Reasons Why Barack Obama Won the Presidential Election of 2008

Updated on December 26, 2016
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

Keys To Victory

Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election by a 2 to 1 margin collecting 365 electoral votes to John Mccain's 173.

When he began his presidential journey Obama was a popular personality within his party but a relative unknown across the country yet he was able to pull off an amazing victory over a seasoned opponent.

How was this relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois able to defeat an experienced veteran like John McCain?

There were several factors that contributed to his overwhelming victory. Let's take a look.

Soldiers Fighting In Iraq

His Stance On The Iraq War

Before the war even began Barack Obama voiced his opposition to an invasion of Iraq but his voice was not heard along with many others who were against such a military action.

The initial victory (the removal of Saddam Hussein from power), was gained rapidly but the insuing insurgency of rebel factions opposed to the United States' occupation of the country dragged on for years which created an atmosphere of opposition to the war among Americans.

Barack Obama acted on that opposition during the presidential campaign by making his platform position to have troops removed from Iraq as soon as it could be safely done. A crafty veteran move from a rookie of sorts.

This stance resonated with Americans who had grown weary of the violence, death and destruction being caused by the war and as a result his popularity grew along with his support.

George W. Bush

A Damaged Republican Party

Eight years of leadership under George W. Bush did incalculable and irreparable damage to the Republican Party. By the time the 2008 presidential election rolled around Republican leaders were scrambling to find a candidate who could overcome the overwhelming dissatisfaction that Americans had with the party and George Bush in particular.

The Iraq War, the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and the fallout from former Attorney General Anthony Gonzalez's firing of U.S. attorneys were some of the incidents that occurred during the Bush administration that damaged the Republicans standing with American voters.

By the time that the Republican Party's National Convention rolled around George W. Bush was so unpopular and had damaged the party brand so much that he was not present opting instead to make a video appearance.

The party was unable to recover in time to make a good showing in the 2008 election and the results are the proof positive.

Barack Obama

The Need For Change

In many polls taken during the lead up to the 2008 election the majority of Americans felt that the country was headed in the wrong direction. The message was clear there was a need to change where the country was going.

On the economy, the war in Iraq, social issues and other areas of concern the consensus was unmistakable....America needs to change.

Barack Obama again seized on the sentiment of the country and adopted change as his campaign centerpiece. McCain on the other hand was espousing a message of more of the same especially in Iraq.

And that did not sit well with the majority of Americans.

During campaign stops Obama would declare that it was time for fresh ideas and new ways of doing things. In foreign affairs, with the economy and in health care he emphasized a change was necessary and the country was ready for it.

Job Loss/Gain Figures From 2008 Through 2012

The Condition Of The Economy

When Wall Street went into a spiral it was if someone had handed the key to the election to Barack Obama and said "take this, it's yours". He couldn't have asked for a better gift at a better time.

Up to this point the Illinois senator had just been holding his own with John McCain but when major banking institutions started to collapse Obama again rode the wave of opportunity and bolted ahead of his opponent never looking back.

McCain did himself no favors in his handling of the news of the financial meltdown by declaring "The fundamentals of the economy are strong" essentially saying there was nothing to fear.

But there was and Obama knew it.

His calm and reserved approach to the catastrophe was in stark contrast to McCain's erratic response which included suspending his campaign. A move that pretty much sealed his fate.

The problems with the economy seemed to be a custom fit for Obama's campaign. It was his strongest ally and he used it to his advantage.

Obama never looked more presidential than when he was dealing with the issues of the economy and it was that look that helped him to win the election.

Sarah Palin and John McCain

A Poor Republican Ticket

As if the climate of dissatisfaction that surrounded the Republican party wasn't enough they further handicapped themselves by selecting candidates that were unelectable. Choosing John McCain who had for the most part alienated himself from the conservative Republican base and Sarah Palin a relatively unknown, uninformed Governor from Alaska were monumental mistakes that all but guaranteed victory for the Democrats.

Senator McCain's abrasiveness when dealing with those of his party put him on the outer fringes of their support which he desparately needed in order to win the election. He was not the true party choice but he managed to rally it's members to win the nomination. Being the oldest candidate to ever run for the office of president did not help him either.

