2008 United States presidential election

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2008 United States presidential election
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please note:
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{{short description|56th quadrennial presidential election in the United States}}{{For|related races|2008 United States elections}}{{Use mdy dates|date=December 2018}}

{{increase}} 1.5 pp| image_size = 200x200px| image1 = Obama portrait crop.jpg| nominee1 = Barack Obama| party1 = Democratic Party (United States)| home_state1 = Illinois| running_mate1 = Joe Biden| electoral_vote1 = 36528 + Washington, D.C.>DC + NE-02| popular_vote1 = 69,498,516 69,498,5161|pad=yes}}'''| image2 = John McCain official portrait 2009.jpg| nominee2 = John McCain| party2 = Republican Party (United States)| home_state2 = Arizona| running_mate2 = Sarah Palin| electoral_vote2 = 173| states_carried2 = 22| popular_vote2 = 59,948,323 59,948,3231|pad=yes}}| map_size = 350px| map = {{2008 United States presidential election imagemap}}| map_caption = Presidential election results map. Blue denotes those won by Obama/Biden, red denotes states won by McCain/Palin. Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to the winner of each state.| title = President| before_election = George W. Bush| before_party = Republican Party (United States)| after_election = Barack Obama| after_party = Democratic Party (United States)}}{{US 2008 presidential elections series}}File:George-W-Bush.jpeg|thumb|upright|George W. BushGeorge W. BushThe 2008 United States presidential election was the 56th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The Democratic ticket of Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, and Joe Biden, the senior Senator from Delaware, defeated the Republican ticket of John McCain, the senior Senator from Arizona, and Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska. Obama became the first African American ever to be elected as president.Incumbent Republican President George W. Bush was ineligible to pursue a third term due to the term limits established by the 22nd Amendment. As neither Bush nor Vice President Dick Cheney sought the presidency, the 2008 election was the first election since 1952 in which neither major party's presidential nominee was the incumbent president or the incumbent vice president. McCain secured the Republican nomination by March 2008, defeating Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and other challengers. The Democratic primaries were marked by a sharp contest between Obama and the initial front-runner, Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton's victory in the New Hampshire primary made her the first woman to win a major party's presidential primary.{{refn|group=nb|Shirley Chisholm had previously won a contest in New Jersey in 1972 that was a no-delegate-awarding, presidential preference ballot in which the major candidates were not listed; the actual delegate selection vote went to George McGovern.NEWS,weblink Dakotan Beats Humphrey By a Big Margin in Jersey, Ronald, Sullivan, The New York Times, June 7, 1972, 1, NEWS,weblink Sanford Is Withdrawing From N.J., Associated Press, The Times-News, Hendersonville, North Carolina, May 13, 1972, 12, }} After a long primary season, Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008.Early campaigning focused heavily on the Iraq War and Bush's unpopularity. McCain supported the war, as well as a troop surge that had begun in 2007, while Obama strongly opposed the war. Bush endorsed McCain, but the two did not campaign together, and Bush did not appear in person at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Obama campaigned on the theme that "Washington must change," while McCain emphasized his experience. The campaign was strongly affected by the onset of a major financial crisis, which peaked in September 2008. McCain's decision to suspend his campaign during the height of the financial crisis backfired as voters viewed his response as erratic.Obama won a decisive victory over McCain, winning the Electoral College and the popular vote by a sizable margin, including states that had not voted for the Democratic presidential candidate since 1976 (North Carolina) and 1964 (Indiana and Virginia). Obama received the largest share of the popular vote won by a Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. {{As of|2016|11|alt=As of the 2016 presidential election}} Obama's total count of 69.5 million votes still stands as the largest tally ever won by a presidential candidate. In summation, compared to the 2004 election, Obama flipped Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, making it nine contests in total. He also won an additional electoral vote in Nebraska, due to the split allocation between congressional districts in the state.


Democratic Party nomination


{| class="wikitable" style="font-size:90%; text-align:center;"(File:US Democratic Party Logo.svgcenterDemocratic Party (United States))Democratic Party Ticket, 2008! style="width:3em; font-size:135%; background:#3333FF; width:200px;"| {{color|white|Barack Obama}}! style="width:3em; font-size:135%; background:#3333FF; width:200px;"| {{color|white|Joe Biden}} style="color:#000; font-size:100%; background:#c8ebff;"for Presidentfor Vice Presidentcenter|200x200px)center|200x200px)| U.S. Senator from Illinois(2005–2008)| U.S. Senator from Delaware(1973–2009)Campaign(File:Obama Biden logo.svg200px)

Withdrawn candidates

  • Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator from New York (withdrew on June 7, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama)
  • John Edwards, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina (withdrew on January 30, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama)
  • Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico (withdrew on January 10, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama)
  • Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Representative from Ohio (withdrew on January 24, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama)
  • Joe Biden, U.S. Senator from Delaware (withdrew on January 3, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama)
  • Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator from Alaska (withdrew on March 25, 2008 to run for the Libertarian Party nomination. After losing the nomination, he endorsed Jesse Johnson)
  • Christopher Dodd, U.S. Senator from Connecticut (withdrew on January 3, 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama)
  • Evan Bayh, U.S. Senator from Indiana (withdrew on December 15, 2007 and endorsed Hillary Clinton. He later endorsed Barack Obama)
  • Tom Vilsack, former Governor of Iowa (withdrew on February 23, 2007 and endorsed Hillary Clinton. He later endorsed Barack Obama)
File:Hillary Rodham Clinton-cropped.jpg|{{center|SenatorHillary Clintonfrom New York{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on June 7, 2008)}}}}File:John Edwards, official Senate photo portrait.jpg|{{center|Former SenatorJohn Edwardsfrom North Carolina{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 30, 2008)}}}}File:Bill Richardson at an event in Kensington, New Hampshire, March 18, 2006.jpg|{{center|GovernorBill Richardsonof New Mexico{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 10, 2008)}}}}File:Dennis Kucinich.jpg|{{center|RepresentativeDennis Kucinichfrom Ohio{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 24, 2008)}}}}File:Joe Biden, official photo portrait, 111th Congress.jpg|{{center|SenatorJoe Bidenfrom Delaware{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 3, 2008, became Vice Presidential nominee)}}}}File:Mike Gravel.jpg|{{center|Former SenatorMike Gravelfrom Alaska{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on March 25, 2008)}}}}File:Christopher Dodd official portrait 2-cropped.jpg|{{center|SenatorChristopher Doddfrom Connecticut{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 3, 2008)}}}}File:Evan Bayh official portrait.jpg|{{center|SenatorEvan Bayhfrom Indiana{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on December 15, 2007)}}}}File:Tom Vilsack, official USDA photo portrait.jpg|{{center|Former GovernorTom Vilsackof Iowa{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on February 23, 2007)}}}}

Before the primaries

Media speculation had begun almost immediately after the results of the 2004 presidential election were released. In the 2006 midterm elections, the Democrats regained majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress.NEWS, Kuhnhenn, Jim, Democrats win control of Congress,weblink Washington Post, AP, November 9, 2006, September 6, 2012, Early polls taken before anyone had announced a candidacy had shown Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as the most popular potential Democratic candidates.NEWS, Borger, Julian, Now the real race begins...,weblink The Guardian, November 11, 2006, June 7, 2009, London, Nevertheless, the media speculated on several other candidates, including Al Gore, the runner-up in the 2000 election; John Kerry, the runner-up in the 2004 election; John Edwards, Kerry's running mate in 2004; Senator from Delaware Joe Biden; New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson; Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack; and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.WEB, Hughes, John, With midterms over, all eyes turn to the 2008 presidential race,weblink The Christian Science Monitor, November 15, 2006, June 7, 2009, Edwards was one of the first to formally announce his candidacy for the presidency, on December 28, 2006. This run would be his second attempt at the presidency.NEWS, Balz, Dan, Edwards Formally Joins 2008 Presidential Race,weblink The Washington Post, December 29, 2006, June 7, 2009, {{dead link|date=November 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} Clinton announced intentions to run in the Democratic primaries on January 20, 2007.WEB, Taggert, Carlee, Tough choice for 2008 Democratic nominee,weblink The Stentor, February 15, 2007, June 7, 2009, {{dead link|date=November 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} Obama announced his candidacy on February 10 in his home state of Illinois.

Early primaries and caucuses

Early in the year, the support for Barack Obama started to increase in the polls, and he passed Clinton for the top spot in Iowa; he ended up winning the caucus in that state, with John Edwards coming in second and Clinton in third.NEWS, Crowley, Candy, Malveaux, Suzanne, Yellin, Jessica, Obama wins Iowa as candidate for change,weblink CNN, January 4, 2008, June 8, 2009, Obama's win was fueled mostly by first time caucus-goers and Independents and showed voters viewed him as the "candidate of change." Iowa has since been viewed as the state that jump-started Obama's campaign and set him on track to win both the nomination and the presidency.NEWS, Steinhauser, Paul, Back to where it began: Obama visits Iowa,weblink CNN, April 22, 2009, June 8, 2009, After the Iowa caucus, Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd withdrew from the nomination contest.Obama became the new front runner in New Hampshire, when his poll numbers skyrocketed after his Iowa victory The Clinton campaign was struggling after a huge loss in Iowa and no strategy beyond the early primaries and caucuses. According to The Vancouver Sun, campaign strategists had "mapped a victory scenario that envisioned the former first lady wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination by Super Tuesday on Feb. 5."NEWS, Alberts, Sheldon, Overconfidence, bad strategy doomed Clinton campaign,weblink The Vancouver Sun, June 7, 2008, June 8, 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 11, 2008, mdy-all, In what is considered a turning point for her campaign, Clinton had a strong performance at the Saint Anselm College, ABC, and Facebook debates several days before the New Hampshire primary as well as an emotional interview in a public broadcast live on TV.NEWS,weblink Hillary Clinton: my teary moment won me New Hampshire, January 9, 2008, Hannah Strange, Philippe Naughton, yes, The Times, March 14, 2008, London, See also: WEB,weblink Hillary tears up in New Hampshire Primary 2008, Video, YouTube, Clinton won that primary by 2% of the vote, contrary to the predictions of pollsters who consistently had her trailing Obama for a few days up to the primary date.WEB, 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary,weblink, June 8, 2009,weblink" title="">weblink September 23, 2008, dead, mdy-all, Clinton's win was the first time a woman had ever won a major American party's presidential primary for the purposes of delegate selection.WEB,weblink Archived copy, May 31, 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 30, 2009, On January 30, 2008, after placing in third in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, Edwards announced that he was suspending his campaign for the presidency, but he did not initially endorse any remaining candidates.NEWS,weblink Edwards exits presidential race, CBS News, January 30, 2008, January 30, 2008, NEWS,weblink Giuliani, Edwards quit White House Race, January 30, 2008, January 30, 2008, Reuters, Steve, Holland,

Super Tuesday

(File:Super Tuesday Vote Utah.jpg|left|thumb)Super Tuesday was February 5, 2008, when the largest-ever number of simultaneous state primary elections was held.NEWS, Greene, Richard Allen, States jostle for primary power, BBC News, May 30, 2007,weblink September 15, 2008, Super Tuesday ended up leaving the Democrats in a virtual tie, with Obama amassing 847 delegates to Clinton's 834 from the 23 states that held Democratic primaries.WEB
, Presidential primary and caucus dates
, Pew Research Center
, August 30, 2007
, 1
, September 15, 2008
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, September 11, 2008
, California was one of the Super Tuesday states that could provide a large number of delegates to the candidates. Obama trailed in the California polling by an average of 6.0% before the primary; he ended up losing that state by 8.3% of the vote.NEWS,weblink The Persistent Myth of the Bradley Effect, Nate Silver, August 11, 2008, Some analysts cited a large "Latino" turnout that voted for Clinton as the deciding factor.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink March 13, 2008, Clinton Win in California Larger Than Polls Predicted Because of Huge Latino Turnout, Frank D. Russo, February 6, 2008, March 14, 2008, The Louisiana, Nebraska, Hawaii, Wisconsin, U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia primaries and the Washington and Maine caucuses all took place after Super Tuesday in February. Obama won all of them, giving him 10 consecutive victories after Super Tuesday.NEWS,weblink Election Center 2008: Primary Results from Maine, CNN, February 10, 2008, March 14, 2008, NEWS, MSNBC, 2008 Primary Results, March 14, 2008,weblink

Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania

On March 4, Hillary Clinton carried Ohio and Rhode Island in the Democratic primaries; some considered these wins, especially Ohio, a "surprise upset" by 10%,NEWS, Clinton comeback: Fight goes on, The Seattle Times, March 5, 2008,weblink March 5, 2008, WEB,weblink 2008 Presidential election results, July 27, 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink July 26, 2016, mdy-all, although she did lead in the polling averages in both states.NEWS, Clinton wins key primaries, CNN projects; McCain clinches nod, CNN, March 5, 2008,weblink March 5, 2008, She also carried the primary in Texas, but Obama won the Texas caucuses held the same day and netted more delegates from the state than Clinton.NEWS, Election Center 2008 Primaries and Caucuses: Results: Democratic Scorecard, August 20, 2008,weblink CNN, Only one state held a primary in April. This was Pennsylvania, on April 22. Although Obama made a strong effort to win Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton won that primary by nearly 10%, with approximately 55% of the vote.NEWS, Jensen, Kristin, Dodge, Catherine, Clinton Wins Pennsylvania Vote; Obama Retains Control (Update6),weblink Bloomberg L.P., April 23, 2008, June 8, 2009, Obama had outspent Clinton three to one in Pennsylvania, but his comment at a San Francisco fundraiser that small-town Americans "cling" to guns and religion drew sharp criticism from the Clinton campaign and may have hurt his chances in the Keystone State.NEWS, Oinounou, Mosheh, Bruns, Aaron, Obama on Guns and Religion: 'I Didn't Say It as Well as I Should Have',weblink Fox News Channel, Fox News, April 12, 2008, June 8, 2009,weblink" title="">weblink February 20, 2009, Mosheh Oinounou, In addition, Clinton had several advantages in Pennsylvania. Throughout the primary process, she relied on the support of older, white, working class voters. Pennsylvania held a closed primary, which means that only registered Democrats could vote, and, according to Ron Elving of NPR, the established Democratic electorate "was older, whiter, more Catholic and more working-class than in most of the primaries to date."WEB, Elving, Ron, Analysis: Clinton Needed Pennsylvania to Carry On,weblink NPR, April 23, 2008, June 8, 2009, After Pennsylvania, Obama had a higher number of delegates and popular votes than Clinton did and was still in a stronger position to win the nomination. Clinton, however, had received the endorsement of more superdelegates than Obama.

Indiana and North Carolina

On May 6, North Carolina and Indiana held their Democratic presidential primaries. Clinton and Obama campaigned aggressively there before the voting took place. Polling had shown Obama a few points ahead in North Carolina and Clinton similarly leading in Indiana.WEB,weblink Election 2008 – North Carolina Democratic Primary, RealClearPolitics, May 1, 2008, January 24, 2009, WEB,weblink Election 2008 – Indiana Democratic Primary, RealClearPolitics, January 24, 2009, In the actual results, Obama outperformed the polls by several points in both states, winning by a significant margin in North CarolinaWEB, NC—Election Results,weblink North Carolina State Board of Elections, May 7, 2008, June 8, 2009, and losing by only 1.1% in Indiana (50.56% to 49.44%).WEB, Indiana Primary Election, May 6, 2008,weblink Indiana Secretary of State, August 22, 2008, June 8, 2009, After these primaries, most pundits declared that it had become "increasingly improbable," if not impossible, for Clinton to win the nomination.NEWS, Rutenberg, Jim, Pundits Declare the Race Over,weblink The New York Times, May 8, 2008, June 8, 2009, The small win in Indiana barely kept her campaign alive for the next month.WEB,weblink NBC: Obama takes N.C. - Decision '08-,, May 7, 2008, January 24, 2009, Although she did manage to win the majority of the remaining primaries and delegates, it was not enough to overcome Obama's substantial delegate lead.

Florida and Michigan

During late 2007, the two parties adopted rules against states' moving their primaries to an earlier date in the year. For the Republicans, the penalty for this violation was supposed to be the loss of half the state party's delegates to the convention. The Democratic penalty was the complete exclusion from the national convention of delegates from states that broke these rules. The Democratic Party allowed only four states to hold elections before February 5, 2008. Clinton won a majority of delegates and popular votes from both states (though 40% voted uncommitted in Michigan) and subsequently led a fight to seat all the Florida and Michigan delegates.WEB, Hertzberg, Hendrik, June 2, 2008,weblink Memory Lapse, The New Yorker, June 8, 2009, There was some speculation that the fight over the delegates could last until the convention in August. On May 31, 2008, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party reached a compromise on the Florida and Michigan delegate situation. The committee decided to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida at the convention in August, but to only award each a half-vote.NEWS,weblink Florida, Michigan get all delegates, but each gets half vote,, May 31, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink June 2, 2008,

Clinching the nomination

(File:2008 DNC during Stevie Wonder's performance.jpg|thumb|2008 DNC during Stevie Wonder's performance)The major political party nomination process (technically) continues through June of an election year. In previous cycles, the candidates were effectively chosen by the end of the primaries held in March, but, in this cycle, however, Barack Obama did not win enough delegates to secure the nomination until June 3, after a 17-month campaign against Hillary Clinton. He had a wide lead in states won, while Clinton had won majorities in several of the larger states. Now, because a form of proportional representation and popular vote decided Democratic state delegate contests, numbers were close between Clinton and Obama.WEB,weblink The 1992 primary: proportional representation for Illinois Democrats, John S., Jackson, Barbara Leavitt Brown, Illinois Issues, October 12, 1991, May 18, 2008, University of Illinois at Springfield, By May, Clinton claimed to hold a lead in the popular vote, but the Associated Press found that her numbers were "accurate only" in one close scenario.NEWS,weblink Fact check: Clinton vote claims under scrutiny, USA Today, Associated Press, May 15, 2008, June 8, 2009, In June, after the last of the primaries had taken place, Obama secured the Democratic nomination for President, with the help of multiple super delegate endorsements (most of the super delegates had refused to declare their support for either candidate until the primaries were completed).WEB,weblink Obama claims Democratic nomination—Decision '08-,, June 4, 2008, January 24, 2009, He was the first African American to win the nomination of a major political party in the United States.NEWS, Zeleny, Jeff,weblink Obama Clinches Nomination; First Black Candidate to Lead a Major Party Ticket, The New York Times, June 4, 2008, January 24, 2009, For several days, Clinton refused to concede the race, although she signaled her presidential campaign was ending in a post-primary speech on June 3 in her home state of New York.WEB,weblink Historic night: Obama clinches nomination—Bill Nichols and Ben Smith,, January 24, 2009, She finally conceded the nomination to Obama on June 7. She pledged her full support to the presumptive nominee and vowed to do everything she could to help him get elected.WEB,weblink ABC News: Clinton Concedes Democratic Nomination; Obama Leads Party in Fall,, January 24, 2009,

Republican Party nomination

Not only was the 2008 election the first time since 1952 that neither the incumbent president nor the incumbent vice president was a candidate in the general election, but it was also the first time since the 1928 election that neither sought his party's nomination for president; as Bush was term-limited from seeking another nomination, the unique aspect was Vice President Cheney's decision not to seek the Republican nomination.NEWS, Toby, Harnden,weblink The top US conservatives and liberals, September 7, 2008, November 13, 2007,, London, Charles G. Dawes, 30th Vice President (1925–1929) {{webarchive|url= |date=November 6, 2014 }}, U.S. Senate. The 2008 election was also the third presidential election since 1896 in which neither the incumbent president, the incumbent vice president, nor a current or former member of the incumbent president's Cabinet won the nomination of either major party the others being 1920 and 1952.JOURNAL, Jones, Charles O., Vice Presidents and Other Heirs Apparent: The Historical Experience of Experience, Presidential Studies Quarterly, September 2008, 38, 3, 422–432, 41219688, 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2008.02653.x, With no members of the Bush administration emerging as major contenders for the Republican nomination, the Republican race was as open as the Democratic race.


{| class="wikitable" style="font-size:90%; text-align:center;"(File:Republican Disc.pngcenterRepublican Party (United States))Republican Party Ticket, 2008! style="width:3em; font-size:135%; background:#E81B23; width:200px;"| {{color|white|John McCain}}! style="width:3em; font-size:135%; background:#E81B23; width:200px;"| {{color|white|Sarah Palin}} style="color:#000; font-size:100%; background:#ffd0d7;"for Presidentfor Vice Presidentcenter|200x200px)center|200x200px)| U.S. Senatorfrom Arizona(1987–2018)List of Governors of Alaska>9thGovernor of Alaska(2006–2009)Campaign(File:McCain Palin logo.svg250px)

Withdrawn candidates

File:Mitt Romney, 2006.jpg|{{center|Former GovernorMitt Romneyof Massachusetts{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on February 7, 2008)}}}}File:Mike Huckabee, speaking to a gathering at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.jpg|{{center|Former GovernorMike Huckabeeof Arkansas{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on March 4, 2008)}}}}File:Ron Paul, official Congressional photo portrait, 2007.jpg|{{center|RepresentativeRon Paulfrom Texas{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on June 12, 2008)}}}}File:GiulianiPortrait.jpg|{{center|Former NYC MayorRudy Giuliani,from New York{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 30, 2008)}}}}File:Fred Thompson onstage.jpg|{{center|Former SenatorFred Thompsonfrom Tennessee{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 22, 2008)}}}}File:Alan Keyes.jpg|{{center|Former U.S. ECOSOC AmbassadorAlan Keyes,from Maryland{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on April 15, 2008)}}}}File:DuncanHunter.jpg|{{center|RepresentativeDuncan Hunterfrom California{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on January 19, 2008)}}}}File:Tom Tancredo.jpg|{{center|RepresentativeTom Tancredofrom Colorado{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on December 20, 2007)}}}}File:Sam Brownback official portrait 2.jpg|{{center|SenatorSam Brownbackfrom Kansas{{small|(Withdrew on October 18, 2007)}}}}File:Jim Gilmore by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg|{{center|Former GovernorJim Gilmoreof Virginia{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on July 14, 2007)}}}}File:Tommy Thompson 1.jpg|{{center|Former HHS SecretaryTommy Thompson,from Wisconsin{{small|(campaign)}}{{small|(Withdrew on August 12, 2007)}}}}

