2008 United States presidential election in Florida

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TurnoutIncrease75%[1]
 
Obama portrait crop.jpg
John McCain 2009 Official.jpg
Nominee Barack Obama John McCain
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Illinois Arizona
Running mate Joe Biden Sarah Palin
Electoral vote 27 0
Popular vote 4,282,074 4,045,624
Percentage 50.91% 48.10%

Florida 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 Florida took place on November 4, 2008, and was part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Voters chose 27 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Florida was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama by a 2.8% margin of victory, making it the first time since 1996 the state was won by a Democrat. Prior to the election, most news organizations considered this state a toss-up, or swing state, as it was heavily targeted by both campaigns. Despite the fact that polls showed John McCain in the lead throughout much of 2008, Obama took the momentum in the two months before Election Day. Obama ended up winning the state with 51 percent of the vote, including wins in four counties that George W. Bush won in 2004. Obama became the first Democrat to win a majority of Florida's popular vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

As of the 2020 presidential election, this is the last election in which Flagler County and Volusia County voted for the Democratic candidate. This is also the most recent election that Florida trended more Democratic than the previous one.

Primary elections

State-run primaries were held for the Democratic and Republican parties on January 29. The Green Party held its own primary on February 1.

Democratic primary

Main article: 2008 Florida Democratic presidential primary

Florida Democratic Presidential Primary Results – 2008
Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates*
Hillary Clinton 870,986 49.77% 52.5
Barack Obama 576,214 32.93% 33.5
John Edwards 251,562 14.38% 6.5**
Joe Biden 15,704 0.90% 0
Bill Richardson 14,999 0.86% 0
Dennis Kucinich 9,703 0.55% 0
Christopher Dodd 5,477 0.31% 0
Mike Gravel 5,275 0.30% 0
Totals 1,749,920 100.00% 92.5

*As awarded by the May 31, 2008, meeting of the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC).
**Subsequently, some Edwards delegates switched to Obama.

Republican primary

Main article: 2008 Florida Republican presidential primary

McCain prevailed in Florida's Republican presidential primary.[2]

Candidate Votes Percentage Counties Delegates
John McCain 701,761 36% 45 57
Mitt Romney 604,932 31.03% 18 0
Rudy Giuliani 286,089 14.68% 0 0
Mike Huckabee 262,681 13.47% 4 0
Ron Paul 62,887 3.23% 0 0
Fred Thompson* 22,668 1.16% 0 0
Alan Keyes 4,060 0.21% 0 0
Duncan Hunter* 2,847 0.15% 0 0
Tom Tancredo* 1,573 0.08% 0 0
Totals 1,949,498 100% 67 57

* Candidate dropped out of the race prior to primary.

Green primary

As part of the 2008 Green Party presidential primaries, the Green Party held a mail-in primary in Florida on February 1.[3]

Florida Green Party presidential primary (February 1, 2008)[3]
Candidate Votes Percentage National delegates
Cynthia McKinney - - 11
Ralph Nader - - 2
Kent Mesplay - - 1
Kat Swift - - 1
Total - 100% 16

Campaign

Republican George W. Bush of Texas carried Florida by a convincing margin of 5% in 2004 against Democrat John Kerry,[4] a much greater margin than in 2000 when Bush controversially won the state's 25 electoral votes against Democrat Al Gore of Tennessee by 537 votes.[5]

Early polls showed Barack Obama faring poorly in Florida. During the primary season, Barack Obama did not campaign there and argued against seating its delegates for the Democratic convention, unfavorable media attention. Moreover, Florida's demographics did not favor him. A haven for retirees, Florida lacked many of the younger voters who passionately supported the Democratic nominee. Thus, in early 2008, opinion polling showed Republican John McCain leading most polls, sometimes by double digits.[6]

Near the end of September, however, when the financial crisis of 2007–2008 became a more potent election issue, Obama proceeded to take the lead in most of the polls.[6] Florida was especially hard hit by the economic shock. It was a hotspot of new home building and suffered tremendously from the subprime lending collapse. In addition, the state was full of retirees depending on 401ks; these were badly hurt by the stock market's fall.