Governor Palin's liabilities showed up when she began to conduct interviews with the media. Her interviews with Katie Couric of CBS and Charles Gibson of ABC were disastrous. It was disclosed after the election by those close to the campaign, that Palin refused to be prepped for the Couric interview and it showed. Her lack of knowledge on domestic and foreign issues was glaring.

It was clear that she was not qualified or prepared to be vice president and certainly not president should something have happened to McCain.

The American electorate saw this and they made their decision.

In short, except for the presidencies of Jimmy Carter (1976-1980) and Bill Clinton (1992-2000), The White House had been dominated by Republicans for the last 40 years and very simply, as the Democratic Party proclaimed throughout it's campaign, it was time for a change.

Barack Obama's 2009 Inauguration Speech


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    • TonyDan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Daniels 

      4 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      I see you failed to address the confederate flag issue which tells me a lot. You are free to troll somewhere else now. Good day.

    • TonyDan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Daniels 

      4 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      "Hussein"? Thanks for showing where you truly stand. I'm sure you own a confederate flag also. Your previous point was Democrats were okay with Obama flip-flopping. My point was apparently Republicans are okay with their candidates flip-flopping as well. Apples to apples. Mitt Romney changed positions on issues so much he confused himself on where he stood. The same holds true for McCain.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      No, I agree with what you said. Its pointless because Barack Hussein Obama was elected and those two lost to him. Apples and oranges.

    • TonyDan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Daniels 

      4 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Pointless because you don't agree with it and maybe because the truth hurts. You can't see one and ignore the other but that's what narrow-focused people do.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Pointless, but OK.

    • TonyDan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Daniels 

      4 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Mitt Romney and John McCain flip-flopped a lot also. Its an equal opportunity attribute. Everybody changes their mind and positions on issues.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      He was for the war before he was against the war. Democrats are OK with that flip-flopping.

    • supremeupbeat k profile image

      Mahadeb Kar 

      4 years ago from Somewhere in India

      Great orator was he to gain the victory .

      Great hub to know about the necessity of Obama's win.

    • profile image

      James Trentadue 

      4 years ago from Madison, WI.

      The best reason Obama became president is because this nation is under judgement, God is turning His back on the sin of this nation. Obama was put in office for his plan to "fundamentally change America" his words, not mine. It has been his whole MO. from the beginning of his life. Trained by people who hate this country and staying in fellowship with those kinds of folks (like Bill Ayers) then teaching others how to attack the underbelly of the system through "Community Organizers". (The Communist's call them Useful Idiots).

      Using the Technics taught by Clowerd and Pivon on how to take down a free Democracy, plus the powerful book on "Rules for Radicals" , Sol Alinsky he came prepared to the presidency. Also because he is half lack he can hide under the "Race Card" and not answer for the lunacy any other person would have defend.

      How can a less than 1 term senator take a country by storm you ask?

      Well you would need a lot of help and influence by the friends of change with a lot of cover up and deception. He read a "Mean Teleprompter" and became the darling of the "mind numb robots" in colleges all over our nation. Along with help from a "Lap Dog Press" and media moguls like,, you throw in a billion dollars from some of the richest men, corporations, and countries in the world, and you have not only a viable candidate - you have the "Manchurian Candidate".

      With a constituency made up of Power Mongers (both political and the powerful, needing to keep power), Unions (and/or paid protesters), leaders in other countries looking to tear down our sovereignty, Self serving College Professor's (teaching young kids how to rebel the way they want them to), Lawyers, Doctors filled with false promise, the predictable ignorant that bleed Democrat causes for the sake of that cause, and a few good people tricked by the whole momentum of the movement. Then you have the perfect storm set up by an America that has lost its way.

      9/11 was a wake up to get back to God. Instead we elected a president that is taking us farther from God. It is that the "protections of God" are now gone and the lawless have control. "The sycamore has been uprooted". Biblically; That is Gods protection over His people.

      Unless America comes back to God in a powerful way it is going to get worse! Restore God to His rightful place, as the real head of this nation.

    • TonyDan profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Daniels 

      6 years ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Only because he's from the same party.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      11 years ago from Massachusetts

      Obama does very much remind many people of Jimmy Carter.


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