If the economy rebounds, the state could well go Democratic in 2012 for the first time since 1992. And that success could well bleed over into one or both of the Dakotas.