News & Election Videos

December 17, 2008

Breaking down Obama's win, district by district

Our friends at Swing State Project have been calculating the presidential race results by congressional district, where available -- a valuable resource to political junkies like us at the Scorecard.

And their early findings also shed some light on the 2010 political landscape, and may cause strategists to reconsider assumptions on who to target in two years.

The highlights?

* Obama had a HUGE home-state bump, handily winning districts that were once Republican strongholds. Republicans always target Democratic congresswoman Melissa Bean because her suburban Chicago district is one of the most conservative in the state. Not anymore. Obama carried the Eighth District with 57 percent of the vote – a 13-point bump from John Kerry’s performance in 2004.

Obama also won Illinois’ Sixth District, home to GOP Rep. Peter Roskam, with 56 percent of the vote. This seat was represented for decades by conservative stalwart Henry Hyde.

He even carried the district of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert – now held by a Democrat, Rep. Bill Foster – with 54 percent of the vote.

And Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) demonstrated his staying power, winning reelection in a suburban seat where Obama won 61 percent of the vote.

In total, John McCain won only three two of the state’s 19 Congressional districts in 2008. President Bush carried nine of them in 2004.

* Obama made inroads in the heavily Cuban-American districts around Miami – yet another warning sign for Republicans as they compete for the Hispanic vote in the future. While all three Cuban-American Republicans in Florida won re-election, Obama made significant inroads in all three of their districts.

He carried Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Miami-based seat with 51 percent of the vote. And he won 49 percent of the vote in both the Diaz-Balart brothers’ districts.

* In Nevada, ousted GOP Congressman Jon Porter certainly felt the undercurrent of Obama’s presidential campaign. Despite Nevada’s Third District being a perennial battleground, Obama won 55 percent of the vote there. And Obama came within several hundred votes of winning GOP Rep. Dean Heller’s seat, the state’s most Republican district.

* Obama defeated McCain 50.0 to 48.8 percent in Nebraska’s Second District, which netted him an electoral vote from the state. The Cornhusker State allocates an electoral vote for each of its three Congressional districts.

* Two seats in North Carolina shifted their votes from President Bush to Barack Obama, as a result of the surge in African-American turnout. Obama won 53 percent of the vote in North Carolina’s Eighth District, where Democrat Larry Kissell unseated GOP congressman Robin Hayes. President Bush carried the Charlotte-area seat with 54 percent of the vote in 2000 and 2004.

And Obama also won Democrat Bob Etheridge’s seat, which President Bush carried twice, with 52 percent of the vote.