2008 United States presidential election in Colorado Article

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United States presidential election in Colorado, 2008

←  2004 November 4, 2008 2012 →
  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 9 0
Popular vote 1,288,633 1,073,629
Percentage 53.66% 44.71%

Colorado 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 Colorado took place on November 4, 2008, as a part of the 2008 United States presidential election throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Voters chose 9 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Colorado was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama by a margin of victory of 8.95%. Obama took 53.66% of the vote to McCain's 44.71%. The state was heavily targeted by both campaigns, although, prior to the election, all 17 news organizations actually considered this a state Obama would win, or otherwise considered as a blue state. While George W. Bush narrowly carried the state in 2004, the Centennial State ultimately flipped allegiance to Obama. This was the first time since 1992 in which the state was won by a Democrat in a presidential election.

Key to Obama's victory was Democratic dominance in the Denver area, sweeping not just the city but also the heavily populated suburban counties around Denver, particularly Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties, as well as winning Larimer County, home to Fort Collins. Obama also took over 70% of the vote in Boulder County, home to Boulder. McCain's most populated county wins were in El Paso County, where Colorado Springs is located, and Weld County, home to Greeley.

Caucuses

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

Polling

Pre-election polling taken in Colorado prior to the election mostly showed Obama with a slight lead. He led every poll after October 5.

Fundraising

John McCain raised a total of $3,491,086. Barack Obama raised almost $11 million. [15]

Advertising and visits

Obama and his interest groups spent $10,410,669. McCain and his interest groups spent $9,818,077. [16] McCain/Palin visited the state 13 times. Obama/Biden visited the state 8 times. [17]

Analysis

Changing demographics and a growing Hispanic population made the state more favorable to the Democrats, although Republicans still had a hold on the state due to the party's conservative stances on social issues like abortion, gay rights, and gun control.

Colorado has traditionally voted Republican, turning red in every presidential election since 1952, with the exception of 1964 and 1992. Colorado supported George W. Bush in both 2000 and again in 2004, although by a margin of less than 5%. In addition, Republicans have mostly held control of the state legislature and most statewide offices since the 1960s. On the other hand, the Governor's Mansion has been held by Democrats for 22 out of the past 30 years. Traditionally, Democratic strength in Denver, Boulder and Pueblo was no match for Republican dominance in the Denver suburbs, the rural areas, and Colorado Springs.

Recently, however, there has been a growing population of Hispanic Americans, [18] young professionals, and an influx of people from other states - all of whom tend to vote Democratic. These demographic changes have been causing the state's political ideology to shift. [19] While Republicans continue to enjoy an advantage in voter registration statewide, Democrats have been closing the gap. There has also been an increasing number of unaffiliated, independent-minded voters. [20] Since 2004, Democrats have won the governorship, both Senate seats, three House seats, and control of both chambers in the state legislature.

While Colorado had not been extensively contested in the 2004 election, Bush's narrow margin in that election and the demographic changes of the last four years led it to become a crucial swing state for 2008. Both Barack Obama and John McCain campaigned extensively in the state.

Several factors in the campaign favored the Democrat. Barack Obama did very well in the caucus, defeating opponent Hillary Clinton with almost 67% of the vote. On the other hand, John McCain badly lost the state to opponent Mitt Romney, who gained 60% of the vote.

Moreover, the 2008 Democratic National Convention was held in Denver. The publicity generated from the event provided a strong boost to Obama. According to Real Clear Politics polling averages, Obama and McCain were neck-to-neck through the summer and early September. However, as the 2008 financial crisis hit, Obama's numbers in Colorado jumped to over 50%. [21]

During the campaign, several media organizations reported on voting machine problems. There was also reporting on the controversial practice of "purging" voter registration lists. [22]

On election day, Obama won by a comfortable margin, greater than his national average. Obama improved on John Kerry's performance throughout the state. He won landslides in the Democratic strongholds of Denver and Boulder; in both areas, Obama took more than 70% of the vote. Democrats also do well in two other regions of the state. Along the Front Range, a number of rich counties dominated by ski resorts lean Democratic; in southern Colorado, a number of thinly populated, Latino counties also lean Democratic. By and large, Obama won these areas.

McCain did best in the rural, conservative areas next to Kansas and Utah, where he won landslide margins. Voters in more populated El Paso County, home to conservative Colorado Springs, gave McCain a 19% margin, though far less than Bush's 35% margin in 2004. In Denver's suburbs, McCain won Douglas County and Weld County, both by comfortable margins.

However, Denver's suburbs swung heavily to the Democrats. Bush narrowly won Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, and Broomfield County (in addition to what McCain won) - all three flipped to the Democratic candidate in 2008.

Thus, Obama was able to take landslide margins amongst the Democratic base while shifting suburban Colorado to the Democratic side. While he still lost places such as Colorado Springs, he greatly improved on Kerry's showing in those areas.

