United States Presidential Election, 2008

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[[Image:Gp_ppl_obama_mccain_flag-capitol.jpg|right|thumb|300px|Barack Obama and John McCain]]
[[Image:2008 US Electoral College Polling Map.png|right|300px|thumb|Election Results]]
The '''2008 United States Presidential Election''' took place on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.,<ref></ref> with Barack Obama being voted in as the next President of the United States. [[Barack Obama|Senator Barack Obama]] of [[Illinois]], the [[Democratic Party]] nominee, with Senator [[Joe Biden]] of [[Delaware]] as his Vice Presidential running mate defeated Senator [[John McCain]] of [[Arizona]], the Republican candidate, and his Vice Presidential nominee, [[Alaska]] Governor [[Sarah Palin]].  
==Differences between 2008 and other elections==
===Young voters===
In 2004, 64% of voters aged 18-29 18–29 were registered to vote. This year 75% of voters in that age group are registered. This demographic usually favors Democrats.
== Fewer Uncommitted ==
== Election Day ==
The turnout was about normal, except for higher than usual rates among blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and voters under 30--all 30—all Obama groups. The turnout of evangelicals and whites was similar to 2004. There have been allegations of Democrats driving voters around to different voting stations, and as these are Obama groups, this would strengthen the voter turnout of this demographic.
==Opinion polling==
{| class="wikitable"
|[http Gallup Tracking Traditional]
| 10/31 - 11/02
| 2516 LV
|[http Gallup Tracking Expanded]
| 10/31 - 11/02
| 2480 LV
The trends heavily favored the Democrats, especially after their major gains in 2006. Overall, Democrat candidates have a +10% advantage over Republicans in a 'generic' election - the current unpopular President is a Republican, and the economy is treading water. Also, based on statistical percentages of articles on each candidate, Obama was being focused on by the press far more than McCain. When McCain chastised Obama for his lack of foreign policy experience and that he hadn't been to Iraq or Afghanistan in years, Obama's campaign set up for him to take a trip to both countries. While this is expected in politics, the decision of every major network to send a team of reporters to follow him was unprecedented. Obama spoke to 200,000 people in Berlin in a highly covered speech. McCain spoke to 50,000 in Buffalo shortly thereafter and barely got a whisper. Obama's numbers started to rise, but a good deal of the populace was noticing the disparity as 48% of those polled felt the press was trying to help Obama win.
Obama seemed pleased to coast on his advantages, but McCain realized he needed to shake things up. He scored by pushing offshore drilling for oil during a time when oil prices were climbing almost daily. Obama rejected the idea, but the poll numbers started to show a greater percentage of Americans warming to the concept<ref>[ Offshore Drilling poll]</ref> and McCain's numbers started to improve. Obama announced he would accept some measure of offshore drilling, and McCain's momentum was halted and his gains retreated by a couple of points. McCain started an ad campaign that acknowledged Obama's celebrity status, but asking what it meant. A few days later at the start of August he called out Obama for 'playing the race card' when Obama made a reference to McCain and Bush trying to scare people because he (Obama) doesn't look like other Presidents on dollar bills. The Democrats fired back, but quickly let the issue drop when poll numbers showed that most voters did consider Obama's statement to be racist.<ref>[]</ref>. The bounce for Obama after the Berlin speech shrank back to pre-trip levels. While Obama continued to enjoy a slight lead in the polls, McCain continued to keep the race close without either candidate breaking away.
In mid-August, both candidates came together at the invitation of Pastor [[Rick Warren]] where each was asked a series of the same questions dealing both with political and personal views. While not a debate, it was the first televised forum where both candidates had a chance to express themselves and their positions. Obama hoped to appeal to Christian conservatives by expressing a religious side while McCain hoped to solidify the conservative base by sharing his own conservative and religious credentials. The difference in style between the two was evident as Obama spent more time explaining and expounding on his positions while McCain was more straight-forward straightforward and received more laughs with his candid speaking style. The polling numbers continued as they had been.
