United States presidential election in Virginia, 2008

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United States presidential election in Virginia, 2008
Virginia
2004 ←
November 4, 2008 → 2012

  Obama portrait crop.jpg John McCain official portrait with alternative background.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 by Shaded County, 2008.svg

County Results
  Obama—80-90%
  Obama—70-80%
  Obama—60-70%
  Obama—50-60%
  Obama—<50%
  McCain—<50%
  McCain—50-60%
  McCain—60-70%
  McCain—70-80%

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 was once one of the most reliable red states in the nation. 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.

Primaries[edit]

Campaign[edit]

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 2006 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.[1] It was, ultimately, this rapid demographic change that provided a huge new influx of Democratic voters to Virginia.[2]

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[edit]

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

Polling[edit]

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%.[17][18]

Fundraising[edit]

Obama raised $17,035,784. McCain raised $16,130,194.[19]

Spending and visits[edit]

Obama spent over $26 million to McCain spending just $14 million.[20] The Obama-Biden ticket visited the state 19 times compared to just 10 times for McCain-Palin.[21]

Analysis[edit]

On Election Day, early returns showed McCain ahead.[22] 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.[23] 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.[23] 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.[24] In Chesterfield County, Obama did almost 20 points better than Kerry.[25] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.

Results[edit]

United States presidential election in Virginia, 2008[27]
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[edit]

By county/city[edit]

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain#
Accomack 48.69% 7,607 50.13% 7,833
Albemarle 58.43% 29,792 40.35% 20,576
Alexandria (city) 71.73% 50,473 27.25% 19,181
Alleghany 48.21% 3,553 50.41% 3,715
Amelia 38.1% 2,488 60.8% 3,970
Amherst 41.45% 6,094 57.61% 8,470
Appomattox 34.61% 2,641 64.25% 4,903
Arlington 71.71% 78,994 27.12% 29,876
Augusta 29.47% 9,825 79.35% 23,120
Bath 42.88% 1,043 55.46% 1,349
Bedford (city) 44.18% 1,208 54.75% 1,497
Bedford 30.74% 11,017 68.15% 24,420
Bland 29.19% 864 68.63% 2,031
Botetourt 32.7% 5,693 65.9% 11,471
Bristol (city) 36.21% 2,665 62.22% 4,579
Brunswick 62.83% 4,973 36.35% 2,877
Buchanan 46.51% 4,063 51.99% 4,541
Buckingham 49.88% 3,489 49.01% 3,428
Buena Vista (city) 45.72% 1,108 52.9% 1,282
Campbell 31.34% 8,091 67.57% 17,444
Caroline 55.44% 7,163 43.47% 5,617
Carroll 32.66% 4,108 65.08% 8,187
Charles City 68.33% 2,838 31.01% 1,288
Charlotte 43.93% 2,705 54.76% 3,372
Charlottesville (city) 78.35% 15,705 20.34% 4,078
Chesapeake (city) 50.21% 53,994 48.94% 52,625
Chesterfield 45.84% 74,310 53.31% 86,413
Clarke 46.52% 3,457 51.67% 3,840
Colonial Heights (city) 28.95% 2,562 69.62% 6,161
Covington (city) 55.39% 1,304 43.33% 1,020
Craig 33.46% 876 64.66% 1,695
Culpeper 44.58% 8,802 54.25% 10,711
Cumberland 47.73% 2,255 51.18% 2,418
Danville (city) 59.12% 12,352 40.02% 8,361
Dickenson 48.54% 3,278 49.22% 3,324
Dinwiddie 48.44% 6,246 50.62% 6,526
Emporia (city) 65.03% 1,702 34.27% 897
Essex 54.69% 2,934 44.35% 2,379
Fairfax 60.11% 310,359 38.93% 200,994
Fairfax (city) 57.68% 6,575 41.15% 4,691
Falls Church (city) 69.55% 4,695 29.18% 1,970
Fauquier 42.71% 14,616 56.18% 19,227
Floyd 39.07% 2,937 59.08% 4,441
Fluvanna 48.56% 6,185 50.41% 6,420
Franklin (city) 63.67% 2,819 35.59% 1,576
Franklin 37.86% 9,618 60.68% 15,414
Frederick 38.56% 12,961 59.94% 20,149
Fredericksburg (city) 63.6% 6,155 35.26% 3,413
Galax (city) 43.79% 1,052 54.82% 1,317
Giles 40.94% 3,192 57.24% 4,462
Gloucester 35.97% 6,916 62.89% 12,089
Goochland 38.31% 4,813 60.84% 7,643
Grayson 34.34% 2,480 62.88% 4,540
Greene 38.42% 3,174 60.29% 4,980
Greensville 63.88% 3,122 35.37% 1,729
Halifax 48.22% 8,126 51.03% 8,600
Hampton (city) 69.05% 46,917 30.13% 20,476
Hanover 32.79% 18,447 66.39% 37,344
Harrisonburg (city) 57.54% 8,444 41.24% 6,048
Henrico 55.7% 86,323 43.84% 67,381
Henry 44.09% 11,118 54.56% 13,758
Highland 37.96% 590 59.84% 930
Hopewell (city) 55.49% 5,285 43.46% 4,149
Isle of Wight 42.87% 8,573 56.29% 11,258
James City 44.94% 17,352 54.17% 20,912
King and Queen 51.76% 1,918 47.58% 1,763
King George 42.7% 4,473 56.21% 5,888
King William 39.86% 3,344 59.2% 4,966
Lancaster 46.62% 3,235 52.56% 3,647
Lee 34.88% 3,219 63.12% 5,825
Lexington (city) 62.24% 1,543 36.86% 914
Loudoun 53.66% 74,845 45.91% 63,336
Louisa 45.45% 6,978 53.29% 8,182
Lunenburg 47.84% 2,703 51.32% 2,900
Lynchburg (city) 47.37% 16,269 51.36% 17,638
Madison 42.72% 2,862 56.09% 3,758
Manassas (city) 55.16% 7,518 43.84% 5,975
Manassas Park (city) 59.49% 2,463 39.46% 1,634
Martinsville (city) 63.48% 4,139 35.44% 2,311
Mathews 35.55% 1,943 63.52% 3,456
Mecklenburg 47.25% 7,127 51.82% 7,817
Middlesex 39.81% 2,391 59.02% 3,545
Montgomery 51.73% 21,031 47.50% 19,028
Nelson 53.98% 4,391 44.84% 3,647
New Kent 34.96% 3,493 63.9% 6,385
Newport News (city) 63.93% 51,972 35.26% 28,667
Norfolk (city) 71.02% 62,819 28.05% 24,814
Northampton 57.69% 3,800 41.19% 2,713
Northumberland 45.04% 3,312 54.96% 4,041
Norton (city) 49.14% 743 49.2% 744
Nottoway 48.84% 3,413 50.07% 3,499
Orange 44.97% 7,107 53.83% 8,506
Page 40.76% 4,235 58.14% 6,041
Patrick 33.74% 2,879 64.36% 5,491
Petersburg (city) 88.63% 13,774 10.18% 1,583
Pittsylvania 37.5% 11,415 61.54% 18,730
Poquoson (city) 24.74% 1,748 74.01% 5,229
Portsmouth (city) 69.27% 32,327 29.96% 13,984
Powhatan 29.3% 4,237 69.78% 10,088
Prince Edward 54.33% 5,101 44.46% 4,174
Prince George 44.54% 7,130 54.67% 8,752
Prince William 57.54% 93,435 41.62% 67,621
Pulaski 39.32% 5,918 58.85% 8,857
Radford (city) 53.96% 2,930 44.53% 2,418
Rappahannock 47.78% 2,105 50.55% 2,227
Richmond (city) 79.09% 73,623 20.03% 18,649
Richmond 43.2% 1,618 55.86% 2,092
Roanoke (city) 61.15% 24,934 37.75% 15,394
Roanoke 38.86% 19,812 59.97% 30,571
Rockbridge 42.63% 4,347 56.22% 5,732
Rockingham 31.35% 10,453 67.4% 22,468
Russell 42.9% 4,931 55.58% 6,389
Salem (city) 41.62% 5,164 57.13% 7,088
Scott 27.59% 2,725 70.68% 6,980
Shenandoah 35.95% 6,912 62.45% 12,005
Smyth 34.45% 4,239 63.54% 7,817
Southampton 48.54% 4,402 50.54% 4,583
Spotsylvania 46.04% 24,897 52.91% 28,610
Stafford 46.37% 25,716 52.69% 29,221
Staunton (city) 50.55% 5,569 48.38% 5,330
Suffolk (city) 56.24% 22,446 43.01% 17,165
Surry 60.71% 2,626 38.45% 1,663
Sussex 61.55% 3,301 37.77% 2,026
Tazewell 32.79% 5,596 65.65% 11,201
Virginia Beach (city) 49.13% 98,885 49.84% 100,319
Warren 43.38% 6,997 55.06% 8,879
Washington 32.91% 8,063 65.62% 16,077
Waynesboro (city) 44.08% 3,906 54.34% 4,815
Westmoreland 54.63% 4,577 44.39% 3,719
Williamsburg (city) 63.76% 4,328 34.66% 2,353
Winchester (city) 52.02% 5,268 46.66% 4,725
Wise 35.33% 4,995 63.04% 8,914
Wythe 32.87% 4,107 65.7% 8,207
York 40.41% 13,700 58.5% 19,833

