2008 Results: Obama: 56.2% McCain: 42.3%
The birthplace of the Republican Party and the quadruple bypass, Wisconsin has a rich political history, but mostly it's known for cheese. During the spring, rivers in the Stinky State run wild with Velveeta, and harsh flooding conditions make commuting around the state only possible by way of badger's back, the state animal for that reason alone. Politically, Wisconsin is a land of contrasts, producing politicians as varied as Russ Feingold (your liberal friend's favorite pal) and Joseph McCarthy (drunkard/Tea Party hero), both of whom were made entirely of cheese. Wisconsinites tend to vote Democrat in presidential elections, when they aren't too drunk to drive to the polls.
2008 Results: McCain: 53.9%, Obama: 44.9%
The birthplace of Stephen Colbert, Strom Thurmond and secession, South Carolina is a political hot spot thanks to its position on the primary calendar and seemingly never-ending roster of freak show candidates. In the Palmetto State, anyone can own a gun, burn leaves, set off fireworks, or earn a degree in prayer at Bob Jones University. Today, the Confederate flag still waves at the capital building in Columbia, serving as a giant 'fuck you' to a century and a half of antebellum progress.
2008 Results: Obama: 51.5%, McCain: 46.9%
The state you either love or hate for handing George W. Bush a second term in 2004, Ohio is one of the country’s swingiest swing states. Home to politicians as diverse as House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Ohio elected Fox News personality John Kasich governor in the 2010 Republican tidal wave, resulting in almost immediate buyers’ remorse. No Republican has ever been elected president without winning Ohio, lending outsized importance to a state Americans drive through to get to other, better states.
2008 Results: Obama: 49.7%, McCain: 49.4%
Once a part of the Democratic Solid South, North Carolina became GOP territory along with the rest of the region after that pesky Civil Rights Act became law. Even Bill Clinton, with his funny Southern accent and everything, was never able to win North Carolina. As such, many political pundits were astonished when Barack Obama eked out a win there in ’08. Obama benefitted, in part, from the so-called “Research Triangle” – an anomalous region of the state where compass needles spin wildly, planes disappear without a trace, and white Southerners inexplicably vote Democrat.
2008 Results: Obama: 54.1%, McCain: 43.8%
Few states have as colorful a political track record as the Land of Several Lakes. In addition to the distinction of being the only state to vote for every Democratic candidate for President since 1976 (including Walter Mondale, for pity’s sake!), Minnesotans have sent a pro wrestler to the Governor’s mansion (Jesse Ventura), a comedian to the Senate (Al Franken), and at least one hypnotherapy patient to the House (Michele Bachmann). John McCain received the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and to this day, a bit of old man smell still lingers.
2008 Results: Obama: 54.7%, McCain: 40.9%
After taking one of the hardest hits of the Great Recession, the people of Michigan, for the most part, left. Now widely known and accepted as the place where Ohio sends their trash and Mitt Romney pretends he's from, Michigan is nothing more than baron wasteland. The population of the Great Lakes State consists of "penny-pinching" United Auto Workers, soccer moms, and the largest dead population in the country.
2008 Election Results: Obama: 57.7%, McCain: 40.4%
In Maine, the fall foliage may be breathtakingly colorful, but the people are decidedly white. Kennebunkport, Maine is where President George H.W. Bush spends his summers with his horses, and he loves his horses. Maine is home to two of the most moderate senators in the Republican caucus, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who anger their GOP collegues with lunatic fringe notions of compromise and bipartisanship. Most of the state used to belong to Massachusetts, until it was decided by the Congress that no one state should have total control over the nation's chowder supply, and thus Maine was born.
2008 Results: McCain: 57.4%, Obama: 41.2%
America’s backwoods, Kentucky has been a reliably red state in presidential elections since 2000, so most of the electoral action can be found in the down-ballot races. Tea Party favorite Rand Paul won a competitive Senate race in 2010, thanks to supporters who didn’t care whose heads they stomped on for their candidate. Kentucky is also home to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the high school assistant principal of the Congress.
2008 Results: Obama: 49.9%, McCain: 48.9%
Throughout its history, the State of Indiana had been like the Midwest’s conservative uncle –almost always siding with the Republicans, but fun to have around because of its lax attitudes about gambling and fireworks. But in one of the most stunning political upsets of 2008, Obama won Indiana just four years after Bush beat Kerry in the state by 20-points. Obama’s victory was attributed to Indiana’s proximity to the Chicago media market, which allowed Hoosiers to get to know Obama as the only Illinois politician who wasn’t crazy, crooked, or both.
2008 Results: Obama: 61.9%, McCain: 36.8%
Illinois gave Barack Obama his start in politics, but for every Barack, Abe, and Ronald to emerge from the Prairie State, there’s a disgraced Illinois politician holding onto his bar of soap for dear life in a county lockup shower. Illinois has sent three African-Americans to the Senate (more than any other state), a testament to the progressive nature of the state and the power of Oprah. Statewide contests are won or lost based on turnout in Cook County, which encompasses the Democratic stronghold of Chicago, underscoring just how little conservative downstate voters matter in Illinois politics. (Disgraced Illinois politician, Rod Blagojevich, featured below).