New Jersey was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama with a 15.53% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 17 news organizations considered this a state Obama would win, or otherwise considered as a safe blue state. No fundraising money was spent by either campaign, as the state has trended towards the Democratic Party in recent years. A highly affluent and predominantly urban state with an ethnically diverse population, New Jersey has become a reliably blue state, and this was evident again when Democrat Barack Obama comfortably won the state's 15 electoral votes with 57.14% of the vote.
Pre-election polling was tight early on. However since October 12, Obama won each poll with a double digit margin of victory and with at least 52%. McCain didn't reach over 42% in that stretch. The final 3 polls found Obama leading with 55% to 39%.
New Jersey was once one of the most reliably Republican states in the Northeast. From 1948 to 1988, it voted Republican in all but two elections: John F. Kennedy in his narrow victory over Richard Nixon in 1960, and Lyndon Johnson's 44-state landslide of 1964. However, the brand of Republicanism practiced in New Jersey has historically been a moderate one. As the national party tilted more to the right, the state's voters became more friendly to Democrats. The state narrowly went for Bill Clinton in 1992 and has voted Democratic in every election since then. In all but one election since 1996, the Democrats have carried it by double digits. While Republicans remain competitive at the state and local level, at the presidential level New Jersey is now reckoned as part of the solid bloc of blue states in the Northeast.
Democrats have several structural advantages in New Jersey during presidential elections. The northeastern portion, including Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth and Paterson, contains more than half the state's population and is heavily Democratic. The southwestern portion, including Camden and Cherry Hill, is also heavily Democratic. These regions have a total of over two million voters between them, making it extremely difficult for a Republican to carry the state. For instance, in 2004 George W. Bush held John Kerry to only a seven-point margin of victory, but was completely shut out in the northeast and southwest. Additionally, the state is split almost down the middle between the largest and fourth-largest markets in the country, New York City and Philadelphia. As a result, statewide races often feature some of the most expensive advertising budgets in the country.
In 2008, unlike in 2004, New Jersey was called for Obama almost as soon as the polls closed. Obama dominated the urban areas of the state, winning Essex County by over 50%, Hudson County by 47%, Camden and Mercer counties by 35%. Obama also won Somerset County, which had voted Republican in every election from 1968 to 2004. Most of the southern portion of the state voted Democratic.
McCain won most of Northwestern New Jersey, winning in Republican strongholds like Morris County and Sussex County (which McCain won by 21%). McCain also won most of the Jersey Shore counties.
Technically the voters of NJ cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. NJ is allocated 15 electors because it has 13 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 15 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 15 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. 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 15 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden: