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2008 United States presidential election in Nevada

The 2008 United States presidential election in Nevada was part of the 2008 United States presidential election, which took place on November 4, 2008, throughout all 50 states and D.C.. Voters chose 5 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

United States presidential election in Nevada, 2008

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  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 5 0
Popular vote 533,736 412,827
Percentage 55.15% 42.65%

Nevada presidential election results 2008.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush

Elected President

Barack Obama

Nevada was won by Democratic nominee Barack Obama with a 12.5% margin of victory. Both campaigns heavily campaigned here in 2008, as although Obama held a lead in the polls, it was not unreasonable to think that John McCain, a nationally prominent Senator from neighboring Arizona had a legitimate chance of having Nevada swing to his corner. Most news organization considered the state as Obama would win, or a blue state, but some still considered it as a swing state during the last week of the election.[1] In the past four presidential elections, the margin of victory has always been below 5 percentage points. George W. Bush carried Nevada twice in 2000 and 2004 while Bill Clinton won the Silver State both times as well in 1992 and 1996. With the anti-Republican sentiment growing nationwide and the fact that personally, McCain barely campaigned in Nevada, Nevada swung wildly into the Democratic column in 2008 as Barack Obama carried the state by 12.50 points over John McCain, receiving 55.15% of the total statewide vote to McCain's 42.65%. It was the first time since 1988 that the margin of victory was in double digits, and the first and so far only time since 1964 when the margin was Democratic.





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


In the beginning of the general election, it was a dead heat. McCain did win several polls. However, since September 30, Obama swept every other poll taken in the state and tied one poll. The final 3 polls averaged 50% to 44% in favor of Obama.[14] On election day, Obama won the state with 55% and by a double-digit margin of victory, a much better performance than polls showed.


John McCain raised a total of $1,980,771 in the state. Barack Obama raised $2,328,659.[15]

Advertising and visitsEdit

Obama and his interest groups spent $9,622,022. McCain and his interest groups spent $6,184,427.[16] Each campaign visited the state 7 times.[17]


Nevada was somewhat of a swing state that voted for the winner of every presidential election from 1912 with the exceptions of 1976 when the state voted for Republican Gerald Ford over Democrat Jimmy Carter and 2016 when Nevada voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton over eventual winner Donald Trump. In 2008, McCain of neighboring Arizona was leading most polls taken March until the end of September (around the time of the 2008 financial crisis), when Obama of Illinois started taking a lead in almost every poll conducted from the beginning of October on, some of which in double digits.[18] The subprime mortgage crisis hit Nevada hard, and McCain's statement that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" undoubtedly hurt him in a state that was devastated by the economic meltdown.

When the actual 2008 election came, Obama carried the Silver State by a very safe margin of 12.50 percentage points, larger than most polls anticipated. This was due almost entirely to Obama winning the state's three largest jurisdictions: Clark County, home to Las Vegas; Washoe County, which contains Reno; and the independent city of Carson City,[19] which combine for 88% of Nevada's total population. Hispanics also played a large role in Obama's landslide victory. According to exit polling, they composed 15% of voters in Nevada and broke for Obama by a three-to-one margin.[20] With their support, Obama carried Washoe County by a comfortable 12-point margin and a somewhat narrower one-point margin in Carson City. These two areas hadn't gone Democratic since Lyndon B. Johnson won them in 1964. Obama also won Clark County by double digits, the first time a Democrat won the county by more than single-digits since 1964. McCain ran up huge margins in most of the more rural counties, which have been solidly Republican ever since Richard Nixon's 1968 win.[21] However, it was not nearly enough to overcome his deficit in Clark, Washoe and Carson City. Indeed, Obama's 122,000-vote margin in Clark County would have been enough by itself to carry the state, and Nevada voted more Democratic than the nation as a whole for the first time since 1960 and second since 1944.[22]

At the same time, Democrats picked up a U.S. House seat in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, which is based in Clark County and consists of most of the Las Vegas suburbs. Democratic State Senator Dina Titus defeated incumbent Republican Jon Porter by 5.14 points with several third parties receiving a small but significant proportion of the total statewide vote. At the state level, Democrats picked up one seat in the Nevada Assembly and picked up two seats in the Nevada Senate, giving the Democrats control of both chambers of the Nevada Legislature for the first time in decades.