Before the primaries

Immediately after the 2006 midterm elections, media pundits began speculating, as they did about the Democrats, about potential Republican candidates for President in 2008. In November 2006, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani led in the polls, followed closely by Arizona Senator John McCain.NEWS, Vardi, Nathan, President Rudy Giuliani?,weblink Forbes, November 14, 2006, June 9, 2009, The media speculated that Giuliani's pro-choice stance on abortion and McCain's age and support of the unpopular Iraq War would be detriments to their candidacies. Giuliani remained the frontrunner in the polls throughout most of 2007, with McCain and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson fighting for second place.WEB, White House 2008: Republican Nomination,weblink, June 9, 2009, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Giuliani, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and Texas Representative Ron Paul announced their candidacies on January 28, February 5, February 13, and March 12, respectively.NEWS, Romano, Lois, Huckabee Announces Presidential Bit,weblink The Washington Post, January 29, 2007, June 9, 2009, NEWS, Balz, Dan, Cillizza, Chris, Giuliani Announces He's In '08 Presidential Race,weblink The Washington Post, February 6, 2007, June 9, 2009, NEWS, Gonyea, Don, Romney Announces His Candidacy for 2008,weblink NPR, February 13, 2007, June 9, 2009, NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink March 15, 2007, Paul formally launches presidential bid, Martin, Gary, San Antonio Express-News, March 12, 2007, March 13, 2007, McCain officially announced his candidacy on March 1, 2007, after several informal announcements.NEWS, Parker, Jennifer, The Art of the Presidential Rollout,weblink ABC News, April 25, 2007, June 9, 2009, In the third quarter of 2007, the top four GOP (Republican) fundraisers were Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and Ron Paul.WEB,weblink Paul Raises More Than $3.5M in One Day, MSNBC's Chuck Todd christened Giuliani and John McCain the front runners after the second Republican presidential debate in early 2007.NEWS, Todd, Chuck, Chuck Todd,weblink Winners & Losers, MSNBC, May 15, 2007, June 9, 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink May 31, 2009, mdy-all,

Early primaries/caucuses

Huckabee, winner of Iowa, had little to no money and hoped for at least a third-place finish in New Hampshire. McCain eventually displaced Rudy Giuliani and Romney as the front runner in New Hampshire. McCain staged a turnaround victory,NEWS,weblink Clinton and McCain the comeback kids, CNN, January 8, 2008, January 8, 2008, having been written off by the pundits and polling in single digits less than a month before the race.NEWS,weblink New poll finds McCain reshaping GOP race, MSNBC, New York Times, Robin Toner, Marjorie Connelly, yes, January 14, 2008, March 14, 2008, See also: NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink May 17, 2008, John McCain: Ultimate Survivor, March 6, 2008, The Star (South Africa), March 14, 2008, With the Republicans stripping Michigan and Florida of half their delegates for moving their primaries into January 2008 against party rules, the race for the nomination was based there. McCain meanwhile managed a small victory over Huckabee in South Carolina,NEWS,weblink Election Center 2008: Primary Results for South Carolina, January 19, 2008, January 19, 2008, CNN, setting him up for a larger and more important victory over Romney in Florida, which held a closed primary on January 29.NEWS,weblink McCain wins Florida, CNN projects, CNN, January 29, 2008, June 9, 2009, By this time, after several scandals, no success in the early primaries, and a third-place finish in Florida, Giuliani conceded from the nomination race and endorsed John McCain the next day.NEWS, Montopoli, Brian, For Giuliani, A Disappointing Fade To Exit,weblink CBS News, January 29, 2008, June 9, 2009,

Super Tuesday

McCain was also endorsed in February by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger before the California primary took place on Super Tuesday. This gave him a significant boost in the polls for the state's primary,NEWS,weblink Schwarzenegger backs McCain for president, CNN, January 31, 2008, May 26, 2010, which awarded the greatest number of delegates of all the states. On Super Tuesday, McCain won his home state of Arizona, taking all 53 delegates. He also won nearly all of California's 173 delegates, the largest of the Super Tuesday prizes. McCain also scored wins in seven other states, picking up 574 delegates.NEWS, Johnson, Wesley, Super Tuesday results state by state,weblink The Independent, February 6, 2008, June 9, 2009, London, Huckabee was the "surprise performer", winning 5 states and 218 delegates. Romney won 7 states and 231 delegates. Two days later, Romney suspended his presidential campaign, saying that if he stayed in the race, he would "forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win".NEWS, Romney suspends presidential campaign, CNN, February 7, 2008, John, King,weblink His departure left Huckabee and Paul as McCain's only major challengers in the remaining primaries and caucuses. Romney endorsed McCain on February 14.NEWS,weblink Romney endorses McCain for GOP nomination, CNN, February 14, 2008, June 9, 2009, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Washington held primaries in February after Super Tuesday. Despite McCain picking up big victories, Huckabee won Louisiana and Kansas. McCain narrowly carried the Washington caucuses over Huckabee and Paul, who amassed a large showing. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico closed February for the Republicans. After Super Tuesday, John McCain had become the clear front runner, but by the end of February, he still had not acquired enough delegates to secure the nomination. In March, John McCain clinched the Republican nomination after sweeping all four primaries, Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island, putting him over the top of the 1,191 delegates required to win the GOP nomination. Mike Huckabee then conceded the race to McCain, leaving Ron Paul, who had just 16 delegates, as his only remaining opponent.NEWS, Huckabee bows to 'inevitable,' ends GOP run, CNN, March 5, 2008,weblink March 5, 2008, Romney would eventually become the Republican presidential nominee 4 years later, which he then lost to Barack Obama.

Other nominations

Along with the Democratic and Republican parties, three other parties nominated candidates with ballot access in enough states to win the minimum 270 electoral votes needed to win the election. These were the Constitution Party, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party. In addition, independent candidate Ralph Nader ran his own campaign.The Constitution Party nominated writer, pastor, and conservative talk show host Chuck Baldwin for President, and attorney Darrell Castle from Tennessee for Vice President.NEWS, Mannies, Jo, At KC convention, Constitution Party picks pastor for president,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, May 30, 2008, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 26, 2008, July 14, 2009, NEWS, Montana News Association, BALDWIN 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, May 1, 2011, Montana News Association, May 22, 2008, July 14, 2009, While campaigning, Baldwin voiced his opposition to the Iraq War, the Sixteenth Amendment, Roe v. Wade, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve.NEWS, Simon, Scott, Chuck Baldwin On His Run For President,weblink National Public Radio, NPR, October 18, 2008, July 14, 2009, The Green Party nominated former Democratic Representative Cynthia McKinney from Georgia for President, and political activist Rosa Clemente from New York for Vice President. McKinney campaigned on a platform that supported single-payer universal health care, the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, reparations for African Americans, and the creation of a Department of Peace.NEWS, Scott, Jeffry, McKinney wins Green Party nomination,weblink The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 12, 2008, July 14, 2009, The Libertarian Party nominated former Republican Representative Bob Barr from Georgia for President, and his former rival for the Libertarian nomination Wayne Allyn Root from Nevada, for Vice President. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barr advocated a reworking or abolition of the income taxNEWS, Bob Barr: 'We must both reduce and simplify taxes',weblink Independent Political Report, June 5, 2008, July 14, 2009, and opposed the war in IraqNEWS, Galloway, Jim, Bob Barr thinking 'very serious' thoughts about a presidential race, Iraq, and torture,weblink The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 26, 2008, July 14, 2009, and the Patriot Act.NEWS, Jesse, Walker, Jesse Walker, Bob Barr, Civil Libertarian. The right wing of the ACLU,weblink Reason Magazine, December 2003, July 14, 2009,

Candidates gallery

File:Naderspeak.JPG|{{center|Independent:AttorneyRalph Naderfrom Connecticut{{small|(campaign)}}}}File:Bob Barr-2008 cropped.jpg|{{center|Libertarian Party:Former RepresentativeBob Barrfrom Georgia{{small|(campaign)}}}}File:CBaldwin08.jpg|{{center|Constitution Party:Former PastorChuck Baldwinfrom Florida{{small|(campaign)}}}}File:Cynthia McKinney.jpg|{{center|Green Party:Former RepresentativeCynthia McKinneyfrom Georgia{{small|(campaign)}}}}

Party conventions

{{Location map+|USA|width=400|float=right|caption=Sites of the 2008 National Party Conventions|places={{Location map~|USA|mark=blue-gold pog.svg|marksize=14|lat_deg=39.739167|lon_deg=-104.984722|position=bottom|background=#FFFFFF|label=Denver}}{{Location map~|USA|mark=red pog.svg|marksize=10|lat_deg=44.9441|lon_deg=-93.0852|position=top|background=#FFFFFF|label=Saint Paul}}{{Location map~|USA|mark=purple pog.svg|lat_deg=39.1|lon_deg=-94.58|position=bottom|background=#FFFFFF|label=Kansas City}}{{Location map~|USA|mark=green pog.svg|lat_deg=41.836944|lon_deg=-87.684444|position=bottom|background=#FFFFFF|label=Chicago}}}}

General election campaign



The unpopular war in Iraq was a key issue during the campaign before the economic crisis. John McCain supported the war while Barack Obama opposed it (Obama's early and strong opposition to the war helped him stand out against the other Democratic candidates during the primaries, as well as stand out to a war-weary electorate during the general campaign). Though McCain meant it as a peacetime presence like the United States maintained in Germany and Japan after World War II,NEWS, A Hundred Years' War?, Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker, January 4, 2008,weblink Hendrik Hertzberg, ; video at WEB, Make It 100,weblink YouTube, his statement that the United States could be in Iraq for as much as the next 50 to 100 years would prove costly. Obama used it against him as part of his strategy to tie him to the unpopular President Bush.John McCain's support for the troop 'surge' employed by General David Petraeus, which was one of several factors credited with improving the security situation in Iraq, may have boosted McCain's stance on the issue in voters' minds. McCain (who supported the invasion) argued that his support for the successful surge showed his superior judgment. However, Obama was quick to remind voters that there would have been no need for a "surge" had there been no war at all, thus questioning McCain's judgment.

Bush's unpopularity

George W. Bush had become increasingly unpopular among Americans by late 2005 due in part by the growing unpopularity of the Iraq War domestically and internationally, as well as Bush's mishandling of the financial crisis of 2007-08. By the time Obama was elected as President of the United States on November 4, 2008 Bush's approval rating was in the low to mid 20s and his disapproval grew increasingly significant, being in the high 60s, and even low 70s in some polls. Polls consistently showed that his approval ratings among American voters had averaged around 30 percent.Presidential Job Approval Center Gallup.comNEWS, Steinhauser, Paul, Poll: Bush's popularity hits new low, CNN, March 19, 2008,weblink January 10, 2009, NEWS, Confidence sinks to lowest since 2002 as fear tightens its hold on US consumers, International Herald Tribune, April 11, 2008,weblink January 10, 2009, In March 2008, Bush endorsed McCain at the White House,NEWS, Bush says he wants McCain to win presidency, CNN, March 5, 2008,weblink January 10, 2009, but Bush did not make a single appearance for McCain during the campaign. Bush appeared at the 2008 GOP convention only through a live video broadcast. He chose not to appear in person due to disaster events in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. Although he supported the war in Iraq, McCain made an effort to show that he had disagreed with Bush on many other key issues such as climate change. During the entire general election campaign, Obama countered by pointing out in ads and at numerous campaign rallies that McCain had claimed in an interview that he voted with Bush 90% of the time, and congressional voting records supported this for the years Bush was in office.NEWS,weblink History and Necessity Unite Bush, McCain,, February 9, 2008, January 30, 2009, Peter, Baker, Michael, Abramowitz last3 A Mazhintue,