There was a bounce at the start of the Democratic convention, but not what was expected as McCain suddenly drew even in the race. The friction between Hillary Clinton and Obama as well as the perceived slight of Hillary when Biden was chosen as the Vice Presidential candidate hurt Obama at a time when his approval was expected to climb. McCain then made a mistake by airing an ad of Hillary Clinton that 'supported' him. Clinton was set to speak at the convention and it was no secret that there was bad blood between her and Obama and it was widely believed that her support for Obama would be lukewarm at best. Instead, apparently galvanized by McCain's hubris before her speech, she came out strongly for Obama and rallied those who supported her. Obama's pre-convention edge returned. Obama followed it up with a very strong speech the next day in a huge stadium with fireworks and a Greek temple. [[Dick Morris]], a former Bill Clinton political strategist who gave advice to the Republicans in 2008, felt that Obama had done such a good job reaching out to the groups that he needed that he would pull ahead by double-digits. In order to suppress the bounce from the convention, McCain announced his Vice Presidential candidate the next day, a woman, Alaskan governor [[Sarah Palin]]. The bounce for Obama was muted at first, but increased in the following days to surpass pre-convention levels, especially as Sarah Palin came under heavy attack in the media.
The edge continued as the Republican convention began. Losing a day to the hurricane, their shortened convention came out strong as well, emphasizing John McCain as a patriot and a maverick for change who is tested and will do what is right for the country regardless of political affiliation. It was notable for the secondary role that the sitting President played, talking only briefly and barely being mentioned after that. The convention tied McCain to [[Ronald Reagan]], a popular Republican President who was able to gain the support of a good number of conservative Democrats, an ability that McCain would badly need to emulate. While the convention had very high ratings starting with Palin's well received speech, it was unclear what the impact would be in the polls. Indeed , Obama continued to lead directly afterward, but that soon changed with a turn of about 8 points and a slim lead for McCain. The Republican convention had actually more than balanced out the powerful Democratic convention.
While Obama had stated that his campaign would avoid negative advertising, as it became clear that the bounce from the convention was continuing to last and he might lose the election, his campaign turned more forcefully to negative advertising. In ads aired since the Republican convention through mid September, McCain's ads were about Obama 56% of the time, but Obama's ads were about his opponents 77% of the time.<ref></ref> Obama also received a large boost from the press which vigorously attacked McCain, but even more so Palin. Obama appeared on ''[[O'Reilly Factor|The O'Reilly Factor]]'' and was treated with civility and respect, even if not with agreement. McCain and his wife appeared on ''The View'' and were treated to openly antagonistic attacks. The constant negative barrage and reporting slowly moved the numbers back to even.
Stemming the tide of the McCain campaign's lead became a strong swing for Obama with a series of events that went to the Democratic nominee's favor. The polls began to tack to Obama's favor with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and a subsequent 500-point drop in the Dow Jones Index. Then, President Bush sounded a major alarm on the economy and proposed a huge 700 billion dollar rescue plan for the mortgage industry, which sent shock waves through the American populace and swept them with even more fear on the economic picture. Bush called both Presidential nominees to meet with him and Congress. It gave Obama a boost in legitimacy, his previous Achilles' heel. While he had a weak record in accomplishments and showing leadership, the chance to be propelled to a position of prominence handed it to him on a silver platter. Moreover, the plan was more problematic among Republicans than it was among Democrats, giving Obama another boost merely by supporting it while putting McCain on more shaky ground. Both candidates supported it once again blurring McCain's advantage in experience if both men were seen as interchangeable in their reaction.
McCain chose to suspend his campaign until a deal on the bailout rescue package was reached, a mistake. The Democrats could add pork to the plan and make it even more unpalatable to the Republicans, and they did. As the first debate loomed and no deal had been reached, McCain was in a quandary. He chose to attend the debate under the view that the plan was well under way to being passed. After the debate the plan was actually defeated and wouldn't be adopted, with more changes, until the following week.
McCain's debate with Obama went well and he was viewed as having done better than expected. Unfortunately for him, Obama was also viewed as doing better than expected and was seen as looking Presidential, further cementing his standing and locking in a lead in the polls that had become rather substantial. The Vice Presidential debate was the most watched in history and Palin was given high marks for her performance, but unfortunately for the Republican ticket, Biden was also on his game that night and also came across well. There were no changes in the polling numbers and the number of undecided voters began to quickly dwindle. The second and third debates caused little change as well.
