United States Presidential Election in Virginia, 2008
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United States Presidential Election in Virginia, 2008
United States presidential election in Virginia, 2008

← 2004 November 4, 2008 2012 →
Turnout 74.0% (of registered voters)[1]

  Obama portrait crop.jpg John McCain official portrait 2009 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Barack Obama John McCain
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Illinois Arizona
Running mate Joe Biden Sarah Palin
Electoral vote 13 0
Popular vote 1,959,532 1,725,005
Percentage 52.63% 46.33%

Virginia presidential election results 2008.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush
Republican

Elected President

Barack Obama
Democratic

The 2008 United States presidential election in Virginia took place on November 4, 2008, which was part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Voters chose 13 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Virginia was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama by a 6.3% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 17 news organizations considered this a state Obama would win, or otherwise considered as a blue state, despite the fact that initially Virginia was a swing state that both campaigns targeted heavily in 2008 and that Virginia had been one of the most reliable red states in the nation since 1952. The financial meltdown, the changing demographics, and the population increases in voter rich Northern Virginia gave Obama the edge as he was projected the winner in the Old Dominion State. It was the first time in over 40 years that Virginia voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since Lyndon B. Johnson's victory in 1964.

This also marked the first presidential election since 1924 in which Virginia voted for the Democratic presidential candidate whilst neighbouring West Virginia voted for the Republican presidential candidate.

Primaries

Campaign

Virginia was one of the first Southern states to break away from its traditional Democratic roots. It voted for Dwight Eisenhower by a convincing margin in 1952, and had voted for every Republican nominee since then save for Johnson's massive landslide in 1964.

However, the Democrats have made strong gains in the past years with winning two gubernatorial races in a row, regaining control of the Virginia Senate, and electing Democrat Jim Webb to the U.S. Senate in the Democratic wave of the 2006 midterms over incumbent Republican George Allen. Democrats have been able to make such gains in Virginia due in large part to the ever-expanding Northern Virginia, particularly the suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C. Historically, this area had been strongly Republican. However, in recent years it has been dominated by white liberals who tend to vote Democratic.[2] It was, ultimately, this rapid demographic change that provided a huge new influx of Democratic voters to Virginia.[3]

Both presidential campaigns and the mainstream media treated Virginia as a swing state for most of the campaign. Obama campaigned extensively in Virginia and counted on the booming northern parts of the state for a Democratic victory. Victory for McCain would have been extremely difficult without Virginia; he would have had to win every swing state as well as at least one Democratic-leaning state.

Predictions

There were 17 news organizations who made state-by-state predictions of the election. Here are their last predictions before election day:

  1. D.C. Political Report: Democrat[4]
  2. Cook Political Report: Leaning Democrat[5]
  3. Takeaway: Leaning Obama[6]
  4. Election Projection: Leaning Obama[7]
  5. Electoral-vote.com: Leaning Democrat[8]
  6. Washington Post: Leaning Obama[9]
  7. Politico: Leaning Obama[10]
  8. Real Clear Politics: Leaning Obama[11]
  9. FiveThirtyEight.com: Leaning Obama[9]
  10. CQ Politics: Leaning Democrat[12]
  11. New York Times: Leaning Democrat[13]
  12. CNN: Leaning Democrat[14]
  13. NPR: Leaning Obama[9]
  14. MSNBC: Leaning Obama[9]
  15. Fox News: Democrat[15]
  16. Associated Press: Democrat[16]
  17. Rasmussen Reports: Leaning Democrat[17]

Polling

After McCain clinched the Republican Party nomination in early March, he took a wide lead in polls against Obama, averaging almost 50%. But through the summer, polling was dead even. After the Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, Obama took a wide lead in the polls. In October, Obama won every single poll taken, and reached over 50% in most of them. The final three polls averaged Obama leading 52% to 46%.[18][19]

Fundraising

Obama raised $17,035,784. McCain raised $16,130,194.[20]

Spending and visits

Obama spent over $26 million to McCain spending just $14 million.[21] The Obama-Biden ticket visited the state 19 times compared to just 10 times for McCain-Palin.[22]

Analysis

Voters wait in queue at a polling station on the campus of George Mason University

On Election Day, early returns showed McCain ahead.[23] This was due in large part to the fact that many of the rural areas began to report first. However, Obama swamped McCain by scoring a near-sweep in Northern Virginia, which reported its returns last.

