United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2008
The 2008 United States presidential election in West Virginia 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.
West Virginia was won by Republican nominee John McCain by a 13.1% 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. Despite its past voting record of heavily favoring Democratic presidential nominees, the state has lately been trending more Republican in presidential elections. As expected, McCain defeated Obama in the Mountain State, even improving upon George W. Bush's performance in 2004. West Virginia was one of five states in which McCain did better than Bush. Obama was also the first Democratic presidential nominee since Woodrow Wilson in 1916 to win the nationwide presidential election without carrying West Virginia.
|Elections in West Virginia|
There were 17 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: Leaning Republican
- Takeaway: Leaning McCain
- Election Projection: Leaning McCain
- Electoral-vote.com: Leaning Republican
- Washington Post: Leaning McCain
- Politico: Solid McCain
- Real Clear Politics: Leaning McCain
- FiveThirtyEight.com: Leaning McCain
- CQ Politics: Leaning Republican
- New York Times: Leaning Republican
- CNN: Leaning Republican
- NPR: Leaning McCain
- MSNBC: Leaning McCain
- Fox News: Republican
- Associated Press: Republican
- Rasmussen Reports: Solid Republican
McCain won 16 of 17 pre-election polls. The final 3 polls averaged McCain leading 53% to 41%.
John McCain raised a total of $291,184 in the state. Barack Obama raised $713,231.
Advertising and visits
More than any other state, West Virginia highlighted Obama's trouble in Appalachian America. It swung heavily to the Democrats during the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt and remained reliably Democratic for most of the next 68 years. During that time, it only voted Republican three times, all in national Republican landslides--1956, 1972 and 1984). It often voted for Democrats (such as Jimmy Carter and Mike Dukakis) who went on to big national defeats. This was largely due to its blue-collar, heavily unionized workers, especially coal miners, who favored Democratic economic policy.
Starting in the days with Al Gore, however, the state's voters became more concerned with the national Democratic Party's perceived hostility toward the coal industry, which is a core part of the West Virginia economy. As a result, the state has been trending Republican in national elections.
Advancing into the general election, McCain was largely expected to receive the state's five electoral votes. Since polling in the state prior to the election showed a nearly double-digit lead in favor of McCain, neither presidential nominee campaigned heavily in the state. Not surprisingly, though, every poll out of West Virginia showed Hillary Clinton defeating McCain in West Virginia, sometimes by double digits.
On Election Day, McCain won West Virginia by 13.09 points while losing nationwide. McCain did well throughout the state, losing only a handful of counties. While his margins were best in the more conservative northern part of the state, he also improved significantly in Southern West Virginia. This coal-mining, union-heavy region was one of the most heavily Democratic places in the nation; Logan County, for example, cast 72 percent of its ballot for Bill Clinton. In 2008, however, John McCain won the county by double digits.
On the other hand, Barack Obama did make gains in the area between Maryland and Virginia, counties which are a part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Obama also ran close in Central West Virginia (the counties around the capital Charleston).
Despite the recent Republican success nationally, Democrats still dominate at the state and local level. After Election 2008, Democrats hold the governorship and every statewide office, two out of the state's three congressional districts in the U.S. House of Representatives and both U.S. Senate seats. They also hold supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature.
During the same election, popular incumbent Democratic Governor Joe Manchin III was soundly reelected to a second term with 69.79% of the vote over Republican Russ Weeks who took in 25.75% while Jesse Johnson of the Mountain Party received 4.46%. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller IV was also soundly reelected with 63.71% of the vote over Republican Jay Wolfe who took in 36.27%. At the state level, Democrats picked up three seats in the West Virginia Senate while Republicans picked up one seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
|United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2008|
|Party||Candidate||Running mate||Votes||Percentage||Electoral votes|
|Republican||John McCain||Sarah Palin||397,466||55.60%||5|
|Democratic||Barack Obama||Joe Biden||303,857||42.51%||0|
|Independent||Ralph Nader||Matt Gonzalez||7,219||1.01%||0|
|Constitution||Chuck Baldwin||Darrell Castle||2,465||0.34%||0|
|Green||Cynthia McKinney||Rosa Clemente||2,355||0.33%||0|
|Voter turnout (Voting age population)||51.2%|
By congressional District
John McCain swept all three of the state’s three congressional districts, including the two districts held by Democrats.
|2nd||54.63%||43.77%||Shelley Moore Capito|
Technically the voters of West Virginia cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. West Virginia 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.
- Robert Fish
- Zane Lawhorn
- Catherine Sue McKinney
- Marti Riggall
- Theresa Waxman
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- Based on Takeaway
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