United States Presidential Election in Wisconsin, 2008
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United States Presidential Election in Wisconsin, 2008
2008 United States presidential election in Wisconsin

← 2004 November 4, 2008 2012 →
Turnout69.2% (Decrease 3.7%)[1]
  Obama portrait crop.jpg John McCain official portrait 2009.jpg
Nominee Barack Obama John McCain
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Illinois Arizona
Running mate Joe Biden Sarah Palin
Electoral vote 10 0
Popular vote 1,677,211 1,262,393
Percentage 56.22% 42.31%

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin took place on November 4, 2008, as part of the 2008 United States presidential election in which all 50 states plus the District of Columbia participated. Wisconsin voters chose 10 electors to represent them in the Electoral College via a popular vote pitting Democratic U.S. Senator from Illinois Barack Obama, and his running mate U.S. Senator from Delaware Joe Biden, against Republican challenger and U.S. Senator from Arizona John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Also on the ballot were four third parties: activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader ran as an Independent with his running mate, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Matt Gonzalez. The Libertarian Party nominated former Representative from Georgia Bob Barr for president and conservative author Wayne Allyn Root for vice president. Pastor Chuck Baldwin and attorney Darrell Castle were nominated by the right-wing Constitution Party, and the left-wing Green Party nominated former Representative from Georgia Cynthia McKinney and community organizer Rosa Clemente.[2]

Wisconsin was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama by a 13.91% margin of victory. Prior to the election, all 17 news organizations considered this a state Obama would win, or otherwise considered as a safe blue state, despite the extremely close margins of victory in the previous two presidential elections. Polling throughout the state began to show a sizable and widening lead for Democrat Barack Obama of neighboring Illinois over Republican John McCain of Arizona. Obama carried Wisconsin with over 56% of the vote, significantly improving upon John Kerry's margin of victory in 2004. No presidential candidate has ever received more votes in Wisconsin than Obama. Whether measured by raw vote margin, percentage of total votes, or two-party percentage, Obama's victory remains the strongest performance for any candidate in the state since the landslide re-election of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. In fact, Obama carried two of three counties that voted for Barry Goldwater in that election, was the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 to carry Waupaca County, and only the second Democratic nominee to carry that county since the Civil War.[a]

Primaries

Campaign

Predictions

There were 16 news organizations who made state-by-state predictions of the election. Here are their last predictions before election day:

Polling

Pre-election polling early on showed a tight race. However, after May 18, Obama swept every single poll. Since September 21, Obama won every poll with at least 49% of the vote. The final 3 polls averaged Obama leading 53% to 40%.[20]

Fundraising

John McCain raised a total of $1,728,185 in the state. Barack Obama raised $4,862,486.[21]

Advertising and visits

Obama and his interest groups spent $13,586,634. McCain and his interest groups spent $9,240,899.[22] Each ticket visited the state 7 times.[23]

Analysis

Having voted for the Democratic presidential nominees by wide margins in 1988, 1992, and 1996, but extremely narrow margins in 2000 and 2004, Wisconsin was originally considered to be a swing state in 2008.[24] However, Obama took a wide lead in the polls in Wisconsin near the final weeks before the election and many pundits and news organizations labeled the state as a safe blue state.[25]

Obama won Wisconsin by a comfortable 13.91% margin of victory. Obama carried the heavily Democratic cities of Milwaukee and Madison by large margins, winning above two-thirds of the vote, along with some traditionally Republican cities like Green Bay and Appleton.[26] In Dane County, he won almost 73% of the vote, and carried 67.3% in Milwaukee County. This was consistent with Obama's pattern of strong performances in the states bordering Illinois. Obama's best performance, at 86.81%, was in the small county of Menominee, which is 87% Native American.[27] The state's Republican base essentially melted; John McCain only carried 13 of the state's 72 counties, a devastating defeat. McCain did best in the Milwaukee suburbs like Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, with his best performance in Washington County where he received 64.14% of the vote. He only won five counties in the Northern part of the state, all of which by rather narrow margins. Wisconsin would not vote for a Republican candidate for president until it voted for Donald Trump in 2016, though it would flip back to the Democratic column in 2020 with Joe Biden back on the ballot.