Age issue

{{more citations needed|section|date=November 2017}}File:Sarah Palin and John McCain in Albuquerque.jpg|thumb|John McCain and Sarah Palin onstage with Todd Palin, Cindy McCain and Robert Duvall in Albuquerque, New MexicoNew MexicoSimilar to Senator Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign, one of the more widely leveled charges against McCain was the issue of his age—he turned 72 in August and there was widespread concern about the idea of electing a man who would be 80 years old if he completed two full terms in office (the oldest president, Ronald Reagan, had been a month shy of 78 when he left office in January 1989). In addition, McCain suffered from the ill effects of his captivity in North Vietnam and reportedly had difficulty lifting his arms above his head. His age in particular was considered a liability against the youthful Senator Obama, who was the first Generation Xer to run for president on a major party ticket. McCain for comparison was born before World War II and belonged to the generation preceding the baby boomers. Much like Bob Dole, McCain attempted to counter these charges by releasing all of his medical records, something Obama did not do. McCain's wife Cindy dismissed concerns about his health by arguing that "We went hiking the Grand Canyon last summer and [John] did great and had no trouble keeping up with us." McCain also appeared at several campaign stops with his still-active 95-year-old mother. In a speech on the House floor, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha criticized McCain's age by saying "Seven presidents have come and gone since I've been in Congress, and I saw the toll the job took on each one of them." If elected, McCain would have been the first, and only, President born in the decade of the 1930s.Like the Clinton campaign in 1996, Obama avoided discussing McCain's age directly, instead preferring to simply call his ideas and message "old" and "old hat". He also made a strong appeal to youth voters and back during his primary contest with Hillary Clinton, had stated "When I watched the feud between the Clintons and [Newt Gingrich] unfold during the 1990s, I was reminded of old quarrels started on college campuses long ago. It's time for a new generation to take over." Obama's active use of a Blackberry and other modern technology also stood in contrast to the Arizona Senator's admission that he did not use a computer or a cell phone. McCain's service in Vietnam, while marketable to baby boomers, was referred to as "unimportant" to younger voters.File:20081102 Obama-Springsteen Rally in Cleveland.JPG|thumb|Obama campaigning as a symbol of change in Cleveland, Ohio with a "Change We Need" sign]]Obama promised "universal health care, full employment, a green America, and an America respected instead of feared by its enemies".Simba, M. (2009). "The Obama Campaign 2008: A Historical Overview". Western Journal of Black Studies, 33(3), 186–191. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Polls regularly found the general electorate as a whole divided more evenly between 'change' and 'experience' as candidate qualities than the Democratic primary electorate, which split in favor of 'change' by a nearly 2-1 margin.NEWS, Perry Bacon, Jennifer Agiesta,weblink Change vs. Experience All Over Again, The Washington Post, June 9, 2008, Advantages for McCain and Obama on experience and the ability to bring change, respectively, remained steady through the November 4 election. However, final pre-election polling found that voters considered Obama's inexperience less of an impediment than McCain's association with sitting President George W. Bush,WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, November 6, 2008, Obama Ends Campaign Ahead In Ohio And Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, mdy-all, an association which was rhetorically framed by the Obama campaign throughout the election season as "more of the same".McCain appeared to undercut his line of attack by picking first-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.WEB, James Joyner,weblink Sarah Palin – John McCain's VP Choice,, August 29, 2008, January 30, 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink September 19, 2008, mdy-all, Palin had been governor only since 2006, and before that had been a council member and mayor of Wasilla. The choice of Palin was controversial, however it appeared to solve two pressing concerns—McCain's age and health since a youthful vice president would succeed him to office if he died or became incapacitated, and appealing to right-wing conservatives, a group that had been comparatively unmoved by McCain. Palin also came off as more down-to-earth and relatable to average Americans than McCain, widely tarbrushed as a "Beltway insider".NEWS,weblink Christian evangelicals send McCain a message, Associated Press, NBC News, February 12, 2008, January 30, 2009, However, media interviews suggested that Palin lacked knowledge on certain key issues, and they cast doubt among many voters about her qualifications to be Vice President or President. In this regard, her inexperience was also a liability when McCain's age and health were factored in—there was a higher-than-normal probability of Palin succeeding to the presidency and many moderates and independents chafed at this idea. "One 72 year old heartbeat away from the presidency" became a popular anti-GOP slogan. Late night TV host David Letterman jokingly referred to Palin as resembling "a slutty flight attendant" and even Obama himself on a September 9 speech referred to the Alaska governor's policies as "the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig". She also came under attack on everything from her 17-year-old daughter giving birth to a child out of wedlock to actively participating in hunting moose and other animals.NEWS, Palin gets media savaging after faltering interview, AFP, September 26, 2008,weblink December 30, 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink December 1, 2008, mdy-all, Because of Palin's conservative views, there was also concern that she would alienate independents and moderates, two groups that pundits observed McCain would need to win the election.NEWS,weblink Sarah Palin seen as beacon of hope as defeat at poll looms, The Daily Telegraph, London,weblink" title="">weblink October 17, 2008, dead,


Polls taken in the last few months of the presidential campaign and exit polls conducted on Election Day showed the economy as the top concern for voters.WEB,weblink Gallup's Quick Read on the Election,, January 30, 2009, NEWS,weblink Exit polls: Obama wins big among young, minority voters,, November 4, 2008, January 30, 2009, In the fall of 2008, many news sources were reporting that the economy was suffering its most serious downturn since the Great Depression.WEB,weblink Investors Bail Out: The D word going cheap,, February 15, 2009, September 16, 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink September 4, 2012, mdy-all, During this period, John McCain's election prospects fell with several politically costly comments about the economy.On August 20, John McCain said in an interview with Politico that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, owned; "I think—I'll have my staff get to you," he told the media outlet.NEWS, Martin, Jonathan, Allen, Mike
, McCain unsure how many houses he owns, Politico, August 21, 2008,weblink December 30, 2008, Both on the stump and in Obama's political ad, "Seven", the gaffe was used to portray McCain as somebody unable to relate to the concerns of ordinary Americans. This out-of-touch image was further cultivated when, on September 15, the day of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, at a morning rally in Jacksonville, Florida, McCain declared that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," despite what he described as "tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street."NEWS, Aigner-Treworgy, Adam, McCain: Economy still 'strong', MSNBC, September 15, 2008,weblink December 30, 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink December 6, 2008, mdy-all, With the perception among voters to the contrary, the comment appeared to cost McCain politically.
On September 24, 2008, after the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign to return to Washington so he could help craft a $700 billion bailout package for the troubled financial industry, and he stated that he would not debate Obama until Congress passed the bailout bill.NEWS, Obama, McCain Meet In Mississippi,, December 29, 2008,weblink December 30, 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink May 1, 2011, mdy-all, Despite this decision, McCain was portrayed as somebody not playing a significant role in the negotiations for the first version of the bill, which fell short of passage in the House. He eventually decided to attend the first presidential debate on September 26, despite Congress' lack of immediate action on the bill. His ineffectiveness in the negotiations and his reversal in decision to attend the debates were seized upon to portray McCain as erratic in his response to the economy. Days later, a second version of the original bailout bill was passed by both the House and Senate, with Obama, his vice presidential running mate Joe Biden, and McCain all voting for the measure (Hillary Clinton would as well).WEB,weblink U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes: 110th Congress, 2nd Session,, April 2, 2013, All the aforementioned remarks and campaign issues hurt McCain's standing with voters. All these also occurred after the onset of the economic crisis and after McCain's poll numbers had started to fall. Although sound bites of all of these "missteps" were played repeatedly on national television, many pundits and analysts say that the actual financial crisis and economic conditions caused McCain's large drop in support in mid-September and severely damaged his campaign.NEWS, Schnur, Dan, What caused McCain's poll numbers to fall?,weblink Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2008, September 6, 2012, NEWS, Nichols, Hans, McCain May Have Last Chance to Overcome Economy in Final Debate,weblink Bloomberg, October 15, 2008, January 29, 2009,

Health care

John McCain's proposals focused on open-market competition rather than government funding or control. At the heart of his plan were tax credits – $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families who do not subscribe to or do not have access to health care through their employer. To help people who are denied coverage by insurance companies due to pre-existing conditions, McCain proposed working with states to create what he calls a "Guaranteed Access Plan".Robert E. Moffit and Nina Owcharenko, "The McCain Health Care Plan: More Power to Families," The Heritage Foundation, October 15, 2008Barack Obama called for universal health care. His health care plan proposed creating a National Health Insurance Exchange that would include both private insurance plans and a Medicare-like government run option. Coverage would be guaranteed regardless of health status, and premiums would not vary based on health status either. It would have required parents to cover their children, but did not require adults to buy insurance.Critics of McCain's plan argued that it would not significantly reduce the number of uninsured Americans, would increase costs, reduce consumer protections and lead to less generous benefit packages.Thomas Buchmueller, Sherry A. Glied, Anne Royalty, and Katherine Swartz, "Cost And Coverage Implications Of The McCain Plan To Restructure Health Insurance," Health Affairs, September 16, 2008 Critics of Obama's plan argued that it would increase federal regulation of private health insurance without addressing the underlying incentives behind rising health care spending.Joseph Antos, Gail Wilensky, and Hanns Kuttner, "The Obama Plan: More Regulation, Unsustainable Spending," Health Affairs, September 16, 2008Robert E. Moffit and Nina Owcharenko, "The Obama Health Care Plan: More Power to Washington," {{webarchive|url= |date=October 2, 2012}} The Heritage Foundation, October 15, 2008 Mark Pauly suggested that a combination of the two approaches would work better than either one alone.Mark V. Pauly, "Blending Better Ingredients For Health Reform," Health Affairs, September 16, 2008A poll released in early November 2008 found that voters supporting Obama listed health care as their second priority; voters supporting McCain listed it as fourth, tied with the war in Iraq. Affordability was the primary health care priority among both sets of voters. Obama voters were more likely than McCain voters to believe government can do much about health care costs.Robert J. Blendon, Drew E. Altman, John M. Benson, Mollyann Brodie, Tami Buhr, Claudia Deane, and Sasha Buscho, "Voters and Health Reform in the 2008 Presidential Election," New England Journal of Medicine 359;19, November 6, 2008


The United States presidential election of 2008 was sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a bipartisan organization that sponsored four debates that occurred at various locations around the United States (U.S.) in September and October 2008. Three of the debates involved the presidential nominees, and one involved the vice-presidential nominees.{| class="wikitable"|+Debates among candidates for the 2008 U.S. presidential election!No.!Date!Time!Host!City!Moderators!Participants!Viewership(Millions)|P1|Friday, September 26, 2008|9:00 pm EDT|University of Mississippi|Oxford, Mississippi|Jim LehrerBarack Obama>Senator Barack ObamaSenator John McCainWEBSITE=WWW.DEBATES.ORG, 2019-01-08, |VP|Friday, October 3, 2008|9:00 pm EDT|Washington University in St. Louis|St. Louis, Missouri|Gwen IfillJoe Biden>Senator Joe BidenGovernor Sarah Palin|69.9|P2|Tuesday, October 7, 2008|9:00 pm EDT|Belmont University|Nashville, Tennessee|Tom BrokawBarack Obama>Senator Barack ObamaSenator John McCain|63.2|P3|Wednesday, October 15, 2008|9:00 pm EDT|Hofstra UniversityHempstead (town), New York>Hempstead, New York|Bob SchiefferBarack Obama>Senator Barack ObamaSenator John McCain|56.5NEWS,weblink Vice presidential debate, Oct. 2, 2008, October 3, 2008, July 14, 2009, MSNBC, NEWS,weblink Obama, McCain Prep for Presidential Debates, Parker, Jennifer, September 23, 2008, July 14, 2009, ABC News, {{Location map+|USA|places={{Location map~ | USA
| label = University of MississippiOxford, MS
| label_size = 75
| position = bottom
| lat_deg = 34.3659
| lon_deg = -89.5254
{{Location map~ | USA
| label = Belmont UniversityNashville, TN
| label_size = 75
| position = right
| lat_deg = 36.1329
| lon_deg = -86.7941
{{Location map~ | USA
| label = Washington UniversitySt. Louis, MO
| label_size = 75
| position = top
| lat_deg = 38.648
| lon_deg = -90.305
{{Location map~ | USA
| label = Hofstra UniversityHempstead, NY
| label_size = 75
| position = top
| lat_deg = 40.7168
| lon_deg = -73.5994
}}|alt=Map of United States showing debate locations|caption=Sites of the 2008 general election debates|width=320}}Another debate was sponsored by the Columbia University political union and took place there on October 19. All candidates who could theoretically win the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election were invited, and Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin agreed to attend. Amy Goodman, principal host of Democracy Now!, moderated. It was broadcast on cable by C-SPAN and on the Internet by Break-the-Matrix.WEB,weblink Free and Equal,, November 3, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink October 19, 2008,

