2008 United States presidential election in Utah
The 2008 United States presidential election in Utah took place on November 4, 2008, and was part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Voters chose 5 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.
Utah was won by Republican nominee John McCain by a 28.0% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 17 news organizations considered this a state McCain would win, or otherwise considered as a safe red state. Highlighting its status as a GOP bastion, the Beehive State gave McCain one of his largest victories over Democrat Barack Obama, a near two-to-one margin. Obama did, however, manage to carry three counties, and he greatly improved on John Kerry's performance here in 2004.
|Elections in Utah|
There were 16 news organizations who made state-by-state predictions of the election. Here are their last predictions before election day:
- D.C. Political Report: Republican
- Cook Political Report: Solid Republican
- Takeaway: Solid McCain
- Electoral-vote.com: Strong Republican
- Washington Post: Solid McCain
- Politico: Solid McCain
- Real Clear Politics: Solid McCain
- FiveThirtyEight.com: Solid McCain
- CQ Politics: Safe Republican
- New York Times: Solid Republican
- CNN: Safe Republican
- NPR: Solid McCain
- MSNBC: Solid McCain
- Fox News: Republican
- Associated Press: Republican
- Rasmussen Reports: Safe Republican
McCain won every pre-election poll conducted in this state, each with a double-digit margin and with at least 55% of the vote. The final three-poll average showed McCain leading 59% to 31%.
John McCain raised a total of $1,165,621 in the state. Barack Obama raised $2,121,563.
Advertising and visits
Utah is a heavily Republican state that has not voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since Lyndon B. Johnson's landslide election in 1964, and even then the margin of victory was small. The majority of the state's population is Mormon and highly conservative, especially on social issues. Utah gave George W. Bush his largest margin of victory in 2004 over John Kerry, as Bush received over 71 percent to Kerry's 26 percent and carried every county in the state.
Although McCain easily won Utah in 2008, Obama did very well for a Democrat in this Republican stronghold. Obama was able to reduce McCain's margin of victory by narrowly winning Salt Lake County, the state's most populous county that contains the state capital of Salt Lake City, by a mere 296 votes. Obama also carried Summit County and Grand County, both of which have significantly lower Mormon populations than the rest of the state. As of the 2016 presidential election[update], this is the last time that Grand County voted for the Democratic candidate.
During the same election, popular incumbent Republican Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. was reelected to a second term in a massive landslide victory, taking in 77.74 percent of the vote over Democrat Bob Springmeyer's 19.65 percent and Libertarian Dell Schanze's 2.62 percent. At the state level, however, Democrats did manage to pick up two seats in the Utah House of Representatives.
|United States presidential election in Utah, 2008|
|Party||Candidate||Running mate||Votes||Percentage||Electoral votes|
|Republican||John McCain||Sarah Palin||596,030||62.24%||5|
|Democratic||Barack Obama||Joe Biden||327,670||34.22%||0|
|Constitution||Chuck Baldwin||Darrell Castle||12,012||1.25%||0|
|Independent||Ralph Nader||Matt Gonzalez||8,416||0.88%||0|
|Libertarian||Bob Barr||Wayne Allyn Root||6,966||0.73%||0|
|Green||Cynthia McKinney||Rosa Clemente||982||0.10%||0|
|Voter turnout (Voting age population)||55.5%|
By congressional district
John McCain swept all three of the state's congressional districts.
|3rd||67.35%||29.25%||Chris Cannon (110th Congress)|
|Jason Chaffetz (111th Congress)|
Technically the voters of Utah cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Utah is allocated 5 electors because it has 3 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 5 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 5 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.
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