Source: [1]

By congressional district[edit]

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[edit]

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.[28] 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:[29]

  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[edit]

  1. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20070712135150/http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=back_to_the_future061807
  2. ^ Continetti, Matthew (October 2, 2006). "George Allen Monkeys Around". The Weekly Standard 12 (03). Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  3. ^ http://www.dcpoliticalreport.com/Predictions.html
  4. ^ http://www.cookpolitical.com/presidential#belowMap
  5. ^ Adnaan (2008-09-20). "Track the Electoral College vote predictions". The Takeaway. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  6. ^ http://www.electionprojection.com/2008elections/president08.shtml
  7. ^ http://electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Pres/Maps/Dec31.html
  8. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  9. ^ http://www.politico.com/convention/swingstate.html
  10. ^ http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/?map=5
  11. ^ http://innovation.cq.com/prezMap08/
  12. ^ The New York Times http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/whos-ahead/key-states/map.html?scp=1&sq=electoral%20college%20map&st=cse |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  13. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. 2008-10-31. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  14. ^ "Winning The Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27. 
  15. ^ http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/campaign_plus/roadto270/
  16. ^ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/election_2008_electoral_college_update
  17. ^ http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/va/virginia_mccain_vs_obama-551.html#polls
  18. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/POLLS/PRESIDENT/2008/pollsa.php?fips=51
  19. ^ http://www.fec.gov/DisclosureSearch/MapAppState.do?stateName=VA&cand_id=P00000001
  20. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  21. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  22. ^ "Election 2008: Time lapse of U.S. counties". USA Today. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  23. ^ a b Leip, David. "2008 Presidential General Election Results". David Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  24. ^ Todd, Chuck and Gawiser, Sheldon. How Barack Obama Won. New York City: Vintage, 2009.
  25. ^ a b "Election Results 2008". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  26. ^ Trende, Sean (19 February 2009). "Virginia Governor's Preview". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 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. 
  27. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2008election.pdf
  28. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  29. ^ http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/documents/08PVPGEN_CAN.pdf

See also[edit]