Obama did extremely well throughout the most populous regions of the state. Northern Virginia overwhelmingly supported Obama.[24]Fairfax County and Arlington counties, traditionally the most Democratic counties in the region, gave Obama over 60% of the vote. Moreover, Loudoun and Prince William counties, normally the more conservative counties in the region, voted Democratic for the first time since LBJ's 1964 landslide.

The two other major metropolitan areas in the eastern part of the state, Richmond and Hampton Roads, are somewhat less Democratic than Northern Virginia. In both areas, Obama improved significantly on John Kerry's performance.[24] While Obama easily won Richmond itself (which is 57% African American), he also made significant inroads into Richmond's traditionally heavily Republican suburbs. He carried Henrico County with 57 percent of the vote; that county last supported a Democrat with Harry S. Truman in 1948.[25] In Chesterfield County, Obama did almost 20 points better than Kerry.[26] Both counties have historically been strongly Republican, although Henrico is something of a swing county at state-level elections.

Obama also did very well in Hampton Roads. The four Democratic-leaning cities along the harbor - Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth - gave him margins exceeding 60%. Obama also split the Republican-leaning cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach; he barely won the former and barely lost the latter. Obama's strong performance in the area likely contributed to Democrat Glenn Nye unseating two-term Republican incumbent Thelma Drake in the 2nd Congressional District, a heavy military district which includes all of Virginia Beach and large portions of Norfolk and Hampton.

Obama also significantly outperformed Kerry in Western Virginia, an area where the national Democratic Party has historically not done well. Danville and Roanoke, usually the most Democratic cities in this region, gave him moderate support. He also had a major breakthrough in the Shenandoah Valley, historically one of the most Republican areas of the state. He won Harrisonburg, the largest city in the region, with a resounding 57 percent of the vote. He also won the second-largest city in the area, Staunton, albeit more narrowly. The Shenandoah Valley had been among the first regions of the state to turn Republican. The old Byrd Democrats in this region started splitting their tickets as early as the 1930s, and some counties in this region haven't supported a Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Several rural counties in Eastern Virginia with high African-American populations voted for Obama as well.

In contrast to Obama, McCain did well throughout rural Virginia.[26] He won the vast majority of its counties. In the part of Virginia protruding out west, Obama ran roughly even with Kerry, even though he comfortably won the election and Kerry lost. This area, save for one county and a few small towns, uniformly supported McCain. In addition, a number of unionized, Appalachian counties located next to Kentucky voted Republican; they had cast strong ballots for Bill Clinton. This was not surprising as this part of Virginia is a part of Appalachia, a region in which Obama consistently struggled during the course of the Democratic primary.

The Republican base in Virginia consists of the state's traditional Republican heartland in the Blue Ridge Mountains, social conservatives in the Shenandoah Valley and suburbanites in the east.[27] McCain closely matched George W. Bush's numbers among the first group and only did slightly worse than Bush amongst the second group. However, in 2008, suburbanites in Northern Virginia and in the Richmond/Hampton Roads areas abandoned the Republican Party in droves, and it was simply impossible for McCain to win the state without their support.

During the same election, former Democratic Governor Mark Warner solidly defeated former Governor (and his predecessor) Republican Jim Gilmore by a two-to-one margin for the open U.S. Senate seat vacated by incumbent Republican John Warner (no relation to Mark Warner). Warner received 65.03% of the vote while Gilmore took in 33.73%. Warner won all but five counties in the state. Democrats also picked up three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the state level, Democrats picked up one seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Despite Obama's victory, the fact remains that Virginia's margin was 0.97% more Republican than the national average. As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which King and Queen County, Virginia voted for the Democratic candidate.

Results

United States presidential election in Virginia, 2008[28]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 1,959,532 52.63% 13
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 1,725,005 46.33% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 11,483 0.31% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 11,067 0.30% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin Darrell Castle 7,474 0.20% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 2,344 0.06% 0
Write-ins Write-ins 6,355 0.17% 0
Totals 3,723,260 100.00% 13
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 65.1%

Results breakdown

By county/city

County/City Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Total
Accomack County 49.27% 7,607 50.73% 7,833 15,440
Albemarle County 59.15% 29,792 40.85% 20,576 50,368
Alleghany County 48.89% 3,553 51.11% 3,715 7,268
Amelia County 38.53% 2,488 61.47% 3,970 6,458
Amherst County 41.84% 6,094 58.16% 8,470 14,564
Appomattox County 35.01% 2,641 64.99% 4,903 7,544
Arlington County 72.56% 78,994 27.44% 29,876 108,870
Augusta County 29.82% 9,825 70.18% 23,120 32,945
Bath County 43.60% 1,043 56.40% 1,349 2,392
Bedford County 31.09% 11,017 68.91% 24,420 35,437
Bland County 29.84% 864 70.16% 2,031 2,895
Botetourt County 33.17% 5,693 66.83% 11,471 17,164
Brunswick County 63.35% 4,973 36.65% 2,877 7,850
Buchanan County 47.22% 4,063 52.78% 4,541 8,604
Buckingham County 50.44% 3,489 49.56% 3,428 6,917
Campbell County 31.69% 8,091 68.31% 17,444 25,535
Caroline County 56.05% 7,163 43.95% 5,617 12,780
Carroll County 33.41% 4,108 66.59% 8,187 12,295
Charles City County 68.78% 2,838 31.22% 1,288 4,126
Charlotte County 44.51% 2,705 55.49% 3,372 6,077
Chesterfield County 46.23% 74,310 53.77% 86,413 160,723
Clarke County 47.38% 3,457 52.62% 3,840 7,297
Craig County 34.07% 876 65.93% 1,695 2,571
Culpeper County 45.11% 8,802 54.89% 10,711 19,513
Cumberland County 48.26% 2,255 51.74% 2,418 4,673
Dickenson County 49.65% 3,278 50.35% 3,324 6,602
Dinwiddie County 48.90% 6,246 51.10% 6,526 12,772
Essex County 55.22% 2,934 44.78% 2,379 5,313
Fairfax County 60.69% 310,359 39.31% 200,994 511,353
Fauquier County 43.19% 14,616 56.81% 19,227 33,843
Floyd County 39.81% 2,937 60.19% 4,441 7,378
Fluvanna County 49.07% 6,185 50.93% 6,420 12,605
Franklin County 38.42% 9,618 61.58% 15,414 25,032
Frederick County 39.15% 12,961 60.85% 20,149 33,110
Giles County 41.70% 3,192 58.30% 4,462 7,654
Gloucester County 36.39% 6,916 63.61% 12,089 19,005
Goochland County 38.64% 4,813 61.36% 7,643 12,456
Grayson County 35.33% 2,480 64.67% 4,540 7,020
Greene County 38.93% 3,174 61.07% 4,980 8,154
Greensville County 64.36% 3,122 35.64% 1,729 4,851
Halifax County 48.58% 8,126 51.42% 8,600 16,726
Hanover County 33.06% 18,447 66.94% 37,344 55,791
Henrico County 56.16% 86,323 43.84% 67,381 153,704
Henry County 44.69% 11,118 55.31% 13,758 24,876
Highland County 38.82% 590 61.18% 930 1,520
Isle of Wight County 43.23% 8,573 56.77% 11,258 19,831
James City County 45.35% 17,352 54.65% 20,912 38,264
King and Queen County 52.11% 1,918 47.89% 1,763 3,681
King George County 43.17% 4,473 56.83% 5,888 10,361
King William County 40.24% 3,344 59.76% 4,966 8,310
Lancaster County 47.01% 3,235 52.99% 3,647 6,882
Lee County 35.59% 3,219 64.41% 5,825 9,044
Loudoun County 54.16% 74,845 45.84% 63,336 138,181
Louisa County 46.03% 6,978 53.97% 8,182 15,160
Lunenburg County 48.24% 2,703 51.76% 2,900 5,603
Madison County 43.23% 2,862 56.77% 3,758 6,620
Mathews County 35.99% 1,943 64.01% 3,456 5,399
Mecklenburg County 47.69% 7,127 52.31% 7,817 14,944
Middlesex County 40.28% 2,391 59.72% 3,545 5,936
Montgomery County 52.50% 21,031 47.50% 19,028 40,059
Nelson County 54.63% 4,391 45.37% 3,647 8,038
New Kent County 35.36% 3,493 64.64% 6,385 9,878
Northampton County 58.34% 3,800 41.66% 2,713 6,513
Northumberland County 45.04% 3,312 54.96% 4,041 7,353
