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Democratic Ticket
Presidential candidate: BARACK OBAMA, Illinois Senator
VP candidate: JOE BIDEN, Delaware Senator
Popular votes: 66,882,230 (53.0%)
Electoral votes: 365
Republican Ticket
Presidential candidate: John McCain, Arizona Senator
VP candidate: Sarah Palin, Alaska Governor
Popular votes: 58,343,671 (46.0%)
Electoral votes: 173
2008 US Electoral Map: How each state voted. Election Results. Wisconsin's Choice: Obama.

Election Facts

  • The overall theme for this election was "change." Both major party candidates strived to distance themselves from the unpopular President George W. Bush.
  • Both McCain and Obama aimed to identify themselves with ordinary Americans. The "Average Joe" became a political icon.
  • Palin was the first female vice presidential candidate on a Republican ticket. She injected excitement into the McCain campaign but undermined McCain's emphasis on experience.
  • American foreign policy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy independence, and the environment were important issues. Cultural values took a back seat.
  • McCain emphasized his bipartisan experience and maverick image. He portrayed Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal.
  • Obama and his campaign theme of "hope" appealed to many new voters.
  • America's faltering economy, worsened by a major financial crisis just before the election, helped Obama win the election.
  • Obama was the first African American to be elected President of the United States.
John McCain waves to supporters at a La Crosse campaign rally, October 10, 2008. Photo by Peter Thomson, courtesy of the "Wisconsin State Journal."
Barack Obama speaks at a Madison campaign rally, October 16, 2007. Photo by Henry A. Koshollek, courtesy of "The Capital Times."