Campaign costs

The reported cost of campaigning for president has increased significantly in recent years. One source reported that if the costs for both Democratic and Republican campaigns were added together (for the presidential primary election, general election, and the political conventions), the costs have more than doubled in only eight years ($448.9 million in 1996, $649.5 million in 2000, and $1.01 billion in 2004).NEWS, Helen, Kennedy, Wanna be Prez? First get $100M, January 14, 2007, New York Daily News,weblink February 1, 2007, In January 2007, Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael E. Toner estimated that the 2008 race would be a $1 billion election, and that to be taken seriously, a candidate would have needed to raise at least $100 million by the end of 2007.NEWS, David, Kirkpatrick, Death Knell May Be Near for Public Election Funds, January 23, 2007, The New York Times,weblink September 15, 2008,

Expense summary

According to required campaign filings as reported by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), 148 candidates for all parties collectively raised $1,644,712,232 and spent $1,601,104,696 for the primary and general campaigns combined through November 24, 2008. The amounts raised and spent by the major candidates, according to the same source, were as follows:{|class="wikitable"!Candidate (party)!Amount raised!Amount spent!Votes!Average spent per voteBarack Obama (D)|$778,642,962|$760,370,195|69,498,516|$10.94John McCain (R)|$379,006,485|$346,666,422|59,948,323|$5.78Ralph Nader (I)|$4,496,180|$4,187,628|739,034|$5.67Bob Barr (L)|$1,383,681|$1,345,202|523,715|$2.57Chuck Baldwin (C)|$261,673|$234,309|199,750|$1.17Cynthia McKinney (G)|$240,130|$238,968|161,797|$1.48 align=centerExcludes spending by independent expenditure concerns.Source: Federal Election CommissionHTTP://QUERY.NICTUSA.COM/CGI-BIN/CANCOMSRS/?_08+00+PR>TITLE=FINANCIAL SUMMARY REPORT SEARCH RESULTSACCESSDATE=DECEMBER 22, 2008ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20141208114019/HTTP://QUERY.NICTUSA.COM/CGI-BIN/CANCOMSRS/?_08+00+PRDF=MDY-ALL,

Notable expressions and phrases

  • Drill, baby, drill: Republican self-described energy policy
  • Yes We Can: Obama's campaign slogan
  • That one: McCain's reference to Obama during the 2nd debate.
  • Lipstick on a pig: Obama used this phrase to insinuate that any changes that McCain was advocating from the policies of George W. Bush would only be slight modifications of Bush's policies but the underlying policies would be the same, and in Obama's opinion, bad. Some called it sexist, claiming it was a reference to Sarah Palin, who cracked a joke during the Republican convention that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick.NEWS, Obama rejects 'lipstick' charge, BBC, September 10, 2008,weblink

Internet campaigns


{{see also|Grassroots fundraising}}Howard Dean collected large contributions through the Internet in his 2004 primary run. In 2008, candidates went even further to reach out to Internet users through their own sites and such sites as YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook.NEWS,weblink Questions, not answers, highlight YouTube debate, CNN, July 24, 2007, March 14, 2008, NEWS,weblink Candidates court young voters online, Stephanie Garry, St. Petersburg Times, June 8, 2007, September 15, 2008, On December 16, 2007, Ron Paul collected million, more money on a single day through Internet donations than any presidential candidate in US history.NEWS,weblink 'Money bomb': Ron Paul raises $6 million in 24-hour period, Kenneth Vogel, The Politico, USA Today, March 14, 2008, December 17, 2007, Kenneth Vogel, NEWS,weblink Breaking News: Ron Paul campaign donors set a record, Los Angeles Times, December 17, 2007, September 15, 2008, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink January 12, 2008, Ron Paul makes fund raising history, Larry Fester, USA Daily, November 5, 2007,


Not only did the Internet allow candidates to raise money, but also it gave them a tool to appeal to newer and younger demographics. Political pundits were now evaluating candidates based on their social media following.Senator Barack Obama's victory is credited to his competitive edge in social media and Internet following. Obama had over 2 million American supporters on Facebook and 100,000 followers on Twitter, while McCain attracted only 600,000 Facebook supporters (likes) and 4,600 followers on Twitter. Obama's YouTube channel held 115,000 subscribers and more than 97 million video views. Obama had maintained a similar advantage over Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary.WEB, Fraser, Matthew, Barack Obama and the Facebook Election,weblink US News & World Report, 2 March 2014, Obama's edge in social media was crucial to the election outcome. According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life project, 35 percent of Americans relied on online video for election news. Ten percent of Americans used social networking sites to learn about the election.WEB, Social Media and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, Journal of New Communications Research, Metzgar, Emily, Albert Maruggi, yes, The 2008 election showed huge increases in Internet use.Another study done after the election gave a lot of insight on young voters. Thirty-seven percent of Americans ages 18–24 got election news from social networking sites. Almost a quarter of Americans saw something about the election in an online video.NEWS, Cain Miller, Claire, How Obama's Internet Campaign Changed Politics,weblink 1 March 2014, The New York Times, 7 Nov 2008, YouTube and other online video outlets allowed candidates to advertise in ways like never before. The Republican Party in particular was criticized for not adequately using social media and other means to reach young voters.Anonymous and semi-anonymous smear campaigns, traditionally done with fliers and push calling, also spread to the Internet.NEWS, Palmetto Bugs: Slingers of Slime Step it up in SC, Reid, Tim, November 23, 2007, New York Post,weblink September 15, 2008, Organizations specializing in the production and distribution of viral material, such as Brave New Films, emerged; such organizations have been said to be having a growing influence on American politics.NEWS,weblink New York Times, Rutenberg, Jim, June 29, 2008, October 25, 2008, Political Freelancers Use Web to Join the Attack,


Voter suppression

Allegations of voter list purges using unlawful criteria caused controversy in at least six swing states: Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina.NEWS,weblink States' Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal, The New York Times, Ian Urbina, October 9, 2008, October 15, 2008, On October 5, 2008 the Republican Lt. Governor of Montana, John Bohlinger, accused the Montana Republican Party of vote caging to purge 6,000 voters from three counties which trend Democratic.WEB,weblink Republicans crossed line with voter purge attempt, The Montana Standard, John Bohlinger, October 5, 2008, October 15, 2008, Allegations arose in Michigan that the Republican Party planned to challenge the eligibility of voters based on lists of foreclosed homes.NEWS,weblink Lose your house, lose your vote, September 10, 2008, Michigan Messenger, dead,weblink" title="">weblink September 23, 2008, mdy-all, The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama filed a lawsuit challenging this. The House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation.WEB,weblink Conyers Calls on McCain to Immediately Halt Republican Vote Suppression Efforts, September 19, 2008, House of Representatives, dead,weblink" title="">weblink September 24, 2008, mdy-all, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr filed a lawsuit in Texas to have Obama and McCain removed from the ballot in that state.NEWS, Christy, Hoppe, Libertarian Bob Barr sues to have McCain, Obama cast off Texas' ballot, Dallas Morning News, September 19, 2008, October 8, 2008,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink September 21, 2008, His campaign alleged that both the candidates had missed the August 26 deadline to file, and were present on the ballot contrary to Texas election law. Neither Obama, or McCain at the time of the deadline had been confirmed as the candidate for their respective parties. The Texas Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit without explanation.NEWS, Adam, Young, Texas court: McCain, Obama to remain on ballot, Daily Toreador, September 24, 2008, October 8, 2008,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 6, 2008, mdy-all, In Ohio, identified by both parties as a key state, allegations surfaced from both Republicans and Democrats that individuals from out of state were moving to the state temporarily and attempting to vote despite not meeting the state's requirement of permanent residency for more than 29 days. The Franklin County Board of Elections referred 55 cases of possible voting irregularities to the local prosecutor.WEB, Niquette, Mark,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, April 29, 2011, Mark Niquette, "Vote-Fraud Cases Linger from 2008," Columbus Dispatch, November 16, 2008.",, November 16, 2009, June 13, 2010, Three groups attracted particular notice: 'Vote from Home,' 'Vote Today Ohio,' and 'Drop Everything and Come to Ohio.' Vote from Home attracted the most attention when thirteen of the group's members moved to the same location in eastern Columbus. Members of the group organized by Marc Gustafson, including several Marshall and Rhodes scholars studying at Oxford University, settled with Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien to have their challenged ballots withdrawn.WEB, Niquette, Mark,weblink Mark Niquette and Jill Riepenhoff, "'Voters' Flocking to Ohio," Columbus Dispatch, October 22, 2008,, October 22, 2008, June 13, 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink August 12, 2010, mdy-all, Jeane Macintosh, "Gotham-to-Ohio Vote Scam Eyed," {{webarchive|url= |date=December 12, 2011 }} New York Post, October 20, 2008; Resume of group leader with statement about Marshall scholars membership posted here WEB,weblink's%20Website%20Resume.pdf, Archived copy, April 17, 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink May 14, 2011, mdy-all, The Obama campaign and others alleged that members of the McCain campaign had also voted without properly establishing residency. Since 1953, only six people in Ohio have gone to prison for illegal voting.WEB, Riepenhoff, Jill,weblink Jill Riepenhoff, "Illegal Voters, or Just Getting Out the Vote?" Columbus Dispatch, October 19, 2008,, October 19, 2008, June 13, 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink August 12, 2010, mdy-all,

Media bias

Republicans and independents leveled significant criticism at media outlets' coverage of the presidential election season. An October 22, 2008 Pew Research Center poll estimated 70% of registered voters believed journalists wanted Barack Obama to win the election, as opposed to 9% for John McCain.WEB, Most Voters Say Media Wants Obama to Win, The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, October 22, 2008,weblink Another Pew survey, conducted after the election, found that 67% of voters thought that the press fairly covered Obama, versus 30% who viewed the coverage as unfair. Regarding McCain, 53% of voters viewed his press coverage as fair versus 44% who characterized it as unfair. Among affiliated Democrats, 83% believed the press fairly covered Obama; just 22% of Republicans thought the press was fair to McCain.High Marks for the Campaign, a High Bar for Obama Pew Research Center. Retrieved September 6, 2012.At the February debate, Tim Russert of NBC News was criticized for what some perceived as disproportionately tough questioning of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Among the questions, Russert had asked Clinton, but not Obama, to provide the name of the new Russian President (Dmitry Medvedev). This was later parodied on Saturday Night Live. In October 2007, liberal commentators accused Russert of harassing Clinton over the issue of supporting drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants.On April 16, ABC News hosted a debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were criticized by viewers, bloggers and media critics for the poor quality of their questions.NEWS, Jacques, Steinberg, Jacques Steinberg, Who Lost the Debate? Moderators, Many Say,weblink The New York Times, April 18, 2008, April 18, 2008, NEWS, Howard, Kurtz, Howard Kurtz, The Backlash Against ABC,weblink The Washington Post, April 18, 2008, April 18, 2008, Many viewers said they considered some of the questions irrelevant when measured against the importance of the faltering economy or the Iraq War. Included in that category were continued questions about Obama's former pastor, Senator Hillary Clinton's assertion that she had to duck sniper fire in Bosnia more than a decade ago, and Senator Obama's not wearing an American flag pin. The moderators focused on campaign gaffes and some believed they focused too much on Obama. Stephanopoulos defended their performance, saying "Senator Obama was the front-runner" and the questions were "not inappropriate or irrelevant at all."In an op-ed published on April 27, 2008 in The New York Times, Elizabeth Edwards wrote that the media covered much more of "the rancor of the campaign" and "amount of money spent" than "the candidates' priorities, policies and principles."NEWS, Elizabeth Edwards, Op-ed: Bowling 1, Health Care 0, New York Times, April 28, 2008,weblink Author Erica Jong commented that "our press has become a sea of triviality, meanness and irrelevant chatter."NEWS,weblink Inspiration Versus Degradation, The Huffington Post, Erica, Jong, May 5, 2008, A Gallup poll released on May 29, 2008 also estimated that more Americans felt the media was being harder on Hillary Clinton than they were towards Barack Obama. Time magazine columnist Mark Halperin stated that the media during the 2008 election had a "blind, almost slavish" worship of Obama.WEB,weblink Public Says Media Harder on Clinton Than Obama, McCain,, July 17, 2011, The Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy conducted a study of 5,374 media narratives and assertions about the presidential candidates from January 1 through March 9, 2008. The study found that Obama received 69% favorable coverage and Clinton received 67%, compared to only 43% favorable media coverage of McCain.WEB, Character and the Primaries of 2008, The Project for Excellence in Journalism, May 29, 2008,weblink Another study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found the media coverage of Obama to be 72% negative from June 8 to July 21 compared to 57% negative for McCain.WEB, MEDIA BASH BARACK (NOT A TYPO), Center for Media and Public Affairs, July 28, 2008,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink November 20, 2008, mdy-all, An October 29 study found 29% of stories about Obama to be negative, compared to 57% of stories about McCain being negative.WEB, The Color of News, Project for Excellence in Journalism, October 29, 2008,weblink


File:Poll Closing Times 2008.svg|thumb|Final poll closing times on Election Day.{{legend|#D8BFD8|7PM EST [00:00 (Coordinated Universal Time|UTC]]] (6)}}{{legend|#EE82EE|7:30PM EST [00:30 UTC] (3)}}{{legend|#BA55D3|8PM EST [01:00 UTC] (15+DC)}}{{legend|#9932CC|8:30PM EST [01:30 UTC] (1)}}{{legend|#8B008B|9PM EST [02:00 UTC] (15)}}{{legend|#4B0082|10PM EST [03:00 UTC] (4)}}{{legend|#483D8B|11PM EST [04:00 UTC] (5)}}{{legend|#000000|1AM EST [06:00 UTC] (1)}})Election Day was on November 4, 2008. The majority of states allowed early voting, with all states allowing some form of absentee voting.Absentee and Early Voting Laws {{webarchive |url= |date=December 11, 2008 }}, from the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College Voters cast votes for listed presidential candidates but were actually selecting representatives for their state's Electoral College slate.A McCain victory quickly became improbable as Obama amassed early wins in his home state of Illinois, the Northeast, and the critical battleground states of Ohio (which no Republican has ever been elected President without winning) and Pennsylvania by 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.WEB,weblink NBC calls Ohio for Obama—First Read—,, November 4, 2008, January 24, 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink December 11, 2008, mdy-all, Obama won the entire Northeast by comfortable margins and the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota by double digits. McCain held on to traditionally Republican states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska (though notably, Obama did win an electoral vote from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district), Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and his home state of Arizona. McCain, unlike Bush in 2000 and 2004, failed to win all the southern states: Obama won Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. Obama also won the hotly contested states of Iowa and New Mexico, which Al Gore had won in 2000 and George W. Bush in 2004. Also, for only the second time since 1940 (1964 being the other), Indiana went Democratic, giving Obama all eight Great Lakes states, the first time a presidential candidate had won all of them since Richard Nixon in 1972.CNN and Fox News called Virginia for Obama shortly before 11:00 PM, leaving him only 50 electoral votes shy of victory with only six West Coast states (California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii) still voting. All American networks called the election in favor of Obama at 11:00 PM as the polls closed on the West Coast. Obama was immediately declared the winner in California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, McCain won Idaho, and the Electoral College totals were updated to 297 for Obama and 146 for McCain (270 are needed to win). McCain gave a concession speech half an hour later in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.NEWS, Fouhy, Beth, McCain concedes presidency, congratulates Obama,weblink Tucson Citizen, November 5, 2008, July 18, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink July 16, 2012, dead, mdy-all, Obama appeared just before midnight Eastern Time in Grant Park, Chicago, in front of a crowd of 250,000 people to deliver his victory speech.WEB, Paul, Meincke,weblink Chicago could benefit from Obama election, WLS-TV, Chicago, November 5, 2008, July 18, 2011,weblink" title="">weblink June 29, 2011, dead, File:Cartogram-2008 Electoral Vote.png|thumb|Cartogram of the Electoral Votes for 2008 United States presidential election, each square representing one electoral vote. The map shows the impact of winning swing states. Nebraska, being one of two states that are not winner-take-all, for the first time had its votes split, with its second congressional district voting for Obama.]]Following Obama's speech, spontaneous street parties broke out in cities across the United States including Philadelphia, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Madison, and New York CityWEB,weblink Scenes of joy across the US—Local News—News—General, The Canberra Times, November 5, 2008, January 24, 2009, and around the world in London; Bonn; Berlin; Obama, Japan; Toronto; Rio de Janeiro; Sydney; and Nairobi.NEWS,weblink World celebrates Barack Obama victory, Times Online, November 5, 2008, January 24, 2009, London, Philippe, Naughton,weblink" title="">weblink April 29, 2011, Later on election night, after Obama was named the winner, he picked up several more wins in swing states in which the polls had shown a close race. These included Florida, Indiana, Virginia, and the western states of Colorado and Nevada. All of these states had been carried by Bush in 2004. North Carolina and the bellwether state of Missouri remained undecided for several days. Eventually Obama was declared the winner in North Carolina and McCain in Missouri, with Obama pulling out a rare win in Nebraska's 2nd congressional district. This put the projected electoral vote count at 365 for Obama and 173 for McCain. Obama's victories in the populous swing states of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia contributed to his decisive win. The presidential electors cast their ballots for President and Vice President, and Congress tallied these votes on January 8, 2009.


(File:Obama Sign Arlington Virginia.jpg|alt=Obama 2008 campaign sign|thumb|An Obama sign displayed at a home in Arlington, VA, on November 1, 2008.)The voter turnout for this election was broadly predicted to be high by American standards,NEWS,weblink Expected High Voter Turnout Has Government Officials, Watchdog Groups on Alert, November 7, 2008, November 3, 2008, Fox News, "The main thing that we all know is that there's going to be a huge turnout. There are going to be long lines, and any problems that occur will exacerbate because of those lines," said Robert M. Brandon, president of the Fair Elections Legal Network., NEWS, Urbina, Ian, Voting experts say high turnout may add to problems at the polls,weblink The New York Times, November 3, 2008, July 16, 2009, and a record number of votes were cast.NEWS, Alban, Debra, Number of votes cast set record, but voter turnout percentage didn't,weblink CNN, November 7, 2008, July 16, 2009, The final tally of total votes counted was 131.3 million, compared to 122.3 million in 2004 (which also boasted the highest record since 1968, the last presidential election before the voting age was lowered to 18). Expressed as a percentage of eligible voters, 131.2 million votes could reflect a turnout as high as 63.0% of eligible voters, which would be the highest since 1960.PRESS RELEASE,weblink Much-hyped Turnout Record Fails to Materialize, November 20, 2008, November 6, 2008, Center for the Study of the American Electorate, American University, PRESS RELEASE,weblink African-Americans, Anger, Fear and Youth Propel Turnout to Highest Level Since 1964, December 18, 2008, Center for the Study of the American Electorate, American University, This 63.0% turnout rate is based on an estimated eligible voter population of 208,323,000. Another estimate puts the eligible voter population at 213,313,508, resulting in a turnout rate of 61.6%, which would be the highest turnout rate since 1968.WEB,weblink 2008 General Election Turnout Vote,, March 31, 2012, December 6, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink January 12, 2013, mdy-all, Broken down by age group, voters under 35 voted for Obama by a large majority with McCain most popular among voters over 60. Voters between 35 and 59 were nearly split 50/50 between the two candidates.American University's Center for the Study of the American Electorate released a report on November 6, 2008, two days after the election, which concluded that the anticipated increase in turnout had failed to materialize. That report was the basis for some news articles that indicated voter turnout failed to meet expectations.NEWS,weblink That huge voter turnout? Didn't happen, November 8, 2008, Politico, When the remaining votes were counted after the release of the report, the total number of votes cast in the presidential election was raised to 131.2 million, which surpassed the American University report's preliminary estimate of 126.5 to 128.5 million voters by a factor of between 2% and 4%.The election saw increased participation from African Americans, who made up 11.1% of the electorate in 2004, versus 13.0% in 2008.WEB,weblink America Goes to the Polls, September 6, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 16, 2012, mdy-all, According to exit polls, over 95% of African Americans voted for Obama. This played a critical role in Southern states such as North Carolina. 74% of North Carolina's registered African American voters turned out, as opposed to 69% of North Carolinians in general, with Obama carrying 100% (with rounding) of African-American females and African Americans age 18 to 29, according to exit polling.NEWS,weblink How Black Democrats won North Carolina and the Election: Massive Turnout, Week of November 13–19, 2008, November 24, 2008, The Wilmington Journal, dead,weblink" title="">weblink December 2, 2010, mdy-all, This was also the case in Virginia, where much higher turnout among African Americans propelled Obama to victory in the former Republican stronghold.NEWS,weblink 2008 Presidential Race: Virginia—Election Guide—The New York Times, The New York Times, November 4, 2008, Election Guide 2008 – The New York Times, The New York Times Company, June 2, 2009, Even in southern states in which Obama was unsuccessful, such as Georgia and Mississippi, due to large African American turnout he was much more competitive than John Kerry in 2004.NEWS,weblink 2008 Presidential Race: Georgia—Election Guide—The New York Times, The New York Times, November 4, 2008, Election Guide 2008 – The New York Times, The New York Times Company, June 2, 2009, NEWS,weblink 2008 Presidential Race: Mississippi—Election Guide—The New York Times, The New York Times, November 4, 2008, Election Guide 2008 – The New York Times, The New York Times Company, June 2, 2009, style"background:lightgrey;"">

Ballot access{|class"wikitable" style"background:lightgrey;"

!Presidential ticket!Party!Ballot accessWEB,weblink 2008 PETITIONING FOR PRESIDENT,, October 23, 2008, January 24, 2009,weblink" title="">weblink November 3, 2008, !Votes{{Party shading/Democratic}}|Obama / Biden|DemocraticWashington, D.C.>DC|69,498,516{{Party shading/Republican}}|McCain / Palin|Republican|50+DC|59,948,323{{Party shading/Independent}}|Nader / Gonzalez|Independent|45+DC|739,034{{Party shading/Libertarian}}|Barr / Root|Libertarian|45|523,715{{Party shading/Constitution}}|Baldwin / Castle|Constitution|37|199,750{{Party shading/Green}}|McKinney / Clemente|Green|32 + DC|161,797{{Party shading/None}}|Others—total||(see below)|242,685No other candidate had ballot access in enough states to win 270 electoral votes. All six candidates appeared on the ballot for a majority of the voters, while the 17 other listed candidates were available to no more than 30% of the voters.WEB,weblink Ballot Access News – November 1, 2008,, March 18, 2008, February 23, 2010, The following candidates and parties had ballot listing or write-in status in more than one state:WEB,weblink Ballot Access News—November 1, 2008,, March 18, 2008, January 24, 2009,
  • Alan Keyes (America's Independent Party) received 47,746 votes; listed in three states: Colorado and Florida, plus California (listed as American Independent), and also had write-in status in Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, and Utah.
  • Ron Paul received 42,426 votes; listed in Louisiana (Louisiana Taxpayers) and in Montana (Constitution), with write-in status in California.
  • Gloria La Riva (Party for Socialism and Liberation) received 6,808 votesWEB,weblink 12/12/92,, December 22, 2008, January 24, 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink February 4, 2009, mdy-all, nationally; listed in 12 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Brian Moore (Socialist Party, see Brian Moore presidential campaign, 2008) received 6,538 votes; listed in eight states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and Tennessee (independent) and Vermont (Liberty Union). He also filed for write-in status in 17 other states: Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • Róger Calero (Socialist Workers Party) received 5,151 votes; listed in ten states. He was listed by name in Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. James Harris was listed as his stand-in in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, and Washington, and also had write-in status in California.
  • Charles Jay (Boston Tea Party) received 2,422 votes; listed in Colorado and Florida, and in Tennessee (as independent), with write-in status in Arizona, Montana, and Utah.
  • Tom Stevens (Objectivist) received 755 votes; listed in Colorado and Florida.
  • Gene Amondson (Prohibition) received 653 votes; listed in Colorado, Florida, and Louisiana.
  • Jonathan Allen (Heartquake) received 483 votes; listed only in Colorado, with write-in status in Arizona, Georgia, Montana, Texas, and other states.
The following candidates (parties) were listed on the ballot in only one state: In Nevada, 6,267 votes were cast for "None Of These Candidates".WEB,weblink 2008 Official Statewide General Election Results for Nevada,, November 4, 2008, April 2, 2013, In the three states that officially keep track of "blank" votes for President, 103,193 votes were recorded as "blank".WEB,weblink 2008 Presidential Election by State,, January 8, 2009, February 23, 2010, More than 100,000 write-in votes were cast and recorded for a scattering of other candidates, including 62 votes for "Santa Claus" (in ten states) and 11 votes for "Mickey Mouse" (in five states).WEB,weblink 2008 Presidential Election by State,, January 8, 2009, February 23, 2010, According to the Federal Election Commission, an unusually high number of "miscellaneous" write-ins were cast for president in 2008, including 112,597 tallied in the 17 states that record votes for non-listed candidates.WEB,weblink Ballot Access News – February 1, 2009,, February 1, 2009, February 23, 2010, There were more presidential candidates on the ballot than at any other time in U. S. history, except for the 1992 election, which also had 23 candidates listed in at least one state.


Popular vote totals are from the official Federal Election Commission report. The results of the electoral vote were certified by Congress on January 8, 2009.WEB,weblink United States House of Representatives floor summary for Jan 8, 2009,, January 30, 2009,weblink" title="">weblink April 2, 2012, dead, mdy-all, {{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=Barack Hussein Obama II|party=Democratic|state=Illinois|pv=69,498,516|pv_pct=52.93%|ev=365|vp_name=Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.|vp_state=Delaware}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=John Sidney McCain|party=Republican|state=Arizona|pv=59,948,323|pv_pct=45.65%|ev=173|vp_name=Sarah Louise Palin|vp_state=Alaska}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=Ralph Nader|party=Independent|state=Connecticut|pv=739,034|pv_pct=0.56%|ev=0|vp_name=Matt Gonzalez|vp_state=California}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=Bob Barr|party=Libertarian|state=Georgia|pv=523,715|pv_pct=0.40%|ev=0|vp_name=Wayne Allyn Root|vp_state=Nevada}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=Chuck Baldwin|party=Constitution|state=Florida|pv=199,750|pv_pct=0.15%|ev=0|vp_name=Darrell Castle|vp_state=Tennessee}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=Cynthia McKinney|party=Green|state=Georgia|pv=161,797|pv_pct=0.12%|ev=0|vp_name=Rosa Clemente|vp_state=North Carolina}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box row|name=Alan Keyes|party=America's Independent Party|state=New York|pv=47,941|pv_pct=0.04%|ev=0|vp_name=Wiley S. Drake, Sr.|vp_state=Colorado}}{{U.S. presidential ticket box other|footnote=|pv=242,685|pv_pct=0.18%}}{{bar box|title=Popular vote|titlebar=#ddd|width=600px|barwidth=410px|bars={{bar percent|Obama|{{Democratic Party (US)/meta/color}}|52.93}}{{bar percent|McCain|{{Republican Party (US)/meta/color}}|45.65}}{{bar percent|Nader|#777777|0.56}}{{bar percent|Barr|{{Libertarian Party (US)/meta/color}}|0.40}}{{bar percent|Baldwin|{{Constitution Party (US)/meta/color}}|0.15}}{{bar percent|McKinney|{{Green Party (US)/meta/color}}|0.12}}{{bar percent|Keyes|{{America's Independent Party (US)/meta/color}}|0.04}}{{bar percent|Others|#777777|0.18}}}}{{bar box|title=Electoral vote|titlebar=#ddd|width=600px|barwidth=410px|bars={{bar percent|Obama|{{Democratic Party (US)/meta/color}}|67.84}}{{bar percent|McCain|{{Republican Party (US)/meta/color}}|32.16}}}}

Results by state

{{further|United States presidential election#The popular vote on Election Day}}The following table records the official vote tallies for each state for those presidential candidates who were listed on ballots in enough states to have a theoretical chance for a majority in the Electoral College. State popular vote results are from the official Federal Election Commission report. The column labeled "Margin" shows Obama's margin of victory over McCain (the margin is negative for states and districts won by McCain).{|class="wikitable"{{Party shading/Democratic}}Barack Obama>Obama/Biden{{Party shading/Republican}}John McCain>McCain/Palin{|class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:right;"! colspan=2 |! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| Barack ObamaDemocratic! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| John McCainRepublican! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| Ralph NaderIndependent! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| Bob BarrLibertarian! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| Chuck BaldwinConstitution! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| Cynthia McKinneyGreen! style="text-align:center;" colspan="3"| Others! style="text-align:center;" colspan="2"| Margin! style="text-align:center;" colspan="2"| State Total! align=center | State! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | electoralvotes! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| #! style="text-align:center;" data-sort- type="number"| %! style="text-align:center; font-size: 60%" data-sort-type="number" | #!{{Party shading/Republican}}Alabama|AL{{Party shading/Republican}}Alaska|AK{{Party shading/Republican}}Arizona|AZ{{Party shading/Republican}}Arkansas|AR{{Party shading/Democratic}}California|CA{{Party shading/Democratic}}Colorado|CO{{Party shading/Democratic}}Connecticut|CT{{Party shading/Democratic}}Delaware|DE{{Party shading/Democratic}}District of Columbia|DC{{Party shading/Democratic}}Florida|FL{{Party shading/Republican}}Georgia|GA{{Party shading/Democratic}}Hawaii|HI{{Party shading/Republican}}Idaho|ID{{Party shading/Democratic}}Illinois|IL{{Party shading/Democratic}}Indiana|IN{{Party shading/Democratic}}Iowa|IA{{Party shading/Republican}}Kansas|KS{{Party shading/Republican}}Kentucky|KY{{Party shading/Republican}}Louisiana|LA{{Party shading/Democratic}}Maine★|ME{{Party shading/Democratic}}Maryland|MD{{Party shading/Democratic}}Massachusetts|MA{{Party shading/Democratic}}Michigan|MI{{Party shading/Democratic}}Minnesota|MN{{Party shading/Republican}}Mississippi|MS{{Party shading/Republican}}Missouri|MO{{Party shading/Republican}}Montana|MT{{Party shading/Republican}}Nebraska★|NE{{Party shading/Democratic}}Nevada|NV{{Party shading/Democratic}}New Hampshire|NH{{Party shading/Democratic}}New Jersey|NJ{{Party shading/Democratic}}New Mexico|NM{{Party shading/Democratic}}New York|NY{{Party shading/Democratic}}North Carolina|NC{{Party shading/Republican}}North Dakota|ND{{Party shading/Democratic}}Ohio|OH{{Party shading/Republican}}Oklahoma|OK{{Party shading/Democratic}}Oregon|OR{{Party shading/Democratic}}Pennsylvania|PA{{Party shading/Democratic}}Rhode Island|RI{{Party shading/Republican}}South Carolina|SC{{Party shading/Republican}}South Dakota|SD{{Party shading/Republican}}Tennessee|TN{{Party shading/Republican}}Texas|TX{{Party shading/Republican}}Utah|UT{{Party shading/Democratic}}Vermont|VT{{Party shading/Democratic}}Virginia|VA{{Party shading/Democratic}}Washington|WA{{Party shading/Republican}}West Virginia|WV{{Party shading/Democratic}}Wisconsin|WI{{Party shading/Republican}}Wyoming|WY{{Party shading/Democratic}}! align=left|U.S. Total||538||69,498,516||52.93%||365||59,948,323||45.65%||173||739,034||0.56%||-||523,715||0.40%||-||199,750||0.15%||-||161,797||0.12%||-||242,685||0.18%||-||9,550,193||7.27%||131,313,820||US★Maine and Nebraska each allow for their electoral votes to be split between candidates. In both states, two electoral votes are awarded to the winner of the statewide race and one electoral vote is awarded to the winner of each congressional district. The following table records the official presidential vote tallies for Maine and Nebraska's congressional districts.WEB,weblink Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions, Elections Division, December 2, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink November 4, 2012, mdy-all, WEB,weblink Official Results of Nebraska General Election – November 4, 2008, December 2, 2012, {|class="wikitable sortable" style="text-align:right;"!District!Electors!Obama!!%!McCain!!%!Nader!!%!Barr!!%!Baldwin!!%!McKinney!!%!Other!!%!Margin!%!Total{{Party shading/Democratic}}Maine's 1st congressional district|383,626{{Party shading/Democratic}}Maine's 2nd congressional district|347,537{{Party shading/Republican}}Nebraska's 1st congressional district|273,893{{Party shading/Democratic}}Nebraska's 2nd congressional district|277,809{{Party shading/Republican}}Nebraska's 3rd congressional district|246,742File:2008prescountymap.PNG|Popular vote by county. Red represents counties that went for McCain; blue represents counties that went for Obama. Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont had all counties go to Obama. Oklahoma had all counties go to McCain.File:Gastner map purple byarea bycounty.png|Presidential popular votes by county as a scale from red/Republican to blue/Democratic.File:2008CartogramElection.jpg|Cartogram of popular vote with each county rescaled in proportion to its population. Deeper blue represents a Democratic majority; brighter red represents a Republican majority.WEB,weblink Election maps,, File:US Election04-08shift.png|Voting shifts per county from the 2004 to the 2008 election. Darker blue indicates the county voted more Democratic. Darker red indicates the county voted more Republican.File:2008nationwidecountymapshadedbyvoteshare.svg|Results by county, shaded according to winning candidate's percentage of the vote.File:Presidential Elections 2004-2008 Swing in County Margins.svg| Change in vote margins at the county level from the 2004 election to the 2008 election. Obama made dramatic gains in every region of the country except for Arizona, Appalachia, and the inner South, where McCain improved over Bush.File:2008 United States Presidential Election, Results by Congressional District.png|Results by congressional district.