With Obama spending 110 million dollars on TV advertising in October alone, including 30 minute specials on each of the major networks, McCain was hard pressed to make up the necessary ground to win the election after being outspent by 3 to 1 for TV adds over that time period. He couldn't count on regular TV to help put in a good word for him either, as late night political jokes are running at a pace of 7 jokes against McCain/Palin for every 1 joke against Obama/Biden and a study of news stories on McCain and Obama since the end of the conventions found that 57% of news stories about McCain were negative while only 29% were for Obama.<ref></ref> A later study by the independent Pew Research Center found that the discrepency discrepancy had grown even worse. McCain had 57% of the articles about him negative while only 14% were positive, while Obama had more positive articles than negative. The only network to achieve a balance, 40% negative for both, was [[Fox News]].<ref>http,2933,445846,00.html</ref>
== General Strategy ==
Democrats believe it is their race to lose, but also realize they had a good chance to win the last two Presidential elections and came up short each time. General wisdom also states that a poor economy favors Obama, so they will emphasize the dire times in this area. As in past elections, differences between those who have obtained a high income level and those who have not will be emphasized. In fact, the Democratic strategy in many ways mirrors that of their strategy in 1992 when the Democrat-controlled Congress deliberately caused economic disruption, knowing full well that the public would blame sitting president [[George H.W. Bush]], and thereby allowing [[Bill Clinton]] to win that year's presidential race.
Favored by the young, Democrats will try hard to encourage and get out the young vote, a task that has proven more difficult than expected in the last two election cycles. To their advantage, Obama made his vice presidential pick via text message to cell phone numbers registered on the site. The announcement went to 3 million cell phones, a useful database for "[[Get Out The Vote]]" (GOTV) efforts, when voters may not be home or reachable on their [[landline]].
As an extension of the DNC's strategy in the 2006 elections, led by [[Howard Dean]], Barack Obama has been working towards a "50-state strategy." The campaign is working to place campaign offices throughout the country with a focus on voter registration. The increase in the rolls of Democratic voters from the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Obama played out well for the Democrats and puts pressure on Senator McCain even in typically red states, and more specifically, "Lean Republican" states, to use the Cook Political Report's term. In addition, with a fundraising advantage, Obama is airing ads in those tight states forcing McCain to make decisions about whether to use funds to match ads and campaign efforts in those states or rely on historical results that those states will support him and focus funds in traditional toss-up states instead.
Barack Obama had a significant edge over Hillary Clinton in the fundraising department during their contest for the Democratic nomination, but both actually set records for raising money and both raised far more money than John McCain. McCain didn’t didn't have to spend as much since he locked up the Republican nomination much earlier than Obama locked up the Democratic. Both Obama and McCain said they would accept government funds--which funds—which would also cap how much the candidates could raise on their own--but own—but Obama, who could presumably raise more through his own sources, changed his mind and later declined. Much of McCain’s McCain's war chest will come from the Republican Party in general, which has more money to spend than their Democratic counterparts. McCain’s McCain's campaign raised $47 million in August, a very sizable figure for him so far and a personal record, but not as strong as Obama’s Obama's best months. In the same time period, Obama set a record with $66 million. Obama, still having an edge in fundraising that has continued throughout his run for the Presidency, saw $10 million collected the day after Sarah Palin’s Palin's strongly received convention speech, a new one day record.<ref>[ After Palin speech, Obama has record $10 million day]</ref> The Palin announcement has been good for John McCain's fundraising as well.
Obama set a new record of $150 million raised in September and over $600 million overall.<ref></ref> Obama's camp does not release information on who contributes to the campaign.
===Democratic National Convention===
''{{Main article: [[|2008 Democratic National Convention]]''}}
The 2008 Democratic National Convention was held in [[Denver]], [[Colorado]], from August 25 to August 27 at Pepsi Center. There, Senator Obama and his running mate were selected to be the party nominee's. Barack Obama will accepted the party's nomination in front of a crowd of more than 75,000 in a free, open event held at INVESCO Field at Mile High, in a platform resemblant to a Greek temple. House Speaker [[Nancy Pelosi]] is the Permanent Chair of the Convention.