Elsewhere in the state, Democrats also did well. Democratic Mark Udall defeated Republican Bob Schaffer for an open U.S. Senate seats; his vacated House seat was also won by Democrat Jared Polis. In addition, Democrat Betsy Markey defeated incumbent Republican Marilyn Musgrave, by 12 points for Colorado's 4th Congressional District seat. At the state level, Democrats picked up one seat in the Colorado Senate, but lost two seats in the Colorado House of Representatives.

As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last election in which Grand County voted for the Democratic candidate.

Results

United States presidential election in Colorado, 2008 [23]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 1,288,633 53.66% 9
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 1,073,629 44.71% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 13,352 0.56% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 10,898 0.45% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin Darrell Castle 6,233 0.26% 0
America's Independent Alan Keyes Brian Rohrbough 3,051 0.13% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 2,822 0.12% 0
New American Independent Frank McEnulty David Mangan 829 0.03% 0
Boston Tea Charles Jay Dan Sallis, Jr. 598 0.02% 0
HeartQuake '08 Jonathan Allen Jeffrey Stath 348 0.01% 0
Objectivist Tom Stevens Alden Link 336 0.01% 0
Socialist Brian Moore Stewart Alexander 226 0.01% 0
Socialism and Liberation Gloria La Riva Eugene Puryear 158 0.01% 0
Socialist Workers James Harris Alyson Kennedy 154 0.01% 0
Pacifist Bradford Lyttle Abraham Bassford 110 <0.01% 0
Prohibition Gene Amondson Leroy Pletten 85 <0.01% 0
Totals 2,401,462 100.00% 9
Voter turnout 65.0%

Results breakdown

By county

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Others% Others# Total
Adams County 58.22% 93,445 39.86% 63,976 1.92% 3,080 160,501
Alamosa County 56.01% 3,521 41.92% 2,635 2.07% 130 6,286
Arapahoe County 55.69% 148,224 42.78% 113,868 1.53% 4,064 266,156
Archuleta County 42.81% 2,836 54.91% 3,638 2.28% 151 6,625
Baca County 24.64% 536 72.28% 1,572 3.08% 67 2,175
Bent County 41.61% 799 56.09% 1,077 2.29% 44 1,920
Boulder County 72.29% 124,159 26.14% 44,904 1.57% 2,700 171,763
Broomfield, City and County of 54.89% 16,168 43.31% 12,757 1.79% 528 29,453
Chaffee County 49.01% 4,862 49.12% 4,873 1.87% 186 9,921
Cheyenne County 17.82% 198 80.11% 890 2.07% 23 1,111
Clear Creek County 57.78% 3,332 39.88% 2,300 2.34% 135 5,767
Conejos County 55.60% 2,154 42.67% 1,653 1.73% 67 3,874
Costilla County 73.36% 1,245 24.45% 415 2.18% 37 1,697
Crowley County 35.43% 552 62.64% 976 1.93% 30 1,558
Custer County 34.69% 912 63.60% 1,672 1.71% 45 2,629
Delta County 32.94% 5,084 65.23% 10,067 1.83% 283 15,434
Denver, City and County of 75.45% 204,882 23.04% 62,567 1.50% 4,084 271,533
Dolores County 30.32% 369 67.21% 818 2.47% 30 1,217
Douglas County 40.81% 61,960 58.03% 88,108 1.15% 1,751 151,819
Eagle County 60.91% 13,191 37.77% 8,181 1.32% 286 21,658
El Paso County 39.86% 108,899 58.69% 160,318 1.45% 3,958 273,175
Elbert County 28.92% 3,819 68.97% 9,108 2.11% 279 13,206
Fremont County 34.36% 6,844 63.60% 12,668 2.04% 407 19,919
Garfield County 49.20% 11,357 49.21% 11,359 1.59% 366 23,082
Gilpin County 59.07% 1,990 38.08% 1,283 2.85% 96 3,369
Grand County 48.59% 4,037 49.68% 4,128 1.73% 144 8,309
Gunnison County 62.64% 5,557 35.29% 3,131 2.06% 183 8,871
Hinsdale County 40.07% 240 57.43% 344 2.50% 15 599
Huerfano County 54.60% 1,989 43.37% 1,580 2.03% 74 3,643
Jackson County 30.31% 277 68.27% 624 1.42% 13 914
Jefferson County 53.60% 158,158 44.61% 131,628 1.79% 5,282 295,068
Kiowa County 20.89% 178 76.29% 650 2.82% 24 852
Kit Carson County 26.50% 912 71.32% 2,455 2.18% 75 3,442
La Plata County 57.39% 16,057 41.11% 11,503 1.50% 419 27,979
Lake County 61.93% 1,859 35.91% 1,078 2.17% 65 3,002
Larimer County 53.99% 89,823 44.26% 73,642 1.75% 2,910 166,375
Las Animas County 52.68% 3,562 45.64% 3,086 1.67% 113 6,761
Lincoln County 23.70% 546 74.52% 1,717 1.78% 41 2,304
Logan County 31.70% 2,846 66.86% 6,002 1.44% 129 8,977
Mesa County 34.48% 24,008 64.02% 44,578 1.50% 1,045 69,631
Mineral County 43.34% 270 53.61% 334 3.05% 19 623
Moffat County 26.95% 1,582 70.43% 4,135 2.62% 154 5,871
Montezuma County 39.42% 4,661 58.87% 6,961 1.72% 203 11,825
Montrose County 33.91% 6,495 63.69% 12,199 2.40% 459 19,153
Morgan County 37.26% 3,813 61.29% 6,272 1.46% 149 10,234
Otero County 43.98% 3,547 54.47% 4,393 1.55% 125 8,065
Ouray County 53.46% 1,636 44.67% 1,367 1.86% 57 3,060
Park County 45.29% 4,250 52.18% 4,896 2.53% 237 9,383
Phillips County 27.51% 622 71.34% 1,613 1.15% 26 2,261
Pitkin County 73.74% 7,349 24.92% 2,484 1.33% 133 9,966
Prowers County 32.22% 1,487 65.94% 3,043 1.84% 85 4,615
Pueblo County 56.74% 41,097 41.78% 30,257 1.48% 1,073 72,427
Rio Blanco County 20.81% 655 77.44% 2,437 1.75% 55 3,147
Rio Grande County 44.97% 2,448 53.82% 2,930 1.21% 66 5,444
Routt County 62.66% 8,270 35.80% 4,725 1.55% 204 13,199
Saguache County 62.91% 1,730 34.76% 956 2.33% 64 2,750
San Juan County 53.23% 264 43.95% 218 2.82% 14 496
San Miguel County 76.99% 3,349 21.45% 933 1.56% 68 4,350
Sedgwick County 34.64% 468 63.43% 857 1.92% 26 1,351
Summit County 65.79% 9,802 32.77% 4,883 1.44% 214 14,899
Teller County 34.97% 4,513 63.12% 8,146 1.91% 247 12,906
Washington County 21.05% 529 77.56% 1,949 1.39% 35 2,513
Weld County 44.67% 47,292 53.39% 56,526 1.93% 2,048 105,866
Yuma County 24.92% 1,117 73.30% 3,286 1.78% 80 4,483

