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Why Red States Turned Blue in 2008 - Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico


Why Red States Turned Blue in 2008 - Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on stage during a campaign event at Colorado State University October 26, 2008 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Photo: Getty Images/Joe Raedle
Democrat Barack Obama easily secured electoral victory in three key Western states... Colorado (53% to 45%), Nevada (55% to 43%) and New Mexico (57% to 42%)... that voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004 for four main reasons:
  • Newly enthusiastic support for the Democratic agenda by the burgeoning Hispanic population, which is significant in these three Western states
  • Support from urban voters and college towns such as Denver and Boulder, Colorado, Reno, Nevada and Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Soaring home foreclosure rates due to the recent growth spurt and related housing boom in these three states
  • Major political realignment of moderate and mildly libertarian Republicans to the Democratic party

"Obama appears to have done slightly better than Sen. John Kerry in the rugged counties of western Colorado—traditional Republican strongholds. But his biggest sources of support, returns show, are voters in Denver and its northern suburbs (Boulder), whose ranks have swelled in recent years," reports U.S. News & World Report.

Colorado's population has increased 13% since 2000, with most of growth occurring around Denver, a younger and more diverse populace than much of the state. Obama won the Denver region by a large margin.

Obama is the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Nevada since Clinton's 1996 reelection bid.

Per Nevada Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, "He energized new voters, Hispanics and reenergized the Democratic Party. People needed a change and clearly they're getting one."

According to MSNBC exit polls, the Obama/Biden ticket drew unsually strong support from:

  • All women, who comprised 52% of voters (59%)
  • Voters under age 44, who comprised 50% of voters (62%)
  • Hispanic voters, who comprised 15% of voters (76%)
  • Voters who cited the ECONOMY as their top concern, who comprised 63% of voters (60%)

New Mexico
Hispanic voters, who comprised 41% of New Mexico's electorate, cast a whopping 69% of their ballots for Barack Obama, per MSNBC exit polls.

New Mexico's Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, himself of Hispanic heritage, told the New York Times that Obama "spoke to them not as an ethnic group but as American voters pursuing the American dream, focusing on mainstream issues like the economy and the war in Iraq."

Of the 55% of voters who cited the ECONOMY as their top concern, 60% voted for Obama. New Mexico has the highest state foreclosure rate in the nation in 2008.

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