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2008 Presidential Election: Obama's Road to Victory

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The clues that Barack Obama would be on his way to a big victory came right off the bat. Dixville, Notch, N.H., the town traditionally first to vote in the presidential campaign, revealed that 15 of its 21 citizens had voted for Obama, a straight switch from the last few campaigns, when the vote had tilted sharply for the Republican candidate. (In fact, the last Democratic candidate to win in Dixville Notch was Hubert Humphrey, in 1968, and he lost the election.) Obama handily won the entire state of New Hampshire, a state that John McCain had hoped would go his way.

Obama won Indiana, a state that had gone Democratic just once in the past 40 years. The same was true in Virginia and North Carolina, traditionally parts of the "Old South" and usually reliable Republican strongholds.

Florida went for Obama in a big way, as did Ohio and Pennyslvania. The McCain campaign had spent huge amounts of money and time campaigning in those three states and had declared their victory crucial to their candidate's hopes for victory.

Obama won New Mexico, a state that was solidly in the George W. Bush column previously.

In the meantime, Obama had swept the traditional Democratic stronghold of New England and the rest of the Northeast, including Maryland and Delaware, as well as the rest of the mid-northern part of the country: States like Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin provided a large bloc of electoral votes that McCain just couldn't match.

By the time the polls closed on the West Coast, the rest of the country knew that Obama would be the next President, since California, Oregon, and Washington, as expected, voted for the Democrat in overwhelming numbers.

The Democratic campaign was competitive in most of the 50 states, actually, building on the 50-state strategy put forth by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, himself a former presidential candidate. Building on that idea, the Democratic Party also gained on its advantage in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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