Predictions

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

Source Ranking
D.C. Political Report[7] Likely R
Cook Political Report[8] Toss-up
The Takeaway[9] Toss-up
Electoral-vote.com[10] Lean D (flip)
Washington Post[11] Lean D (flip)
Politico[12] Lean D (flip)
RealClearPolitics[13] Toss-up
FiveThirtyEight[11] Lean D (flip)
CQ Politics[14] Toss-up
The New York Times[15] Toss-up
CNN[16] Toss-up
NPR[11] Lean R
MSNBC[11] Toss-up
Fox News[17] Toss-up
Associated Press[18] Toss-up
Rasmussen Reports[19] Toss-up

Polling

Main article: Statewide opinion polling for the United States presidential election, 2008: Florida

The 3 poll averages showed McCain leading throughout most of the presidential election season, until the last month of October. The final 3 polls had Obama leading 49% to 48% with undecided voters to decide the election.[20]

Fundraising

McCain raised $14,826,093. Obama raised $19,963,592.[21]

Advertising and visits

Obama and his interest groups spent $36,990,591 in the state. McCain and his interest groups spent $17,133,501.[22] The Democratic ticket visited the state 12 times to the Republicans' 11 times.[23]

Analysis

Obama won the state and its 27 electoral votes on Election Day by a margin of about 2.82%.[24] Obama held a consistent lead for most of the night as returns came in, but the networks avoided calling the state for Obama until the conservative northwestern portion, most of which is in the Central Time Zone, began reporting its returns.

According to exit polling, Obama's win in the state can be attributed to winning 96% of the African-American vote, 57% of Latino voters, and 52% among Independents.[25]

Upset wins in the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas, where George W. Bush won in 2004, contributed to Obama's victory. In the former, Obama carried Orange County (which includes Orlando) by 19 points - the best margin for a Democratic candidate in 64 years.[26] Before Al Gore and John Kerry narrowly won it, Orange County hadn't supported a Democratic presidential nominee since Franklin D. Roosevelt's last run for president in 1944. He became the first Democrat to win Orlando in a presidential election since FDR. Obama also carried Osceola County near Orlando by a 20-point margin (Bush won it in 2004 52%-47%).[26] His strong performance in Central Florida more than likely helped the Democrats win two U.S. House seats in that region.

In the Tampa Bay region, Obama carried Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, by a 7-point margin.[27] Obama also won Pinellas County, home to St. Petersburg, by a 53%-45% margin.[27] Bush had narrowly carried the county by about 0.1% in 2004.[28]

Like most Democratic candidates, Obama dominated South Florida, winning Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties by comfortable margins. The vote from Miami-Dade came in very late in the evening, stopping the major networks from calling the state for Obama earlier in the evening. However, Obama maintained a lead of at least 125,000 votes from the moment polls closed in the state.

On the other hand, John McCain kept the state relatively close, losing by far less than his national average. In northern Florida, a Republican stronghold, McCain won the majority of counties by double-digit landslides. Along the panhandle, McCain routinely took over 70% of the vote.[29] Obama won only a handful of counties - most home to major colleges. Moreover, McCain improved on George Bush's performance in large parts of northern Florida - something he achieved in very few other areas of the country.[29] Obama's sole accomplishment involved Duval County (Jacksonville), where he narrowed George Bush's 61,580-vote victory to a far smaller 7,919 margin.[24][30] In 2008, Duval County had only supported a Democrat for president once since 1952, when Jimmy Carter carried it in 1976.

In addition, McCain was able to do well along the I-4 corridor in central Florida. This heavily populated, "swingy" region often determines which candidate wins in Florida's statewide elections. In 2008, the Republican candidate won most counties, including heavily populated areas such as Brevard County. However, McCain's unexpectedly poor showing in Orlando, a city that had voted Republican in presidential elections from 1948 to 2004, severely hurt his position in central Florida.

Democrats also picked up two seats from Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrat Alan Grayson defeated incumbent Republican Ric Keller for Florida's 8th Congressional District seat while Democrat Suzanne Kosmas ousted incumbent Republican Tom Feeney for Florida's 24th Congressional District seat. Republicans, however, were successful at winning back Republican Mark Foley's old congressional seat in Florida's 16th Congressional District seat when Tom Rooney defeated Democratic incumbent Tim Mahoney by a comfortable margin. At the state level, Democrats picked up two seats in the Florida House of Representatives as well.