By congressional district

While Barack Obama won the state’s popular vote and 9 electoral votes, John McCain carried four of the state’s seven congressional districts, including both seats held by Republicans and two seats held by Democrats.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 24.25% 74.20% Diana DeGette
2nd 34.10% 64.22% Mark Udall ( 110th Congress)
Jared Polis ( 111th Congress)
3rd 50.44% 47.90% John Salazar
4th 49.54% 48.66% Marilyn Musgrave ( 110th Congress)
Betsy Markey ( 111th Congress)
5th 58.57% 39.89% Doug Lamborn
6th 52.48% 46.17% Tom Tancredo ( 110th Congress)
Mike Coffman ( 111th Congress)
7th 39.49% 58.56% Ed Perlmutter

Electors

Technically the voters of Colorado cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Colorado is allocated 9 electors because it has 7 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 9 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 9 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. [24] 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 9 were pledged to Obama and Biden:

  1. Wellington Webb
  2. Terry Phillips
  3. Camilla Auger
  4. Pam Shaddock
  5. Jennifer Trujillo-Sanchez
  6. Don Strickland
  7. Ann Knollman
  8. Polly Baca
  9. Margaret Atencio

References

  1. ^ D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries
  2. ^ Presidential | The Cook Political Report Archived May 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Adnaan (2008-09-20). "Track the Electoral College vote predictions". The Takeaway. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  4. ^ Election Projection: 2008 Elections - Polls, Projections, Results
  5. ^ Electoral-vote.com: President, Senate, House Updated Daily
  6. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  7. ^ POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map - POLITICO.com
  8. ^ RealClearPolitics - Electoral Map
  9. ^ CQ Politics | CQ Presidential Election Maps, 2008 Archived June 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Electoral College Map". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  11. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  12. ^ "Winning the Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27.
  13. ^ roadto270
  14. ^ Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports™
  15. ^ Presidential Campaign Finance
  16. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  17. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  18. ^ Schaller, Thomas. Past Dixie. Simon & Schuster, 2006. 184.
  19. ^ Schaller, Thomas. Whistling Past Dixie. Simon & Schuster, 2006.
  20. ^ "Obama, McCain look west". Rocky Mountain News. 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  21. ^ RealClearPolitics - Election 2008 - Colorado: McCain vs. Obama
  22. ^ Williams, David (2008-08-27). "Palast uses DNC to tout 'Steal Back Your Vote' project". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  23. ^ "Colorado 2008 General Election". The Green Papers. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  24. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01.