As of the 2020 presidential election, this is the last election in which the counties of Barron, Brown, Burnett, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Iron, Jefferson, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Pierce, Rusk, Shawano, Washburn, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood voted for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Results

2008 United States presidential election in Wisconsin[2]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 1,677,211 56.22% 10
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 1,262,393 42.31% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 17,605 0.59% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 8,858 0.30% 0
Write-ins Write-ins 6,521 0.22% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin Darrell Castle 5,072 0.17% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 4,216 0.14% 0
Others - - 1,541 0.05% 0
Totals 2,983,417 100.00% 10
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 70.8%

Results breakdown

By county

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Others% Others# Total
Adams 58.14% 5,806 39.80% 3,974 2.06% 206 9,986
Ashland 67.86% 5,818 30.72% 2,634 1.42% 122 8,574
Barron 52.77% 12,078 45.69% 10,457 1.53% 351 22,886
Bayfield 63.08% 5,972 35.54% 3,365 1.38% 131 9,468
Brown 53.93% 67,269 44.77% 55,854 1.30% 1,621 124,744
Buffalo 56.41% 3,949 41.76% 2,923 1.83% 128 7,000
Burnett 49.92% 4,337 48.34% 4,200 1.74% 151 8,688
Calumet 50.22% 13,295 48.05% 12,722 1.73% 457 26,474
Chippewa 53.72% 16,239 44.63% 13,492 1.65% 500 30,231
Clark 52.54% 7,454 44.99% 6,383 2.47% 350 14,187
Columbia 56.92% 16,661 41.65% 12,193 1.43% 418 29,272
Crawford 62.49% 4,987 35.46% 2,830 2.05% 164 7,981
Dane 72.80% 205,984 25.82% 73,065 1.37% 3,890 282,939
Dodge 44.80% 19,183 53.74% 23,015 1.46% 625 42,823
Door 58.02% 10,142 40.68% 7,112 1.30% 227 17,481
Douglas 65.78% 15,830 32.56% 7,835 1.67% 401 24,066
Dunn 56.56% 13,002 41.61% 9,566 1.83% 421 22,989
Eau Claire 60.25% 33,146 38.10% 20,959 1.65% 905 55,010
Florence 42.23% 1,134 56.31% 1,512 1.45% 39 2,685
Fond du Lac 44.84% 23,463 53.83% 28,164 1.33% 696 52,323
Forest 57.08% 2,673 41.92% 1,963 1.00% 47 4,683
Grant 61.16% 14,875 37.29% 9,068 1.55% 377 24,320
Green 62.06% 11,502 36.31% 6,730 1.63% 302 18,534
Green Lake 41.95% 4,000 56.55% 5,393 1.50% 143 9,536
Iowa 66.73% 7,987 31.99% 3,829 1.28% 153 11,969
Iron 55.77% 1,914 42.66% 1,464 1.57% 54 3,432
Jackson 60.23% 5,572 38.40% 3,552 1.37% 127 9,251
Jefferson 49.69% 21,448 48.87% 21,096 1.44% 622 43,166
Juneau 53.65% 6,186 44.65% 5,148 1.70% 196 11,530
Kenosha 58.18% 45,836 40.12% 31,609 1.71% 1,344 78,789
Kewaunee 54.71% 5,902 43.67% 4,711 1.61% 174 10,787
La Crosse 60.94% 38,524 37.49% 23,701 1.57% 993 63,218
Lafayette 60.43% 4,732 38.10% 2,984 1.47% 115 7,831
Langlade 49.82% 5,182 48.85% 5,081 1.34% 139 10,402
Lincoln 55.17% 8,424 42.70% 6,519 2.13% 325 15,268
Manitowoc 52.88% 22,428 45.35% 19,234 1.77% 752 42,414
Marathon 53.53% 36,367 44.66% 30,345 1.81% 1,228 67,940
Marinette 52.67% 11,195 45.76% 9,726 1.57% 334 21,255
Marquette 51.85% 4,068 46.57% 3,654 1.58% 124 7,846
Menominee 86.81% 1,257 12.78% 185 0.41% 6 1,448
Milwaukee 67.30% 319,819 31.45% 149,445 1.25% 5,928 475,192
Monroe 53.25% 10,198 45.25% 8,666 1.50% 288 19,152
Oconto 52.34% 9,927 46.16% 8,755 1.51% 286 18,968
Oneida 54.30% 11,907 43.92% 9,630 1.78% 390 21,927
Outagamie 54.93% 50,294 43.33% 39,677 1.74% 1,592 91,563
Ozaukee 38.56% 20,579 60.29% 32,172 1.15% 614 53,365
Pepin 55.74% 2,102 42.85% 1,616 1.41% 53 3,771
Pierce 53.39% 11,803 44.38% 9,812 2.23% 492 22,107
Polk 48.03% 10,876 49.83% 11,282 2.14% 485 22,643
Portage 62.95% 24,817 35.03% 13,810 2.02% 795 39,422
Price 55.64% 4,559 42.24% 3,461 2.12% 174 8,194
Racine 53.07% 53,408 45.66% 45,954 1.27% 1,280 100,642
Richland 59.66% 5,041 39.03% 3,298 1.31% 111 8,450
Rock 63.82% 50,529 34.56% 27,364 1.61% 1,276 79,169
Rusk 53.01% 3,855 44.73% 3,253 2.26% 164 7,272
St. Croix 47.25% 21,177 50.95% 22,837 1.80% 807 44,821
Sauk 60.79% 18,617 37.75% 11,562 1.46% 447 30,626
Sawyer 52.45% 4,765 46.22% 4,199 1.33% 121 9,085
Shawano 51.07% 10,259 47.48% 9,538 1.45% 292 20,089
Sheboygan 48.94% 30,395 49.59% 30,801 1.47% 911 62,107
Taylor 48.82% 4,563 49.07% 4,586 2.11% 197 9,346
Trempealeau 62.50% 8,321 36.11% 4,808 1.39% 185 13,314
Vernon 60.13% 8,463 38.13% 5,367 1.74% 245 14,075
Vilas 47.21% 6,491 51.31% 7,055 1.48% 204 13,750
Walworth 47.95% 24,177 50.54% 25,485 1.51% 760 50,422
Washburn 51.50% 4,693 47.22% 4,303 1.27% 116 9,112
Washington 34.56% 25,719 64.14% 47,729 1.29% 963 74,411
Waukesha 36.64% 85,339 62.32% 145,152 1.03% 2,406 232,897
Waupaca 50.77% 12,952 47.95% 12,232 1.28% 327 25,511
Waushara 49.52% 5,868 48.70% 5,770 1.78% 211 11,849
Winnebago 54.94% 48,167 43.28% 37,946 1.78% 1,564 87,677
Wood 55.59% 21,710 42.46% 16,581 1.95% 761 39,052