Obama became the first ever Democrat to win the White House without carrying Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton or Sumter Counties, as well as the first to do so without carrying Levy County since James Buchanan in 1856, the first to do so without carrying Pasco County since John F. Kennedy in 1960, and the first to do so without carrying Glades, Madison, Hernando, Okeechobee, or Putnam Counties since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

Results

United States presidential election in Florida, 2008[31]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama 4,282,367 50.91% 27
Republican John McCain 4,046,219 48.1% 0
Ecology Ralph Nader 28,128 0.33% 0
Write-Ins 20,414 0.24% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr 17,220 0.20% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin 7,915 0.09% 0
Green Cynthia A. McKinney 2,887 0.03% 0
America's Independent Alan Keyes 2,550 0.03% 0
Socialism and Liberation Gloria LaRiva 1,516 0.02% 0
Boston Tea Charles Jay 797 0.01% 0
Socialist Workers Roger Calero 533 0.01% 0
Objectivist Thomas R. Stevens 419 0.00% 0
Socialist Brian Moore 405 0.00% 0
Prohibition Gene Amondson 293 0.00% 0
Republican Ron Paul 174 0.00% 0
Independent None of these candidates 23 0.00% 0
Totals 8,411,861 100.00% 27
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 75.0%

By county

Barack Hussein Obama II

Democratic

John Sidney McCain III

Republican

Various Candides

Other Parties

Total votes cast
County % # % # % # #
Alachua 60.0% 75,565 38.5% 48,513 1.5% 1,889 125,967
Baker 21.0% 2,327 78.2% 8,672 0.8% 88 11,087
Bay 29.1% 23,653 69.7% 56,683 1.3% 1,030 81,366
Bradford 29.3% 3,430 69.5% 8,136 1.2% 137 11,703
Brevard 44.2% 127,620 54.5% 157,589 1.3% 3,718 288,927
Broward 67.0% 492,640 32.3% 237,729 0.6% 4,722 735,091
Calhoun 29.1% 1,821 69.4% 4,345 1.6% 98 6,264
Charlotte 45.7% 39,031 52.9% 45,205 1.5% 1,263 85,499
Citrus 41.1% 31,460 57.1% 43,706 1.8% 1,343 76,509
Clay 28.2% 26,697 70.9% 67,203 0.9% 823 94,723
Collier 38.3% 54,450 60.8% 86,379 0.8% 1,159 141,988
Columbia 32.5% 9,171 66.2% 18,670 1.3% 374 28,215
DeSoto 43.1% 4,383 55.4% 5,632 1.5% 149 10,164
Dixie 26.4% 1,925 71.2% 5,194 2.4% 174 7,293
Duval 48.6% 202,618 50.5% 210,537 0.8% 3,538 416,693
Escambia 39.8% 61,572 59.0% 91,411 1.2% 1,891 154,874
Flagler 50.2% 24,726 48.7% 23,951 1.1% 540 49,217
Franklin 35.3% 2,134 63.1% 3,818 1.6% 97 6,049
Gadsden 69.1% 15,582 30.2% 6,811 0.6% 145 22,538
Gilchrist 25.5% 1,996 72.3% 5,656 2.1 167 7,819
Glades 41.1% 1,381 57.7% 1,938 1.2% 39 4,261
Gulf 29.8% 2,149 69.0% 4,980 1.2% 89 7,218
Hamilton 42.3% 2,364 56.9% 3,179 0.8% 44 5,596
Hardee 34.5% 2,568 64.0% 4,763 1.5% 111 7,442
Hendry 45.8% 4,998 52.9% 5,780 1.3% 139 10,917
Hernando 47.6% 41,886 51.1% 45,021 1.3% 1,179 88,257
Highlands 40.4% 18,135 58.4% 26,221 1.3% 566 44,922
Hillsborough 53.1% 272,963 45.9% 236,355 1.0% 5,177 514,501
Holmes 16.8% 1,446 81.6% 7,033 1.6% 137 8,616
Indian River 42.0% 29,710 56.7% 40,176 1.3% 916 70,802
Jackson 35.5% 7,671 63.5% 13,717 1.0% 225 21,613
Jefferson 51.2% 4,088 47.6% 3,797 1.2% 93 7,978
Lafayette 19.0% 642 79.3% 2,679 1.7% 56 3,377
