2008 United States presidential election

2008 United States presidential election

← 2004 November 4, 2008 2012 →

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Opinion polls
Turnout58.2%[1] Increase 1.5 pp
  Obama portrait crop.jpg John McCain 2009 Official.jpg
Nominee Barack Obama John McCain
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Illinois Arizona
Running mate Joe Biden Sarah Palin
Electoral vote 365 173
States carried 28 + DC + NE-02 22
Popular vote 69,498,516 59,948,323
Percentage 52.9% 45.7%

2008 United States presidential election in California2008 United States presidential election in Oregon2008 United States presidential election in Washington (state)2008 United States presidential election in Idaho2008 United States presidential election in Nevada2008 United States presidential election in Utah2008 United States presidential election in Arizona2008 United States presidential election in Montana2008 United States presidential election in Wyoming2008 United States presidential election in Colorado2008 United States presidential election in New Mexico2008 United States presidential election in North Dakota2008 United States presidential election in South Dakota2008 United States presidential election in Nebraska2008 United States presidential election in Kansas2008 United States presidential election in Oklahoma2008 United States presidential election in Texas2008 United States presidential election in Minnesota2008 United States presidential election in Iowa2008 United States presidential election in Missouri2008 United States presidential election in Arkansas2008 United States presidential election in Louisiana2008 United States presidential election in Wisconsin2008 United States presidential election in Illinois2008 United States presidential election in Michigan2008 United States presidential election in Indiana2008 United States presidential election in Ohio2008 United States presidential election in Kentucky2008 United States presidential election in Tennessee2008 United States presidential election in Mississippi2008 United States presidential election in Alabama2008 United States presidential election in Georgia2008 United States presidential election in Florida2008 United States presidential election in South Carolina2008 United States presidential election in North Carolina2008 United States presidential election in Virginia2008 United States presidential election in West Virginia2008 United States presidential election in the District of Columbia2008 United States presidential election in Maryland2008 United States presidential election in Delaware2008 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania2008 United States presidential election in New Jersey2008 United States presidential election in New York2008 United States presidential election in Connecticut2008 United States presidential election in Rhode Island2008 United States presidential election in Vermont2008 United States presidential election in New Hampshire2008 United States presidential election in Maine2008 United States presidential election in Massachusetts2008 United States presidential election in Hawaii2008 United States presidential election in Alaska2008 United States presidential election in the District of Columbia2008 United States presidential election in Maryland2008 United States presidential election in Delaware2008 United States presidential election in New Jersey2008 United States presidential election in Connecticut2008 United States presidential election in Rhode Island2008 United States presidential election in Massachusetts2008 United States presidential election in Vermont2008 United States presidential election in New HampshireElectoralCollege2008.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Obama/Biden and red denotes those won by McCain/Palin. Numbers indicate electoral votes cast by each state and the District of Columbia.

President before election

George W. Bush
Republican

Elected President

Barack Obama
Democratic

The 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 U.S. Senator from Illinois, and Joe Biden, the senior U.S. 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 to be elected to the presidency, as well as being only the third sitting United States Senator elected president, joining Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy. Meanwhile, Biden became the first senator running mate of a senator elected president since Lyndon B. Johnson (who was Kennedy's running mate) in the 1960 election.

Incumbent Republican President George W. Bush was ineligible to pursue a third term due to the term limits established by the 22nd Amendment. McCain secured the Republican nomination by March 2008, defeating former governors Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and other challengers. The Democratic primaries were marked by a sharp contest between Obama and the initial front-runner, former First Lady and Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton's victory in the New Hampshire primary made her the first woman to win a major party's presidential primary.[nb 1] After a long primary season, Obama secured 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.[4]

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 and was the first Democrat to win an outright majority of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Obama's total count of 69.5 million votes stood as the largest tally ever won by a presidential candidate until 2020, when this was surpassed by both major party candidates in a high-turnout election. Obama flipped nine states that had voted Republican in 2004: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, as well as Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.

  1. ^ "Official 2008 Presidential General Election Results" (PDF). fec.gov. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Ronald (June 7, 1972). "Dakotan Beats Humphrey By a Big Margin in Jersey" (PDF). The New York Times. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Sanford Is Withdrawing From N.J." The Times-News. Hendersonville, North Carolina. Associated Press. May 13, 1972. p. 12.
  4. ^ Halloran, Liz (September 24, 2008). "McCain Suspends Campaign, Shocks Republicans". USNews. Archived from the original on October 12, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2020.


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