Nottoway County 49.38% 3,413 50.62% 3,499 6,912
Orange County 45.52% 7,107 54.48% 8,506 15,613
Page County 41.21% 4,235 58.79% 6,041 10,276
Patrick County 34.40% 2,879 65.60% 5,491 8,370
Pittsylvania County 37.87% 11,415 62.13% 18,730 30,145
Powhatan County 29.58% 4,237 70.42% 10,088 14,325
Prince Edward County 55.00% 5,101 45.00% 4,174 9,275
Prince George County 44.89% 7,130 55.11% 8,752 15,882
Prince William County 58.01% 93,435 41.99% 67,621 161,056
Pulaski County 40.05% 5,918 59.95% 8,857 14,775
Rappahannock County 48.59% 2,105 51.41% 2,227 4,332
Richmond County 43.61% 1,618 56.39% 2,092 3,710
Roanoke County 39.32% 19,812 60.68% 30,571 50,383
Rockbridge County 43.13% 4,347 56.87% 5,732 10,079
Rockingham County 31.75% 10,453 68.25% 22,468 32,921
Russell County 43.56% 4,931 56.44% 6,389 11,320
Scott County 28.08% 2,725 71.92% 6,980 9,705
Shenandoah County 36.54% 6,912 63.46% 12,005 18,917
Smyth County 35.16% 4,239 64.84% 7,817 12,056
Southampton County 48.99% 4,402 51.01% 4,583 8,985
Spotsylvania County 46.53% 24,897 53.47% 28,610 53,507
Stafford County 46.81% 25,716 53.19% 29,221 54,937
Surry County 61.23% 2,626 38.77% 1,663 4,289
Sussex County 61.97% 3,301 38.03% 2,026 5,327
Tazewell County 33.32% 5,596 66.68% 11,201 16,797
Warren County 44.07% 6,997 55.93% 8,879 15,876
Washington County 33.40% 8,063 66.60% 16,077 24,140
Westmoreland County 55.17% 4,577 44.83% 3,719 8,296
Wise County 35.91% 4,995 64.09% 8,914 13,909
Wythe County 33.35% 4,107 66.65% 8,207 12,314
York County 40.86% 13,700 59.14% 19,833 33,533
Alexandria 72.46% 50,473 27.54% 19,181 69,654
Bedford 44.66% 1,208 55.34% 1,497 2,705
Bristol 36.79% 2,665 63.21% 4,579 7,244
Buena Vista 46.36% 1,108 53.64% 1,282 2,390
Charlottesville 79.39% 15,705 20.61% 4,078 19,783
Chesapeake 50.64% 53,994 49.36% 52,625 106,619
Colonial Heights 29.37% 2,562 70.63% 6,161 8,723
Covington 56.11% 1,304 43.89% 1,020 2,324
Danville 59.63% 12,352 40.37% 8,361 20,713
Emporia 65.49% 1,702 34.51% 897 2,599
Fairfax 58.36% 6,575 41.64% 4,691 11,266
Falls Church 70.44% 4,695 29.56% 1,970 6,665
Franklin 64.14% 2,819 35.86% 1,576 4,395
Fredericksburg 64.33% 6,155 35.67% 3,413 9,568
Galax 44.41% 1,052 55.59% 1,317 2,369
Hampton 69.62% 46,917 30.38% 20,476 67,393
Harrisonburg 58.27% 8,444 41.73% 6,048 14,492
Hopewell 56.02% 5,285 43.98% 4,149 9,434
Lexington 62.80% 1,543 37.20% 914 2,457
Lynchburg 47.98% 16,269 52.02% 17,638 33,907
Manassas 55.72% 7,518 44.28% 5,975 13,493
Manassas Park 60.12% 2,463 39.88% 1,634 4,097
Martinsville 64.17% 4,139 35.83% 2,311 6,450
Newport News 64.45% 51,972 35.55% 28,667 80,639
Norfolk 71.68% 62,819 28.32% 24,814 87,633
Norton 49.97% 743 50.03% 744 1,487
Petersburg 89.69% 13,774 10.31% 1,583 15,357
Poquoson 25.05% 1,748 74.95% 5,229 6,977
Portsmouth 69.80% 32,327 30.20% 13,984 46,311
Radford 54.79% 2,930 45.21% 2,418 5,348
Richmond 79.79% 73,623 20.21% 18,649 92,272
Roanoke 61.83% 24,934 38.17% 15,394 40,328
Salem 42.15% 5,164 57.85% 7,088 12,252
Staunton 51.10% 5,569 48.90% 5,330 10,899
Suffolk 56.67% 22,446 43.33% 17,165 39,611
Virginia Beach 49.64% 98,885 50.36% 100,319 199,204
Waynesboro 44.79% 3,906 55.21% 4,815 8,721
Williamsburg 64.78% 4,328 35.22% 2,353 6,681
Winchester 52.72% 5,268 47.28% 4,725 9,993