As of the 2016 presidential election, this is the last time that Carson City voted for the Democratic candidate.


United States presidential election in Nevada, 2008
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 533,736 55.15% 5
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 412,827 42.65% 0
None of these Candidates None of these Candidates 6,267 0.65% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 6,150 0.64% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 4,263 0.44% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin Darrell Castle 3,194 0.33% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 1,411 0.15% 0
Totals 967,848 100.00% 5
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 49.7%

Results breakdownEdit

By countyEdit

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Others% Others# Total
Carson City 49.08% 11,623 48.22% 11,419 2.69% 638 23,680
Churchill County 32.95% 3,494 64.42% 6,832 2.63% 279 10,605
Clark County 58.48% 380,765 39.48% 257,078 2.04% 13,299 651,142
Douglas County 41.20% 10,672 56.55% 14,648 2.25% 584 25,904
Elko County 28.35% 4,541 68.47% 10,969 3.18% 509 16,019
Esmeralda County 23.69% 104 69.02% 303 7.29% 32 439
Eureka County 19.33% 144 75.70% 564 4.97% 37 745
Humboldt County 33.70% 1,909 63.31% 3,586 2.98% 169 5,664
Lander County 27.45% 577 69.74% 1,466 2.81% 59 2,102
Lincoln County 24.58% 518 71.10% 1,498 4.32% 91 2,107
Lyon County 39.83% 8,405 57.59% 12,154 2.58% 544 21,103
Mineral County 46.90% 1,082 49.02% 1,131 4.07% 94 2,307
Nye County 41.31% 7,226 54.53% 9,537 4.16% 728 17,491
Pershing County 36.66% 673 58.55% 1,075 4.79% 88 1,836
Storey County 45.57% 1,102 51.57% 1,247 2.85% 69 2,418
Washoe County 55.25% 99,671 42.61% 76,880 2.14% 3,856 180,407
White Pine County 32.01% 1,230 63.51% 2,440 4.48% 172 3,842

By congressional districtEdit

Barack Obama carried two of the state's three congressional districts both held by Democrats while John McCain carried the one and only congressional district held by a Republican.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 34.25% 63.68% Shelley Berkley
2nd 48.79% 48.76% Dean Heller
3rd 42.59% 55.35% Jon Porter (110th Congress)
Dina Titus (111th Congress)


Technically the voters of Nevada cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Nevada 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.

The following were the members of the Electoral College from the state. All 5 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:[24]

  1. Maggie Carlton
  2. Tahis Castro
  3. Ruby Duncan
  4. Ron Hibble
  5. Theresa Navarro


  1. ^ a b Vote 2008 - The Takeaway - Track the Electoral College vote predictions Archived April 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries
  3. ^ Presidential | The Cook Political Report Archived May 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ President, Senate, House Updated Daily
  5. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  6. ^ POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map -
  7. ^ RealClearPolitics - Electoral Map
  8. ^ CQ Politics | CQ Presidential Election Maps, 2008 Archived October 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Electoral College Map". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  10. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  11. ^ "Winning the Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27.
  12. ^ roadto270
  13. ^ Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports™
  14. ^ Election 2008 Polls - Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
  15. ^ "Presidential Campaign Finance". Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-08-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  17. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  18. ^ "RealClearPolitics - Election 2008 - Nevada". Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  19. ^ "CNN Election Center 2008 - Nevada Results". Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  20. ^ Cost, Jay; Sean Trende (2009-01-18). "Election Review, Part 3: The West". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  21. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  22. ^ Counting the Votes; Nevada
  23. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. ^

See alsoEdit