United States presidential election in New Mexico, 2008

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United States presidential election in New Mexico, 2008
New Mexico
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 5 0
Popular vote 472,422 346,832
Percentage 56.91% 41.78%

New Mexico Presidential Election Results by Shaded County, 2008.svg

County Results

President before election

George W. Bush

Elected President

Barack Obama

The 2008 United States presidential election in New Mexico took place on November 4, 2008 throughout all 50 states and D.C., which 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.

New Mexico was won by the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, by a 15.13% margin of victory. Obama took 56.91% of the vote while his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona, took 41.78%. Prior to the election, all 17 news organizations considered this a state Obama would win, or otherwise considered as a safe blue state. Due to the extremely narrow margins of victory in the past two presidential elections, it started out as a swing state, but hypothetical general election match-up polls taken in the state continued to show a big lead for Democrat Barack Obama. Obama's leads in the polls in New Mexico increased so much that Republican presidential nominee John McCain did not campaign nearly as much in the Land of Enchantment as he did elsewhere, despite it neighboring his home state of Arizona. A large Hispanic and trending Democratic population put Barack Obama over the top.[1]




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


Obama won a majority of the pre-election polls taken in the state, including sweeping all them taken after September 14. The final 3 polls averaged the Democrat leading 55% to 43%.[16]


John McCain raised a total of $1,016,376 in the state. Barack Obama raised $3,987,438.[17]

Advertising and visits[edit]

Obama and his interest groups spent $4,535,378. McCain and his interest groups spent $3,606,796.[18] The Democrat ticket visited the state 5 times to the Republican's 8 times.[19]


The key voting bloc in this state is Hispanics, which makes up a plurality of the state's total population with 45%. George W. Bush enjoyed good popularity with Hispanic voters and received over 40% of the Hispanic vote nationally in 2004. This support was enough for Bush to nip John Kerry by approximately 6,000 votes in New Mexico in 2004. In the previous election, New Mexico had been a very close swing state. Al Gore won the state by only 300 votes in 2000, which was even narrower than the controversial results in Florida. However, after the 2004 presidential election, support for Bush in the Hispanic community collapsed. During the 2008 election, New Mexico was regarded as an Obama-leaning state despite the fact that John McCain was from neighboring Arizona and held similar views on illegal immigration to those of Bush. Ultimately, McCain was only able to obtain 30% of the Hispanic vote.

The Republican base in New Mexico consists of the more rural southeastern part of the state which, while thinly populated, votes heavily Republican. Democrats are strongest in the state capital, Santa Fe and its close-in suburbs. The city of Albuquerque and the southwestern part of the state both lean Democratic, but not as overwhelmingly as does Santa Fe. On a larger context, Southern New Mexico is typically more Republican while Northern New Mexico is traditionally more Democratic, while Albuquerque and other areas in the center tend to swing both ways.

In 2008, Obama carried the state by a robust 15-point margin, largely by dominating the Albuquerque area. He won Bernalillo County, home to Albuquerque himself, by 21 points; Kerry had only won it by four points in 2004. While McCain dominated the southeastern part of the state, it was not nearly enough to overcome Obama's edge in the Albuquerque area.[20]

During the same election, former Democratic U.S. Representative Tom Udall, who had represented New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeated former Republican U.S. Representative Steve Pearce, who had represented New Mexico's 2nd congressional district, for an open U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by Republican Pete Domenici once it was discovered that he had brain cancer. Former Republican U.S. Representative Heather Wilson, who represented New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, vacated her seat to challenge Pearce in the GOP senatorial primary only to inevitably lose the nomination to him. As a result, all three of New Mexico's U.S. House seats were up for grabs, and Democrats captured all three of them. At the state level, Democrats increased their majorities in both houses of the New Mexico Legislature, picking up three seats in both the New Mexico House of Representatives and New Mexico Senate.