Lake 42.8% 62,948 56.4% 82,802 0.8% 1,176 147,371
Lee 44.3% 119,701 54.7% 147,608 1.0% 2,688 269,977
Leon 61.6% 91,747 37.4% 55,705 1.0% 1,483 148,935
Levy 35.7% 6,711 62.6% 11,754 1.7% 324 18,789
Liberty 27.2% 895 71.2% 2,339 1.6% 52 3,286
Madison 47.9% 4,270 51.0% 4,544 1.0% 93 8,907
Manatee 45.9% 70,034 52.9% 80,721 1.1% 1,712 152,467
Marion 43.6% 70,839 55.1% 89,628 1.3% 2,075 162,542
Martin 42.7% 33,508 56.2% 44,143 1.1% 871 78,522
Miami-Dade 57.8% 499,831 41.7% 360,551 0.5% 4,254 864,636
Monroe 51.7% 20,907 46.9% 18,933 1.4% 562 40,403
Nassau 27.7% 10,618 71.4% 27,403 1.0% 371 38,392
Okaloosa 27.0% 25,872 71.8% 68,789 1.2% 1,120 95,781
Okeechobee 39.8% 5,108 58.9% 7,561 1.3% 170 12,839
Orange 59.0% 273,009 40.4% 186,832 0.6% 2,870 463,039
Osceola 59.4% 59,962 39.7% 40,086 0.9% 877 100,925
Palm Beach 61.1% 361,271 38.2% 226,037 0.7% 4,128 591,436
Pasco 47.5% 102,417 51.1% 110,104 1.4% 3,068 215,589
Pinellas 53.4% 248,299 45.2% 210,066 1.5% 6,787 465,152
Polk 46.3% 113,865 52.5% 128,878 1.2% 2,961 245,704
Putnam 39.8% 13,236 59.0% 19,637 1.2% 406 33,279
Saint Johns 33.7% 35,791 65.3% 69,222 1.0% 1,067 106,081
Saint Lucie 55.5% 67,125 43.4% 52,512 1.1% 1,334 120,974
Santa Rosa 25.5% 19,470 73.3% 55,972 1.2% 935 76,377
Sarasota 49.4% 102,686 49.5% 102,897 1.2% 2,426 208,005
Seminole 48.1% 99,335 50.9% 105,070 1.0% 2,021 206,426
Sumter 36.0% 17,655 63.0% 30,866 0.9% 462 48,983
Suwanee 27.8% 4,916 71.0% 12,534 1.2% 212 17,711
Taylor 29.9% 2,803 68.8% 6,457 1.4% 127 9,387
Union 24.6% 1,300 74.4% 3,940 1.0% 53 5,310
Volusia 52.2% 127,795 46.5% 113,938 1.3% 3,122 244,855
Wakulla 36.9% 5,311 61.7% 8,877 1.3% 188 14,376
Walton 26.4% 7,174 72.1% 19,561 1.5% 404 27,139
Washington 25.6% 2,863 73.2% 8,178 1.1% 126 11,167

Counties that flipped from Republican to Democratic

By congressional district

Despite the fact that Barack Obama won the state, John McCain carried 15 congressional districts in Florida, including two district occupied by Democrats. Obama carried 10 congressional districts, including two districts occupied by Republicans.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 66.66% 32.10% Jeff Miller
2nd 54.27% 44.58% Allen Boyd
3rd 25.99% 73.30% Corrine Brown
4th 61.35% 37.66% Ander Crenshaw
5th 55.57% 43.18% Ginny Brown-Waite
6th 56.04% 42.82% Cliff Stearns
7th 53.20% 45.68% John Mica
8th 46.77% 52.47% Ric Keller (110th Congress)
Alan Grayson (111th Congress)
9th 52.17% 46.57% Gus Bilirakis
10th 47.17% 51.30% Bill Young
11th 33.08% 65.93% Kathy Castor
12th 50.23% 48.84% Adam Putnam
13th 52.05% 46.76% Vern Buchanan
14th 56.76% 42.28% Connie Mack IV
15th 51.15% 47.67% Bill Posey
16th 51.80% 47.11% Tim Mahoney (110th Congress)
Tom Rooney (111th Congress)
17th 12.37% 87.25% Kendrick Meek
18th 48.55% 50.74% Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
19th 33.92% 65.42% Robert Wexler
20th 35.99% 63.25% Debbie Wasserman Schultz
21st 50.83% 48.68% Lincoln Díaz-Balart
22nd 47.59% 51.63% Ron Klein
23rd 16.83% 82.68% Alcee Hastings
24th 50.47% 48.52% Tom Feeney (110th Congress)
Suzanne Kosmas (111th Congress)
25th 50.25% 49.22% Mario Díaz-Balart