Source: [1]

By congressional district

Barack Obama carried six of the state's 11 congressional districts, including four districts held by Republicans at the time of the election. John McCain carried five districts, one of which was held by Democrats on election day.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 51.35% 47.67% Jo Ann Davis (110th Congress)
Robert J. Wittman (111th Congress)
2nd 48.48% 50.45% Thelma Drake (110th Congress)
Glenn Nye (111th Congress)
3rd 23.74% 75.52% Robert C. Scott
4th 48.80% 50.33% Randy Forbes
5th 50.59% 48.29% Virgil Goode (110th Congress)
Tom Perriello (111th Congress)
6th 56.93% 41.85% Bob Goodlatte
7th 53.16% 45.89% Eric Cantor
8th 29.65% 69.28% Jim Moran
9th 58.71% 39.60% Rick Boucher
10th 46.06% 52.90% Frank Wolf
11th 42.06% 57.01% Thomas M. Davis (110th Congress)
Gerry Connolly (111th Congress)

Electors

Technically the voters of Virginia cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Virginia is allocated 13 electors because it has 11 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 13 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded all 13 electoral votes. Their chosen electors then vote for president and vice president. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them.[29] An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.

The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 15, 2008, to cast their votes for president and vice president. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.

The following were the members of the Electoral College from the state. All 13 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:[30]

  1. Christia Rey
  2. Sandra Brandt
  3. Betty Squire
  4. Susan Johnston Rowland
  5. Marc Finney
  6. Dorothy Blackwell
  7. James Harold Allen Boyd
  8. Marian Van Landingham
  9. Robert Edgar Childress
  10. Rolland Winter
  11. Janet Carver
  12. Michael Jon
  13. Sophie Ann Salley

References

  1. ^ "Registration/Turnout Statistics". Virginia Department of Elections. 
  2. ^ "Back to the Future - The American Prospect". archive.org. 12 July 2007. 
  3. ^ Continetti, Matthew (October 2, 2006). "George Allen Monkeys Around". The Weekly Standard. 12 (03). Retrieved . 
  4. ^ "D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries." www.dcpoliticalreport.com. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ Adnaan (2008-09-20). "Track the Electoral College vote predictions". The Takeaway. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved . 
  7. ^ "Election Projection: 2008 Elections - Polls, Projections, Results". www.electionprojection.com. 
  8. ^ "Electoral-vote.com: President, Senate, House Updated Daily". electoral-vote.com. 
  9. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  10. ^ "POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map - POLITICO.com". www.politico.com. 
  11. ^ http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/?map=5
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Electoral Map: Key States". The New York Times. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. 2008-10-31. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ "Winning The Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27. 
  16. ^ "Associated Press News". AP News. 
  17. ^ Reports, Rasmussen. "Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports®". www.rasmussenreports.com. 
  18. ^ "2008 - Virginia: McCain vs. Obama - RealClearPolitics". www.realclearpolitics.com. 
  19. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/POLLS/PRESIDENT/2008/pollsa.php?fips=51
  20. ^ http://www.fec.gov/DisclosureSearch/MapAppState.do?stateName=VA&cand_id=P00000001
  21. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved . 
  22. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved . 
  23. ^ "Election 2008: Time lapse of U.S. counties". USA Today. 4 July 2008. Retrieved . 
  24. ^ a b Leip, David. "2008 Presidential General Election Results". David Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved . 
  25. ^ Todd, Chuck and Gawiser, Sheldon. How Barack Obama Won. New York City: Vintage, 2009.
  26. ^ a b "Election Results 2008". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2004. Retrieved . 
  27. ^ Trende, Sean (19 February 2009). "Virginia Governor's Preview". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved . The question in Virginia is always whether the Republican Party can hold together its somewhat unwieldy three-legged coalition of historically Republican Virginians in the mountainous Appalachian western portion of the state, social conservatives in the rural areas east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and suburbanites in Northern Virginia and in the Richmond/Hampton Roads areas. Why this coalition is having troubles recently could fill a book. For our purposes, we will oversimplify somewhat and observe the following. 
  28. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2008election.pdf
  29. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved . 
  30. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011. 

See also


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

United_States_presidential_election_in_Virginia,_2008
 



 

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