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How Barack Obama Wonby one of the most lauded political journalists of our time, and one of the most respected pollsters in the businessgives us not only the inside state-by-state guide to how Obama achieved his victory, but also the essential toolbox for understanding the political implications of the 2008 presidential electionwhere the country stands vis-a-vis Red and Blue states, where it currently is and is headed politically, and whether a political realignment has taken place. The book features an introduction by Chuck Todd, putting the 2008 presidential election in political and demographic perspective, even as it reveals national trends. The final electoral map will appear in the front matter, as will unexpected "fun facts." The book is divided into four parts, each of which proceeds alphabetically state by state: Battleground States (e.g., Colorado, Florida, Idaho); Emerging Battleground States (e.g., Arizona, Georgia, Montana); Receding Battleground States (e.g., Michigan, Pennsylvania); Red and Blue States (e.g., Idaho and Mississippi, California and New York). The votes in each state for Obama and McCain are broken down by percentage according to gender, age, race, party, religious affiliation, education, household income, size of city, and according to views about the most important issue (the economy, terrorism, Iraq, energy, healthcare), the future of the economy (worried, not worried) and the war in Iraq (approve, disapprove). Comparative figures for the 2004 BushKerry election are provided. Each state profile is comprised of a table of numberswith crucial lines highlightedand analysis. From the book's treasury of facts you will learn about: First Time Voters : The ratio of first-time to previous voters was identical to the 2004 split. Eleven percent (11%) of the electorate voted for the first time in 2004 and 2008. In 2008 70% voted for Obama whereas in 2004 only 53% voted for Kerry. White Voters : Obama won the white vote in 18 states and the District of Columbia: CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, IA, ME, MA, MI, MN, NH, NY, OR, RI, WA, WI and VT. Obama received less than 35% of the white vote in 13 states, with Louisiana (14%), Mississippi (11%) and Alabama (10%) picking up the rear. The Bush Factor : With the exception of Missouri (which barely went to McCain), Obama won every state where Bush's approval rating was below 35% in the exit polls; he lost every state where Bush's approval rating was above 35%. Bush's approval rating was highest in Utah (47%), which supported McCain by a 29 point margin, and lowest in Washington,D.C. (8%), where McCain received only 7% of the vote. Florida : Votes for McCain were 25,000 fewer than for Bush in 2004; Obama's exceeded Kerry's by 540,000. Ohio : Votes for Obama were 34,000 fewer than for Kerry in 2004; McCain's, however, were 350,000 short of Bush's. By the way, since 1928 there has not been a winning Republican presidential/vice-presidential ticket without a Bush or Nixon.
Chuck Todd is NBC News political director. He also serves as NBC News' on-air political analyst for “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today,” “Meet the Press,” and such MSNBC programs as “Morning Joe,” and “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Before joining NBC News, Todd was editor-in-chief of National Journal's "The Hotline," Washington's premier daily briefing on America politics. He has also written Op-Ed pieces for The New York Times and the Washington Post and for the Atlantic Monthly, where he is a contributing editor. He teaches a graduate political communications course at Johns Hopkins University.
Sheldon Gawiser is NBC director of elections; he heads the NBC News election decision team in charge of making projections and overseeing news analysis of the exit polls. He was a founder of the NBC/Associated Press Poll and is a trustee of the National Council on Public Polls. Dr. Gawiser, in addition to being a pollster extraordinaire, is an Emmy nominated producer and winner of a special Emmy for his work on September 11th. He is author of five books and numerous articles on public opinion polling and elections, including A Journalist's Guide to Public Opinion Polls (Praeger, 1994).
Battleground States (8 States) These are the eight states that were the most contentious in this election. Some have been battlegrounds for the last several elections, such as Florida, Missouri, and Ohio. Others were battleground states for the first time this year, such as Indiana, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia. In 2008, the candidates focused a great deal on these states. Some were very close, Missouri and North Carolina in particular, while others such as Iowa had a wider margin than in the past. But each and every one of these states was a contest and probably should be keyed on as folks put together their battleground state lists for 2012. COLORADO Can Democrats Continue Their Recent Sweeps? 9 Electoral Votes Colorado has voted Republican in all but three elections since World War II. But today Colorado is considered a battleground state due in large measure to changes in population. And in 2008 Obama won the battle by a significant margin. The polls showed a consistent Obama lead after the conventions that widened in October. The polls slightly underestimated the final Obama margin. Turnout was up 2.7 percentage points, to 69.4%, from 2004. Obama won 28 of the 64 counties, flipping six from the GOP slate in 2004. McCain won 38 counties. The biggest Obama wins were in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, Denver suburbs that the campaign targeted and where they did well. The two counties are mostly part of the state's 6th Congressional District, the one once held by former conservative Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo. And Coors Brewing Company and the conservative Coors family have long been associated with Golden in Jefferson County. McCain needed big majorities out of Douglas, El Paso (Colorado Springs), and Mesa. He got them, but the majorities shrank substantially from 2004. One minor item of note: the nation's newest county, Broomfield, carved out of Boulder County in 2001, flipped from Republican in its first ever presidential election in 2004 to Democratic in 2008. In the caucus of February 5, 2008, Obama received 66.6% of the vote and Clinton received 32.3%. Obama's performance with white college graduates put him over the top in Colorado. More than half, 58%, of voters in Colorado were college graduates and 49% were white college graduates. Obama did even better with them in Colorado than he did nationally. Obama won college-educated white voters, beating McCain 56% to 42%. Four years ago, white voters with a college education just barely favored Kerry over Bush, 51% to 47%, while whites with no college education went for Bush 62% to 36%. Obama also had significant support among the one-third of voters whose families earn more than $100,000. Fifty-six percent of those voters were for Obama compared to 43% for McCain. In 2004 these upper-income individuals only represented one in five voters, and they went for Bush over Kerry 55% to 44%. Colorado is home to dozens of conservative megaministries (including James Dobson's Focus on the Family) that employ tens of thousands of people. Evangelical voters made up a quarter of the vote in 2004 and voted overwhelmingly for Bush. In addition to the 2008 presidential race, Evangelicals also rallied to vote on a ballot measure that would define "the term 'person' to include any human being from the moment of fertilization." McCain continued to receive support among these conservative voters. White Evangelicals were 24% of the electorate and went 75% for McCain. However, Obama improved his standing over Kerry among white Evangelicals in Colorado by 10 points. In most of the swing states where Obama campaigned heavily, such as Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, he posted substantial gains among white Evangelicals. In the last four presidential elections, about one-third of Colorado voters were unaffilia