Close states/districts

(File:Swing states, 2008.svg|thumb|upright=1.35|States/districts in the 2008 United States Presidential election in which the margin of victory was less than 5%. Blue states/districts went for Obama, red for McCain. Yellow states were won by either candidate by 5% or more. Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia and Iowa were won by Bush in 2004 but were won by Obama by a margin of more than 5% in 2008.)Red font color denotes states won by Republican John McCain; blue denotes those won by Democrat Barack Obama.States/districts in which the margin of victory was under 1% (26 electoral votes):
  1. Missouri 0.13%
  2. North Carolina 0.33%
States/districts in which the margin of victory was under 5% (62 electoral votes):
  1. Indiana 1.03%
  2. Nebraska's 2nd congressional district 1.21%
  3. Montana 2.26%
  4. Florida 2.82%
  5. Ohio 4.59%
States/districts in which margin of victory was more than 5% but less than 10% (73 electoral votes):
  1. Georgia 5.21%
  2. Virginia 6.30%
  3. South Dakota 8.41%
  4. Arizona 8.52%
  5. North Dakota 8.63%
  6. Colorado 8.95% (tipping point state for an Obama victory)
  7. South Carolina 8.98%
  8. Iowa 9.53% ''(tipping point state for a McCain victory)
  9. New Hampshire 9.61%
  10. Nebraska's 1st congressional district 9.77%

International reaction

The American presidential election was followed closely internationally.NEWS, Coleman, Joseph, World hopes U.S. election heralds new era,weblink San Francisco Chronicle, November 5, 2008, July 17, 2009, When it was clear that Obama was victorious, many world leaders sent congratulations and well wishes to the President-elect.NEWS, World leaders hail Obama triumph,weblink BBC News, November 5, 2008, August 2, 2009,

Voter demographics{| classwikitable

! colspan="8" | The 2008 presidential vote by demographic subgroup! Demographic subgroup! {{party shading/Democratic}}|Obama! {{party shading/Republican}}|McCain! {{party shading/Independent}}|Other! % oftotal vote| Total vote 53 46 1 100! colspan=5|IdeologyModern liberalism in the United States>Liberals 89 10 1 22| Moderates 60 39 1 44Conservatism in the United States>Conservatives 20 78 2 34! colspan=5|PartyDemocratic Party (United States)>Democrats 89 10 1 39Republican Party (United States)>Republicans 9 90 1 32Independent (voter)>Independents 52 44 4 29! colspan=5|Gender| Men 49 48 3 47| Women 56 43 1 53! colspan=5|Marital status| Married 47 52 1 66| Non-married 65 33 2 34! colspan=5|RaceWhite American>White 43 55 2 74African American>Black 95 4 1 13Asian American>Asian 62 35 3 2| Other 66 31 3 2Hispanic and Latino Americans>Hispanic 67 31 2 9! colspan=5|ReligionProtestantism>Protestant 45 54 1 54Catholic Church in the United States>Catholic 54 45 1 27American Jews>Jewish 78 21 1 2| Other 73 22 5 6Irreligion>None 75 23 2 12! colspan=5|Religious service attendance| More than weekly 43 55 2 12| Weekly 43 55 2 27| Monthly 53 46 1 15| A few times a year 59 39 2 28| Never 67 30 3 16! colspan=5|White evangelical or born-again Christian?Christian right>White evangelical or born-again Christian 24 74 2 26| Everyone else 62 36 2 74! colspan=5|Age| 18–24 years old 66 32 2 10| 25–29 years old 66 31 3 8| 30–39 years old 54 44 2 18| 40–49 years old 49 49 2 21| 50–64 years old 50 49 1 27| 65 and older 45 53 2 16! colspan=5|Age by race| Whites 18–29 years old 54 44 2 11| Whites 30–44 years old 41 57 2 20| Whites 45–64 years old 42 56 2 30| Whites 65 and older 40 58 2 13| Blacks 18–29 years old 95 4 1 3| Blacks 30–44 years old 96 4 n/a 4| Blacks 45–64 years old 96 3 1 4| Blacks 65 and older 94 6 n/a 1| Latinos 18–29 years old 76 19 5 3| Latinos 30–44 years old 63 36 1 3| Latinos 45–64 years old 58 40 2 2| Latinos 65 and older 68 30 2 1| Others 64 33 3 5! colspan=5|First time voter?| First time voter 69 30 1 11| Everyone else 50 48 2 89! colspan=5|Sexual orientationLGBT>Gay, lesbian, or bisexual 70 27 3 4Heterosexuality>Heterosexual 53 45 2 96! colspan=5|EducationSecondary education in the United States>high school graduate 63 35 2 4| High school graduate 52 46 2 20Higher education in the United States>college education 51 47 2 31| College graduate 50 48 2 28| Postgraduate education 58 40 2 17! colspan=5|Education by race/ethnicity| White college graduates 47 51 2 35| White no college degree 40 58 2 39| Non-white college graduates 75 22 3 9| Non-white no college degree 83 16 1 16! colspan=5|Family income| Under $15,000 73 25 2 6| $15,000–30,000 60 37 3 12| $30,000–50,000 55 43 2 19| $50,000–75,000 48 49 3 21| $75,000–100,000 51 48 1 15| $100,000–150,000 48 51 1 14| $150,000–200,000 48 50 1 6| Over $200,000 52 46 2 6! colspan=5|Union householdsLabor unions in the United States>Union 59 39 2 21| Non-union 51 47 2 79! colspan=5|Military serviceVeteran#United States>Veterans 44 54 2 15| Non-veterans 54 44 2 85! colspan=5|RegionNortheastern United States>Northeast 59 40 1 21Midwestern United States>Midwest 54 44 2 24Southern United States>South 45 54 1 32Western United States>West 57 40 3 23! colspan=5|Community size| Urban 63 35 2 30| Suburban 50 48 2 49| Rural 45 53 2 21Source: Exit polls conducted by Edison Research of Somerville, New Jersey, for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News.NEWS,weblink National Exit Poll, CNN, January 28, 2013,


Obama, having a Caucasian mother and Kenyan father of the Luo ethnic group,NEWS, Derek, Kilner, Kenyans Welcome Obama's Democratic Party Nomination, June 4, 2008,weblinkweblink dead, July 26, 2010, VOA News, June 17, 2008, became the first African American as well as the first bi-racial president.NEWS,weblink White Americans play major role in electing the first black president, Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2008, Wallsten, Peter, July 16, 2009, Although he may have been the first black president to win an election, Obama was not the first African American to run for president. Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, Lenora Fulani, Carol Moseley Braun, Alan Keyes, and Al Sharpton all at some point were in the process for presidential nomination.WEB,weblink African-Americans Who Ran for President,, 2016-03-22, The Obama-Biden ticket was also the first winning ticket in American history on which neither candidate was a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant; Biden is Roman Catholic and is the first Roman Catholic to be elected Vice President; all other tickets with Catholic vice presidential candidates had been defeated (1964, 1972, 1984).WEB,weblink,, November 7, 2008, July 16, 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink August 5, 2009, mdy-all, Obama and Biden were the first President and Vice President elected from the Senate since 1960 (John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson) (in the previous election cycle (2004) Democrats also nominated two sitting Senators, John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, but they lost to incumbents Bush and Cheney), Obama became the first Northern Democratic president since Kennedy, and the Obama-Biden ticket was the first winning Democratic ticket to feature two Northerners since 1940 (Franklin D. Roosevelt/Henry A. Wallace). Also, Obama became the first Democratic candidate to win a majority of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976, the first to win a majority of both votes and states since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and the first Northern Democrat to win a majority of both votes and states since Franklin Roosevelt in 1944. This was the first presidential election since 1952 in which neither of the major party candidates was either the incumbent President or Vice-President.File:Election-state-04-08.png|thumb|upright=1.15|Swing by state. States are listed by (increasing) percentage of Democratic votes, showing how the share of the vote changed between (2004 United States presidential election|2004]] and 2008. Excluding the candidates' home states, only five states trended more Republican: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.)Prior to the election, commentators discussed whether Senator Obama would be able to redraw the electoral map by winning states that had been voting for Republican candidates in recent decades.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, May 14, 2008, Obama Over the Top: How New Voters Could Redraw The Electoral Map, Progress Illinois, January 30, 2009, In many ways, he was successful. He won every region of the country by double digits except the South, which John McCain won by nine percent. Obama won Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia in the South (region as defined by the US Census Bureau). McCain won most of the Deep South, where white voters have supported Republican candidates by large margins in the last few decades.Exit Polls, The New York Times, November 5, 2008. Obama also defied political bellwethers, becoming the first person to win the presidency while losing Missouri since 1956 (as well as the first Democrat ever to do so) and while losing Kentucky and Tennessee since 1960. He was the first Democrat to win without Arkansas since that state joined the Union in 1836 and the first Democrat to win the presidency without winning West Virginia since 1916. Because one West Virginia elector voted for the Democrat in 1916, Obama was the first Democrat to win without any electors from the state since its founding in 1863. Indiana and Virginia voted for the Democratic nominee for the first time since 1964. Although Obama did not win other normally Republican states such as Georgia and Montana (which were won by Bill Clinton in 1992), he nonetheless was competitive in both. He lost Montana by just under 3% and Georgia by slightly more than 5%. Also notably, Barack Obama won all of the 2004 swing states (states that either Kerry or Bush won by less than 5%) by a margin of 8.5 percent or more except for Ohio, which the Democrat carried by 4.5 percent.Obama was the first presidential candidate to split the electoral votes from Nebraska. Together with Maine, which would not split its votes until 2016, Nebraska is one of two states that split their electoral votes, two going to the statewide popular vote winner and the rest going to the winner of each respective congressional district (Nebraska has three, and Maine has two). Obama won the electoral vote from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district, which contains the city of Omaha. Nebraska's other four electoral votes went to John McCain.{{as of|2016}}, this election is the last time that Indiana, Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District and North Carolina voted Democratic, and (as of 2019) that one of the nominees passed away following the election.This election exhibited the continuation of some of the polarization trends evident in the 2000 and 2004 elections.WEB, Cost, Jay,weblink HorseRaceBlog—Electoral Polarization Continues Under Obama, RealClearPolitics, November 20, 2008, January 24, 2009, McCain won whites 55–43 percent, while Obama won blacks 95–4 percent,WEB, Kuhn, David Paul,weblink Exit polls: How Obama won, Politico, November 5, 2008, November 8, 2011, Hispanics 67–31 percent, and Asians 62–35 percent. Voters aged 18–29 voted for Obama by 66–32 percent while elderly voters backed McCain 53–45 percent.NEWS,weblink Exit poll, CNN, January 30, 2009, The 25-year age gap between McCain and Obama was the widest in U.S. presidential election history among the top two candidates.NEWS,weblink Obama vs. McCain would be dream match, The New York Times, February 3, 2008, Hunt, Albert R.,

See also

Opinion polling





Further reading

  • Plouffe, David. The Audacity to Win. 2009
  • Balz, Dan, and Haynes Johnson. The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election (2009), by leading reporters with inside information
  • Crotty, William. "Policy and Politics: The Bush Administration and the 2008 Presidential Election," Polity, July 2009, Vol. 41 Issue 3, pp 282–311 online
  • Curtis, Mark. Age of Obama: A Reporter's Journey With Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President in 2008 (2009)
  • Gidlow, Liette. Obama, Clinton, Palin: Making History in Election 2000 (2012)
  • Nelson, Michael. The Elections of 2008 (2009), factual summary except and text search
  • Sussman, Glen. "Choosing a New Direction: The Presidential Election of 2008," White House Studies, 2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, pp 1–20
  • Wolffe, Richard. Renegade: The Making of a President (2010) excerpt and text search, narrative


  • Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich, and David W. Rohde. Change and Continuity in the 2008 Elections (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Corwin E. Smidt and others. The Disappearing God Gap? Religion in the 2008 Presidential Election (Oxford University Press; 2010) 278 pages. Finds that the gap between church-attending traditionalists and other voters is not closing, as has been claimed, but is changing in significant ways; draws on survey data from voters who were interviewed in the spring of 2008 and then again after the election.
  • Crespino, Joseph. "The U.S. South and the 2008 Election," Southern Spaces (2008) online
  • Jessee, Stephen A. "Voter Ideology and Candidate Positioning in the 2008 Presidential Election," American Politics Research, March 2010, Vol. 38 Issue 2, pp 195–210
  • Kenski, Kate, Bruce W. Hardy, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson. The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election (Oxford University Press; 2010) 378 pages. Draws on interviews with key campaign advisors as well as the National Annenberg Election Survey. excerpt and text search
  • Sabato, Larry. The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House (2009)
  • Stempel III, Guido H. and Thomas K. Hargrove, eds. The 21st-Century Voter: Who Votes, How They Vote, and Why They Vote (2 vol. 2015).
  • Todd, Chuck, and Sheldon Gawiser. How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election (2009) excerpt and text search

External links

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