===Republican National Convention===
''{{Main article: [[|2008 Republican National Convention]]''}}
The 2008 Republican National Convention was held in [[Saint Paul]], [[Minnesota]] from September 1 ([[Labor Day]]) until September 4. The presumptive nominee was Senator McCain. The location has political significance in that [[Minnesota]] will likely be a close state during the general election, as will its neighboring states [[Wisconsin]] and [[Iowa]].
The convention schedule had to be altered due to the upcoming landfall of [[Hurricane Gustav]]. The first day almost entirely focused on raising money for Hurricane relief. This led to a shortened three day convention instead of four and there was some shuffling of who was speaking on which day to accommodate the suddenly shortened time span. In a surprise, George W. Bush was only delivered an eight -minute speech by satellite. In another surprise Sarah Palin's speech was watched by as many people as saw Obama give his acceptance speech on the closing night of the Democratic convention, as over 40 million people tuned in.<ref></ref> She was considered the highlight of the convention, even surpassing John McCain's speech the next day, and was noted for doing an exceptional job. Recognizing the strong asset that they have in her, the Republicans made reference to her many times on the last day of the convention. McCain, not known for being comfortable reading prepared speeches in a convention hall, delivered a solid speech. While Obama continued to enjoy a lead in the polls, it changed quickly thereafter to a slight McCain-Palin edge. The Republican convention more than canceled out a very powerful Democratic convention. ====Leftist violence====[[File:SDS at the RNC.jpg|left|thumb|290px|Poster circulated by [[community organizer]]s. Other posters depicted rock throwers with the caption, "Shut Down the RNC!," dead elephants, and derogatory and demeaning comments about gay Republicans. [] ]]
[[Progressives for Obama]] shares a huge membership overlap with the Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), a group of former [[Students for a Democratic Society]] (SDS) members and sympathisers. MDS re-founded SDS in 2006 for a new generation of college students and functions as a support group for SDS's 130 college chapters. Independent researcher Trvor Trevor Louden refers to MDS as "the brains behind the SDS brawn." The reconstituted SDS was very prominent in the violence at the Republican National Convention at St Paul Minnesota.<ref>[ Obama File 30: Former Terrorists [[Bill Ayers]] and [[Bernardine Dohrn]] Involved in Key Pro-Obama Organisation,] Trevor Louden, New Zeal blog, September 21, 2008.</ref> The founder of [[ACORN]], Wade Rathke, denouncd<ref>[ Common Ground Infiltrator,] Wade Rathke: Chief Organizer Blog, January 31, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2010.</ref> an FBI informer who foiled a [[terrorist]] plot to kill delegates at the Republican Convention.<ref>[ ACORN Founder Wade Rathke Wanted Terrorist Attack on Republican Convention to Succeed,] Matthew Vadum, American Spectator, 9.13.09</ref>
==Vice Presidential Candidates==
===Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate===
On August 23rd23, Senator Barack Obama announced, via text message to 3 million cell phone numbers of his supporters, his nomination of Joseph Biden to Vice President. Biden's selection was considered to be a prudent move by Obama, filling a hole in his own foreign policy experience that McCain could exploit. With the implosion of [[John Edwards]], Biden was widely expected to be the choice. In order to help build up suspense, Biden said he was not chosen when he spoke to the press the day before, only to be shown as the Vice Presidential candidate the next day. A long-term senator and Washington insider with over two decades of service in the Senate, his earlier plagarism 1988 plagiarism scandal was and frequent gaffes (including one in which he insulted Obama in a racist manner during the 2008 election) were deemed to be less of a negative than the positive that his strong experience credentials could bring to the race.