Counties that swung from Republican to Democratic

Barack Obama flipped 32 counties that voted for George W. Bush in the narrow election of 2004.[28][29]

By congressional district

Barack Obama swept the state, carrying seven of the state's eight congressional districts, including two districts held by Republicans. Three of these districts - the 1st, 6th, and 8th - Obama flipped from the 2004 election.[30] McCain only won the 5th district, a portion of the Milwaukee suburbs.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 47.45% 51.40% Paul Ryan
2nd 29.78% 69.00% Tammy Baldwin
3rd 40.80% 57.76% Ron Kind
4th 23.61% 75.39% Gwen Moore
5th 57.73% 41.28% Jim Sensenbrenner
6th 48.72% 49.91% Tom Petri
7th 42.52% 55.91% David Obey
8th 45.12% 53.59% Steve Kagen

Electors

Technically the voters of Wisconsin cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Wisconsin is allocated 10 electors because it has 8 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 10 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 10 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.[31] 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 10 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:[32]

  1. Ray Rivera
  2. Fred Risser
  3. Rollie Hick
  4. Polly Williams
  5. Dean Palmer
  6. Gordon Hintz
  7. Christine Bremer-Muggli
  8. Donsia Strong Hill
  9. Jim Doyle
  10. Joe Wineke

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Waupaca County did like most of Wisconsin vote for "Independent" Robert M. La Follette in 1924, but apart from this election and supporting Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936 it voted Republican in every election between 1868 and 2004.[3]

References

  1. ^ "Wisconsin Voter Turnout Statistics". Wisconsin Election Commission. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Menendez, Albert J.; The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004, pp. 337-342 ISBN 0786422173
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-01. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Adnaan (2008-09-20). "Track the Electoral College vote predictions". The Takeaway. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved .
  7. ^ http://electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Pres/Maps/Dec31.html
  8. ^ Based on Takeaway
  9. ^ http://www.politico.com/convention/swingstate.html
  10. ^ http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/?map=5
  11. ^ Based on Takeaway
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Nagourney, Adam; Zeleny, Jeff; Carter, Shan (2008-11-04). "The Electoral Map: Key States". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. 2008-10-31. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Based on Takeaway
  16. ^ Based on Takeaway
  17. ^ "Winning The Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27.
  18. ^ http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/campaign_plus/roadto270/
  19. ^ http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/election_2008_electoral_college_update
  20. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/POLLS/PRESIDENT/2008/pollsa.php?fips=55
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "Reality Check: Wisconsin Still Considered A Swing State". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved .
  25. ^ "RealClearPolitics: Wisconsin Head-to-Head Polls". Retrieved .
  26. ^ "Local and National Election Results". CNN. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Menominee County, Wisconsin; Wisconsin". www.census.gov. Retrieved .
  28. ^ "Wisconsin - Election Results 2008 - The New York Times". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved .
  29. ^ "Wisconsin". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "Presidential Results by Congressional District, 2000-2008 - Swing State Project". Retrieved .
  31. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved .
  32. ^ https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/2008-certificates/index.html#wi

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