United States presidential election in New Mexico, 2008
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 472,422 56.91% 5
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 346,832 41.78% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 5,327 0.64% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 2,428 0.29% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin Darrell Castle 1,597 0.19% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 1,552 0.19% 0
Totals 830,158 100.00% 5
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 56.4%

Results breakdown[edit]

New Mexico Presidential Election Results by Shaded County, 2008.svg

By county[edit]

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Total
Bernalillo 60.66% 168,406 39.34% 109,212 277,618
Catron 32.07% 659 67.93% 1,396 2,055
Chaves 37.45% 8,160 62.55% 13,630 21,790
Cibola 64.91% 3,176 35.09% 1,717 4,893
Colfax 55.31% 3,465 44.69% 2,800 6,265
Curry 32.69% 4,655 67.31% 9,585 14,240
DeBaca 34.62% 358 65.38% 676 1,034
Doña Ana 58.64% 38,574 41.36% 27,211 65,785
Eddy 36.89% 7,289 63.11% 12,468 19,757
Grant 60.06% 8,092 39.94% 5,381 13,473
Guadalupe 71.47% 1,541 28.53% 615 2,156
Harding 41.76% 256 58.24% 357 613
Hidalgo 51.46% 990 48.54% 934 1,924
Lea 27.65% 5,084 72.35% 13,301 18,385
Lincoln 37.09% 3,482 62.91% 5,906 9,388
Los Alamos 53.38% 5,709 46.62% 4,986 10,695
Luna 52.65% 4,289 47.35% 3,857 8,146
McKinley 72.12% 15,993 27.88% 6,183 22,176
Mora 79.24% 2,156 20.76% 565 2,721
Otero 40.21% 8,602 59.79% 12,791 21,393
Quay 39.55% 1,546 60.45% 2,363 3,909
Rio Arriba 75.51% 11,245 24.49% 3,648 14,893
Roosevelt 34.63% 2,270 65.37% 4,285 6,555
San Juan 39.16% 17,645 60.84% 27,418 45,063
San Miguel 80.71% 10,128 19.29% 2,421 12,549
Sandoval 56.33% 32,102 43.67% 24,887 56,989
Santa Fe 77.70% 53,802 22.30% 15,443 69,245
Sierra 43.85% 2,351 56.15% 3,011 5,362
Socorro 60.66% 4,643 39.34% 3,011 7,654
Taos 82.56% 13,384 17.44% 2,827 16,211
Torrance 45.19% 3,068 54.81% 3,721 6,789
Union 28.77% 492 71.23% 1,218 1,710
Valencia 53.74% 15,142 46.26% 13,033 28,175

By congressional district[edit]

Barack Obama carried two of the state’s three congressional districts in New Mexico, while John McCain just narrowly carried the other congressional district that simultaneously elected a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 39.64% 60.07% Heather Wilson (110th Congress)
Martin Heinrich (111th Congress)
2nd 49.97% 48.64% Steve Pearce (110th Congress)
Harry Teague (111th Congress)
3rd 37.79% 61.01% Tom Udall (110th Congress)
Ben R. Luján (111th Congress)


Technically the voters of New Mexico cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. New Mexico is allocated five electors because it has three congressional districts and two senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of five 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 five 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.[21] 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 five were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:[22]

  1. Brian Colon
  2. Annadelle Sanchez
  3. Tom Buckner
  4. Christy French
  5. Alvin Warren


  1. ^ Cost, Jay; Sean Trende (2009-01-18). "Election Review, Part 3: The West". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  2. ^ D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries
  3. ^ Presidential | The Cook Political Report Archived May 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Adnaan (2008-09-20). "Track the Electoral College vote predictions". The Takeaway. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  5. ^ Election Projection: 2008 Elections - Polls, Projections, Results
  6. ^ Electoral-vote.com: President, Senate, House Updated Daily
  7. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  8. ^ POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map - POLITICO.com
  9. ^ RealClearPolitics - Electoral Map
  10. ^ CQ Politics | CQ Presidential Election Maps, 2008 Archived October 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Electoral College Map". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  12. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  13. ^ "Winning the Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27. 
  14. ^ roadto270
  15. ^ Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports™
  16. ^ Election 2008 Polls - Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
  17. ^ Presidential Campaign Finance
  18. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  19. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  20. ^ "Election Results 2008". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2004. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  21. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  22. ^ New Mexico Secretary of State's office Archived November 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

See also[edit]