Election Day 2008 brought some startling statistics to Idaho:
Nearly 55,000 more Idahoans voted for Barack Obama than voted for John Kerry – and nearly 100,000 more voted for Obama than voted for Al Gore.
Nearly 7,000 fewer Idahoans voted for John McCain than for George W. Bush in 2004.
All but one of Idaho’s 44 counties leaned more Democratic on the presidential level in 2008 than in 2004. This blog post by Lane Startin at Red State Rebels notes how Teton County topped the list with a 23-percent gain, which flipped the county blue; how Latah County went blue, too (and Blaine stayed that way); how the Democratic ticket gained 20 percent in Elmore County; and how McCain had a margin of victory smaller than 10 percent in Ada, Valley and Shoshone counties.
Twenty counties – nearly half of our state’s total – showed at least a 10 percent gain in voting for Obama over Kerry. Lemhi was the only county in the state that actually voted more Republican, and it tilted only 3% more GOP.
Idaho is following trends that are building across the West. Every county in Utah voted more Democratic in 2008. Wyoming – like Idaho – had only one county that tilted more GOP this year. McCain won Montana with less than 50 percent of the vote, and every county in Montana voted more Democratic. The same was true in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico. Only McCain’s home state of Arizona had more than one county vote more Republican on the presidential level this year than in 2004. (For a fascinating look at how the West is turning blue, go to this map and click on voting shifts on the left-hand side.)
At Daily Kos, 2008 Frank Church Banquet keynoter Markos Moulitsas reported how only four states (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee) voted more Republican in the 2008 presidential race than in 2004, and how gains in the Western states were especially strong. "The Democrats' Western strategy is in full force. And sure, Idaho and Utah may be a long way from being truly competitive at the presidential level, but this is how we build a long-term movement -- by making incremental gains year over year," he noted.
The American West is clearly turning blue, and ever-growing numbers of Idahoans are voting Democratic. If you were energized by Obama’s historic run, why not get involved in your local county party to build Democratic gains from the ground up, right here in Idaho? You can also sign up for the state party's weekly e-newsletter (you’ll find the easy link on the right-hand side of this page), volunteer in our office, take part in a regional training session and make a monthly investment in the party’s membership fund. Together, we can spread the message that Democrats are fighting for middle-class families, working for responsive and responsible government and protecting Idaho’s way of life.
Idaho election returns for 2008, 2004 and 2000