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2008 United States presidential election in Delaware

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2008 United States presidential election in Delaware

← 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 3 0
Popular vote 255,459 152,374
Percentage 61.94% 36.92%

Delaware Presidential Election Results 2008.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush

Elected President

Barack Obama

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

Delaware was won by Democrat nominee Barack Obama with a 25.0% margin of victory, the best-ever result for a Democratic presidential candidate in Delaware as of 2020. Obama's large margin of victory was aided by his running mate, Joe Biden, a longtime U.S. senator from the state and the first Delawarean to appear on a national presidential ticket. During the campaign, Delaware was considered a safe blue state, and in the end only one county of Delaware's three counties, Sussex County, went for McCain, by a margin of approximately 7,000 votes or 8.58%.

Democratic primary

The Democratic Primary was held on Super Tuesday, February 5, 2008, and had a total of 15 delegates at stake.[1] The winner in each of Delaware's subdivisions was awarded those subdivisions' delegates, totaling 10. Another 5 delegates were awarded to the statewide winner, Barack Obama. The 15 delegates represented Delaware at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. 8 other unpledged delegates, known as superdelegates, also attended the convention and cast their votes as well.



2008 Delaware Democratic Presidential Primary Results
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates
Democratic Barack Obama 51,148 53.07% 9
Democratic Hillary Clinton 40,760 42.29% 6
Democratic Joe Biden 2,863 2.97% 0
Democratic John Edwards 1,241 1.29% 0
Democratic Dennis Kucinich 192 0.20% 0
Democratic Christopher Dodd 170 0.18% 0
Democratic Joe Biden 440 0.12% 0
Totals 96,374 100.00% 15
Voter turnout %


Barack Obama's win in the Delaware Democratic Primary can be traced to a number of factors. According to the exit polls, 64% of voters in the Delaware Democratic Primary were Caucasian and they favored Clinton by a margin of 56-40 compared to the 28% of African American voters who backed Obama by a margin of 86-9. Obama won all age groups except senior citizens ages 65 and over who strongly backed Clinton by a margin of 56-38. Obama also won middle class and more affluent voters making over $30,000 while Clinton won lower middle class and less affluent voters making less than $30,000. Obama also won higher-educated voters (college graduates 60-35; postgraduate studies 66-32) while high school graduates backed Clinton 51-44; both candidates evenly split voters who had some college and/or an associate degree 47-47. Registered Democrats favored Obama 54-42 while Independents also backed him by a margin of 50-44; he also won all ideological groups. Regarding religion, Obama won all major denominations except Roman Catholics who backed Clinton with a 60-35 margin – Obama won Protestants 51-47, other Christians 71-24, and atheists/agnostics 60-35.

Obama performed best in New Castle County, the most populous and urban part of the state which contains Wilmington as well as several African Americans, which he won by a 56.49-39.69 margin of victory. He also narrowly won neighboring Kent County to the south, which contains the state capital of Dover, with 51.76% of the vote. Clinton won Sussex County in Southern Delaware, the more rural and conservative part of the state, with 52.73% of the vote.

Republican primary

The Republican primary was held on February 5 (Super Tuesday). A total of 18 delegates were selected. The Delaware Republican Party rallied behind John McCain, and was the declared winner of the primary election after successfully taking all 3 Delaware counties. McCain was followed by Mitt Romney in second and then by Mike Huckabee in third.


Candidates Rudy Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, and Tom Tancredo had dropped out of the presidential race before the Delaware primary.


100% of precincts reporting[2][3]
Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates
John McCain 22,628 45.04% 18
Mitt Romney 16,344 32.53% 0
Mike Huckabee 7,706 15.34% 0
Ron Paul 2,131 4.24% 0
Rudy Giuliani* 1,255 2.5% 0
Tom Tancredo* 175 0.35% 0
Total 50,237 100% 18

*Candidate withdrew before primary


McCain was the expected favorite in the 2008 primary among the Republican candidates; his campaign was led by Delaware's only House representative, Rep. Michael N. Castle.

In Delaware, 27,412 of the 102, 455 registered Republicans voted in the election, resulting in a 26.76% turn-out rate.

Winners of Previous Primaries



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


Obama won every single pre-election poll taken in the state, and each one by a double-digit margin of victory. He won the last poll by a 30-point margin.