[[Image:06 biden.gif|thumb|left|100px|Joseph Biden]]
===Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate===
[[Image:Sarah Palin.jpg|thumb|left|100px|thumb]]
*Governor [[Sarah Palin]] of [[Alaska]] was announced as John McCain's choice early on Friday, August 29th29, the day after the Democratic convention ended. A surprise choice not even considered by the press to be on McCain's short list, her selection caught the political world off guard. It had been expected that [[Mitt Romney]] would earn the honor, but McCain had other ideas. At first denigrated by the people in the Obama campaign, Obama's own statement was one of cautious neutrality to feel out what impact her selection would have on the race.<br><br><br><br>
In an interesting twist, the selection of the Vice Presidential candidates changed the dynamics of the race. By Obama picking Biden, he helped to fill the hole that McCain had been attacking dealing with a lack of foreign policy experience. McCain's strongest point, experience, would lose some of its luster. But the selection of Biden, and the passing over of Hillary Clinton, left another opening. By aligning himself with someone who has been a Democratic stalwart, Obama's claim to change became less pronounced. McCain seized upon that to select a Vice President that no one expected, and a woman, and steal some of the Democratic thunder. Her lack of foreign policy experience would cut into the experience angle that had been in play earlier, but her own maverick streak in becoming governor by ousting another Republican, combined with John McCain's maverick choice in selecting her led to a new emphasis on McCain's own maverick past. Palin arguably had more "executive" / managerial experience than either McCain, Biden or, notably, Obama. Suddenly he saw an opportunity to steal the moniker of change that Obama had been wearing, and he went for it. Such a change in position occurring from the Vice Presidential selection is rare in Presidential politics.
===Presidential Debates===
''{{Main Article: [[|2008 Presidential Debates]]''}}
There have been three [[Presidential Debates|presidential debates]] for the 2008 election season. The first debate on September 26th 26 discussed "Foreign Policy & National Security" and also dealt at length with the economic crisis. The result was a statistical draw where both candidates did better than expected in the eyes of the public. The longer term impact worked out well for Obama who already had a lead going in, and benefited from solidifying that position.
The second debate on October 7th7, followed a town hall-style. The questions came from audience members and the Internet, as chosen by the moderator. Again the result was a statistical draw as far as who was considered to be the winner. But with time running out for McCain, he needed something to make the people move his way, and that required a clear breakthrough that never happened
The final debate was held on October 15th 15 concerned "Domestic and Economic Policy." Both candidates were again viewed as having done well, which was a tactical defeat for McCain as the poll numbers showed only small changes.
===Vice Presidential Debate===
There was one vice presidential debate held on October 2nd2. Palin did much better than expected, but Biden was also in top form. No clear winner emerged and the poll numbers remained largely unchanged, a strategic win for the Democratic ticket that only had to maintain their lead to win the election. The number of people who watched the debate was an alltime record for a Vice Presidential debate, and was viewed by more people than any of the three Presidential debates.
==Third parties and Independents==
''For expanded primary information , see [[United States Presidential Election, 2008 - Primaries]]''
The primary season for both the [[Republican Party]] and the [[Democratic Party]] officially began on January 3, 2008 with the [[Iowa Caucus]]es and ended on June 3, 2008.<ref></ref> The 2008 election cycle saw a major shift in the primary election calendar, frontloading many primaries into early February.<ref></ref>
John McCain had to get his footing at first, but was pretty much assured the Republican nomination after [[Super Tuesday]]. Barack Obama had a much tougher road, but rode out a string of victories in February to eventually outlast Clinton and take the nomination. During that time he had raised more money than any other candidate in history giving him a huge boost, a trend that would continue into the general election.
==See Alsoalso==
*[[Previous Breaking News/2008 Presidential Election|Articles about the '''2008 Presidential Election''' from previous "Breaking News"]]
*[[Barack Hussein Obama 2008 Presidential campaign]]
*[[John McCain 2008 Presidential Campaign]]
*[[Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign]]
==Further reading==
* Abramowitz, Allen I. and Larry J. Sabato. ''The 2008 Elections'' (2008), state by state statistical analysis
* Balz, Dan, and Haynes Johnson. ''The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election'' (2009), by leading reporters with inside information
* Nelson, Michael. ''The Elections of 2008'' (2009), factual summary [http except and text search]* Todd, Chuck, and Sheldon Gawiser. ''How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election'' (2009) analysis of exit polls for each state [http excerpt and text search]
== References ==
{{2008 presidential candidates}}
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