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2008 United States presidential election in West Virginia

United States presidential election in West Virginia, 2008

← 2004 November 4, 2008 2012 →
  John McCain official portrait 2009.jpg Obama portrait crop.jpg
Nominee John McCain Barack Obama
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Arizona Illinois
Running mate Sarah Palin Joe Biden
Electoral vote 5 0
Popular vote 397,466 303,857
Percentage 55.60% 42.51%

West virginia presidential election results 2008.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush
Republican

Elected President

Barack Obama
Democratic

The 2008 United States presidential election in West Virginia 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.

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. Obama was also the first Democratic presidential nominee since Woodrow Wilson in 1916 to win the nationwide presidential election without carrying West Virginia. Despite Barack Obama's loss in the state, he is the most recent Democrat to win any of its counties in a presidential election, namely Boone County, Braxton County, Jefferson County, Marion County, McDowell County, Monongalia County, and Webster County. This also marked the first presidential election since 1924 in which West Virginia voted for the Republican presidential candidate whilst neighboring Virginia voted for the Democratic presidential candidate. This is also the most recent election in which the Democratic candidate received more than 40% of the vote in West Virginia.

Primaries

Campaign

Predictions

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: Republican[1]
  2. Cook Political Report: Leaning Republican[2]
  3. Takeaway: Leaning McCain[3]
  4. Election Projection: Leaning McCain[4]
  5. Electoral-vote.com: Leaning Republican[5]
  6. Washington Post: Leaning McCain[6]
  7. Politico: Solid McCain[7]
  8. Real Clear Politics: Leaning McCain[8]
  9. FiveThirtyEight.com: Leaning McCain[9]
  10. CQ Politics: Leaning Republican[10]
  11. New York Times: Leaning Republican[11]
  12. CNN: Leaning Republican[12]
  13. NPR: Leaning McCain[13]
  14. MSNBC: Leaning McCain[14]
  15. Fox News: Republican[15]
  16. Associated Press: Republican[16]
  17. Rasmussen Reports: Solid Republican[17]

Polling

McCain won 16 of 17 pre-election polls. The final 3 polls averaged McCain leading 53% to 41%.[18]

Fundraising

John McCain raised a total of $291,184 in the state. Barack Obama raised $713,231.

Advertising and visits

Obama and his interest groups spent $1,437,178. McCain and his interest groups spent $1,920,720.[19] Each ticket visited the state once.[20]

Analysis

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 of 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 McCain defeating Barack Obama 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.[21] 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 dominated at the state and local level. After Election 2008, Democrats held the governorship and every statewide office, two out of the state's three congressional districts in the U.S. House of Representatives, both U.S. Senate seats and supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature. However, the Democratic Party's dominance of West Virginia has significantly waned in recent years; in the 2014 elections, the West Virginia Republican Party made major gains in West Virginia, capturing one of its two Senate seats, all of its congressional House seats for the first time since 1921, and gained control of both the West Virginia House of Delegates and the West Virginia Senate for the first time in 80 years.[22]

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.

Results

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
Write-ins Write-ins 89 0.01% 0
Totals 713,451 100.00% 5
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 51.2%