John McCain raised a total of $340,736. Barack Obama raised $1,010,740.[17]

Advertising and visits

No advertising was spent by either campaign.[18] Delaware native Joe Biden campaigned here 6 times.[19]


Delaware was once a noted bellwether state. It supported the winner in every presidential election from 1892 to 1996 except for 1916, 1932 and 1948. However, it broke this trend in 2000, when Al Gore carried it by 13 points. It supported John Kerry by a slightly narrower margin in 2004, and is now reckoned as part of the solid bloc of blue states in the Northeast. The last Republican to win Delaware was George H. W. Bush in 1988. Obama was already favored to win Delaware going into the election. However, what little chance McCain had of winning the state ended when Biden joined the Democratic ticket.

In recent years, any discussion of statewide elections in Delaware has begun and ended with New Castle County, home to the state's largest city, Wilmington. Part of the Northeast megalopolis and the Philadelphia metropolitan area, New Castle contains 55% of Delaware's population and elects a substantial majority of the Delaware General Assembly. New Castle has turned almost solidly Democratic in recent years, mirroring the trend in the rest of the Northeast. The state's other two counties, Kent (home to the state capital, Dover) and Sussex, are more rural and more Republican, but combined have less than half of New Castle's population. In 1992, 2000 and 2004, the Republican candidate carried Kent and Sussex, but lost New Castle by double digits—enough of a margin to swing the entire state to the Democrats. The 2008 election was no different. Obama carried New Castle by over 104,000 votes, which would have been more than enough to carry the state. He also carried Kent by 10%. Sussex was the only county to support McCain; it has only gone Democratic in a presidential election twice since 1948.

With Biden on the ticket, Democrats had a very good year down ballot as well. The Democrats continued their 15-year run in the Governor's Mansion as State Treasurer Jack Markell was elected with 67.52% of the vote over Republican Bill Lee. Incumbent Ruth Ann Minner was barred from a third term. Democrats picked up two seats in the Delaware Senate and seven seats in the Delaware House of Representatives. The latter victory gave the Democrats control of the state house for the first time since 1987, and gave the Democrats complete control of state government for the first time since the 1970s.


2008 United States presidential election in Delaware[20]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 255,459 61.94% 3
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 152,374 36.92% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 2,401 0.58% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr Wayne Allyn Root 1,109 0.27% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin Darrell Castle 626 0.15% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 385 0.09% 0
Socialist Workers Róger Calero Alyson Kennedy 58 0.01% 0
Totals 412,398 100.00% 3
Voter turnout 68.00%

Results breakdown

By county

County Obama% Obama# McCain% McCain# Others% Others#
New Castle 69.7% 178,768 29.1% 74,608 1.2% 3,041
Kent 54.4% 36,392 44.6% 29,827 1.1% 706
Sussex 45.2% 40,299 53.8% 47,939 0.9% 832

By congressional district

Due to the state's low population, only one congressional district is allocated. This district is called the At-Large district, because it covers the entire state, and thus is equivalent to the statewide election results.

District McCain Obama Representative
At-large 36.9% 61.9% Mike Castle


Technically the voters of Delaware cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Delaware is allocated 3 electors because it has one congressional district and two senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of three 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 three 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.[21] 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 3 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:[22]

  1. James Johnson
  2. Ted Kaufman
  3. Harriet Smith Windsor

See also


  1. ^ "A Super Guide for Super Tuesday". CNN. 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  2. ^ "Election Center 2008: Primary Results for Delaware". CNN. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  3. ^ "RESULTS: Delaware". CNN. 2008-02-02. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  4. ^ "D.C.'s Political Report: The complete source for campaign summaries". Archived from the original on 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
  5. ^ Presidential | The Cook Political Report Archived May 5, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Adnaan (2008-09-20). "Track the Electoral College vote predictions". The Takeaway. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
  7. ^ President, Senate, House Updated Daily
  8. ^ a b c d Based on Takeaway
  9. ^ POLITICO's 2008 Swing State Map -
  10. ^ RealClearPolitics - Electoral Map
  11. ^ CQ Politics | CQ Presidential Election Maps, 2008 Archived June 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Electoral College Map". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  13. ^ "October – 2008 – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  14. ^ "Winning the Electoral College". Fox News. 2010-04-27.
  15. ^ roadto270
  16. ^ Election 2008: Electoral College Update - Rasmussen Reports™
  17. ^ "Presidential Campaign Finance". Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
  18. ^ "Map: Campaign Ad Spending - Election Center 2008 from". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  19. ^ "Map: Campaign Candidate Visits - Election Center 2008 from". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
  20. ^ "Official General Election Results" (PDF). State of Delaware. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  21. ^ "Electoral College". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
  22. ^ Delaware Certificate of Ascertainment, page 1 of 2.. National Archives and Record Administration.
This page was last edited on 27 March 2021, at 00:12
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