Electors

Main article: List of 2008 United States presidential electors

Technically the voters of Florida cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Florida is allocated 27 electors because it has 25 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 27 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 27 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.[32] 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 27 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden[33]

  1. Wills Chip Arndt
  2. Wayne Bailey
  3. Fred Balsera
  4. Terrie Bradv
  5. Karl Flagg
  6. Joe Gibbons
  7. Janet Goen
  8. James Golden
  9. Chris Hand
  10. Marlon Hill
  11. Tony Hill
  12. Joan Joseph
  13. Allan Katz
  14. Gena Keebler
  15. Joan Lane
  16. Caren Lobo
  17. Rick Minor
  18. Jared Moskowitz
  19. Angela Rodante
  20. Frank Sanchez
  21. Juanita Scott
  22. Geraldine Thompson
  23. Karen Thurman
  24. Carmen Torres
  25. Kirk Wagar
  26. Enoch Williams
  27. Frederica Wilson

References

  1. ^ "Voter Turnout". Florida Division of Elections. 2021. Archived from the original on 2015-06-02.
  2. ^ "January 29, 2008 Presidential Preference Republican Primary". Florida Department of State. Archived from the original on May 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  3. ^ a b "Size of State / Caucus Delegations". Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  4. ^ "CNN.com Election 2004". Retrieved 2008-12-14.
  5. ^ "2000 Presidential General Election Results - Florida". Retrieved 2008-12-14.
  6. ^ a b Jay Cost. "Florida: McCain vs. Obama". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  7. ^ "D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries". 2009-01-01. Archived from the original on 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  8. ^ "Presidential". 2015-05-05. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  9. ^ "Vote 2008 - The Takeaway - Track the Electoral College vote predictions". 2009-04-22. Archived from the original on 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  10. ^ "Electoral-vote.com: President, Senate, House Updated Daily". electoral-vote.com. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  11. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  12. ^ "POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map - POLITICO.com". www.politico.com. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  13. ^ "RealClearPolitics - Electoral Map". Archived from the original on 2008-06-05.
  14. ^ "CQ Presidential Election Maps, 2008". CQ Politics. Archived from the original on June 14, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  15. ^ Nagourney, Adam; Zeleny, Jeff; Carter, Shan (2008-11-04). "The Electoral Map: Key States". The New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  16. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs". CNN. 2008-10-31. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  17. ^ "Winning The Electoral College". Fox News. April 27, 2010.
  18. ^ "roadto270". hosted.ap.org. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  19. ^ "Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports™". www.rasmussenreports.com. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  20. ^ Election 2008 Polls - Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
  21. ^ "Presidential Campaign Finance". Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  22. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  23. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  24. ^ a b "Florida Department of State Division of Elections: November 4, 2008 General Election". Florida Secretary of State. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  25. ^ "Local Exit Polls - Election Center 2008 - CNN". Retrieved 2008-12-14.
  26. ^ a b Dave Leip. "Presidential General Election Map Comparison - Florida". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  27. ^ a b Dave Leip. "2008 Presidential General Election Results - Florida". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  28. ^ Dave Leip. "2004 Presidential General Election Results - Florida". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  29. ^ a b "Election Results 2008". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2004. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  30. ^ "Florida Department of State Division of Elections: November 2, 2004 General Election". Florida Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  31. ^ Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
  32. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  33. ^ Florida Certificate of Ascertainment, page 3 of 7.. National Archives and Record Administration.