Results breakdown

By county

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Others% Others# Total
Barbour County 38.04% 2,415 57.93% 3,678 4.03% 256 6,349
Berkeley County 42.37% 15,945 55.21% 20,779 2.42% 911 37,635
Boone County 52.66% 4,490 42.26% 3,603 5.08% 433 8,526
Braxton County 49.29% 2,691 47.96% 2,618 2.75% 150 5,459
Brooke County 46.89% 4,666 49.56% 4,932 3.56% 354 9,952
Cabell County 43.56% 15,110 53.54% 18,571 2.90% 1,007 34,688
Calhoun County 39.66% 976 54.65% 1,345 5.69% 140 2,461
Clay County 42.39% 1,417 52.29% 1,748 5.32% 178 3,343
Doddridge County 23.87% 732 71.89% 2,205 4.24% 130 3,067
Fayette County 46.64% 7,134 49.55% 7,578 3.81% 583 15,295
Gilmer County 39.19% 1,117 55.37% 1,578 5.44% 155 2,850
Grant County 23.24% 987 74.17% 3,150 2.59% 110 4,247
Greenbrier County 41.34% 5,561 54.62% 7,347 4.04% 544 13,452
Hampshire County 35.14% 2,968 61.52% 5,197 3.34% 282 8,447
Hancock County 40.85% 5,285 56.09% 7,257 3.06% 396 12,938
Hardy County 34.23% 1,880 61.17% 3,360 4.61% 253 5,493
Harrison County 41.98% 13,488 55.14% 17,715 2.89% 927 32,130
Jackson County 39.14% 4,821 57.37% 7,066 3.48% 429 12,316
Jefferson County 51.27% 11,606 46.50% 10,526 2.23% 504 22,636
Kanawha County 48.61% 40,148 49.14% 40,588 2.25% 1,858 82,594
Lewis County 31.17% 2,096 64.12% 4,312 4.71% 317 6,725
Lincoln County 43.30% 2,972 51.81% 3,556 4.88% 335 6,863
Logan County 41.61% 4,862 53.89% 6,297 4.50% 526 11,685
Marion County 48.23% 11,507 47.74% 11,389 4.03% 962 23,858
Marshall County 42.03% 5,943 54.52% 7,709 3.45% 488 14,140
Mason County 41.16% 4,444 53.92% 5,822 4.93% 532 10,798
McDowell County 52.49% 3,410 43.90% 2,852 3.62% 235 6,497
Mercer County 34.84% 7,388 62.09% 13,167 3.07% 650 21,205
Mineral County 31.98% 3,717 64.93% 7,546 3.09% 359 11,622
Mingo County 42.12% 3,567 53.91% 4,565 3.97% 336 8,468
Monongalia County 50.24% 16,853 46.54% 15,612 3.21% 1,077 33,542
Monroe County 34.91% 1,969 59.29% 3,344 5.80% 327 5,640
Morgan County 36.71% 2,704 59.84% 4,408 3.45% 254 7,366
Nicholas County 47.88% 6,007 48.74% 6,115 3.37% 423 12,545
Ohio County 43.32% 8,481 54.09% 10,590 2.58% 506 19,577
Pendleton County 38.21% 1,049 58.47% 1,605 3.32% 91 2,745
Pleasants County 37.57% 1,127 58.43% 1,753 4.00% 120 3,000
Pocahontas County 41.62% 1,538 53.94% 1,993 4.44% 164 3,695
Preston County 34.87% 4,190 60.74% 7,299 4.39% 528 12,017
Putnam County 37.27% 9,424 60.49% 15,295 2.24% 567 25,286
Raleigh County 35.60% 10,115 61.09% 17,358 3.30% 939 28,412
Randolph County 41.00% 4,527 54.80% 6,051 4.19% 463 11,041
Ritchie County 25.54% 989 71.08% 2,753 3.38% 131 3,873
Roane County 44.28% 2,506 51.87% 2,936 3.85% 218 5,660
Summers County 41.99% 2,276 53.04% 2,875 4.96% 269 5,420
Taylor County 38.98% 2,420 56.67% 3,518 4.35% 270 6,208
Tucker County 35.65% 1,280 59.00% 2,118 5.35% 192 3,590
Tyler County 32.53% 1,234 63.01% 2,390 4.46% 169 3,793
Upshur County 32.07% 2,896 65.00% 5,870 2.93% 265 9,031
Wayne County 38.93% 6,101 56.72% 8,890 4.35% 682 15,673
Webster County 49.09% 1,543 43.72% 1,374 7.19% 226 3,143
Wetzel County 44.42% 2,919 50.49% 3,318 5.08% 334 6,571
Wirt County 33.05% 777 63.04% 1,482 3.91% 92 2,351
Wood County 34.43% 12,446 62.71% 22,670 2.87% 1,036 36,152
Wyoming County 35.48% 2,724 59.98% 4,605 4.53% 348 7,677

By congressional District

John McCain swept all three of the state’s three congressional districts, including the two districts held by Democrats.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 56.77% 41.51% Alan Mollohan
2nd 54.63% 43.77% Shelley Moore Capito
3rd 55.76% 42.29% Nick Rahall

Electors

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.[23] 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.

All 5 were pledged to John McCain and Sarah Palin:[24]

  1. Robert Fish
  2. Zane Lawhorn
  3. Catherine Sue McKinney
  4. Marti Riggall
  5. Theresa Waxman

References

  1. ^ "D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Presidential". Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  4. ^ "Election Projection: 2008 Elections - Polls, Projections, Results". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Electoral-vote.com: President, Senate, House Updated Daily". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  6. ^ Based on Takeaway
  7. ^ "POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  8. ^ [www.realclearpolitics.com]
  9. ^ Based on Takeaway
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 14, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  11. ^ Nagourney, Adam; Zeleny, Jeff; Carter, Shan (2008-11-04). "The Electoral Map: Key States". The New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. October 31, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  13. ^ Based on Takeaway
  14. ^ Based on Takeaway
  15. ^ "Winning The Electoral College". Fox News. April 27, 2010.
  16. ^ "roadto270". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  17. ^ Rasmussen Reports. "Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports™". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  18. ^ David Leip. "Election 2008 Polls - Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  20. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  21. ^ "Election Results 2008". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2004. Retrieved 6-8-09. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  22. ^ Willis, Derek (November 24, 2014). "Election Was Rough for Democrats. It Was Worse for West Virginia Democrats". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  23. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  24. ^ "U. S. Electoral College 2008 Election - Certificates". Retrieved 14 January 2015.

See also