One of the more popular theories out thereMedia pundits tell you "OH GEEZ ITS ANYONE'S GAME NOW", but that's because they are trying to get ratings. Really, any political scientist will tell you that it was decided that Obama would win well before the election, it was just a matter of how much of McCain's ass he would kick. The first piece of evidence is that not even including Independent voters, the Democrats had secured just over 50% of the vote, more than enough to win the House and the Senate, and way more than enough to elect a Democratic president. According to the 2008 National Election Survey, the Democrats had a gigantic advantage over the Republicans.
Just couldn't beat the final bossIssues of illegal immigration and defense spending did not work well for McCain. No to mention, health care reform ideas were still somewhat fresh in voters' minds even though it wasn't the focus of the election. Even talking about health care could spell disaster for McCain, because no matter what idea he might have, Obama's ideas were better. Believe it or not, the issue of whether or not to raise spending on the military worked out well for Obama much more so than McCain. About 75% of the country believe that defense spending should stay where it is and only 10% think it should decrease (this is because the issue of terrorism has been brought up a lot more recently and Iran was getting a lot of press as well). As for the other 15% that said it should actually increase, most of them were Independents. This meant that Obama can even campaign on increasing military spending (a rather conservative platform) to get votes and still not alienate his own party base.
One eye-opening thing I discovered in the study is that even on hypothetical party platforms that Obama could take, he would still maintain over 90% of his Democratic support, this is not the case for McCain. Even on conservative positions on health-care, immigration, and defense, some Republicans actually voted for Obama. Some might see Republicans as stubbornly following their leader like sheep no matter what crazy-ass decisions they make, but for this election, this was not the case, rather this time around it was the Democrats (which are known for occasionally losing support over really stupid shit). Obama managed to secure incredibly powerful party support and other than his already-established advantage, this would be the main reason for his victory over McCain.
And Spider-Man, for thwarting his assassinationThe biggest problem McCain had to face was the number one concern on Americans' minds at the time: a giant hole and our economy happened to be in it. I don't need to bring in some crazy graph to show you that Obama had a huge edge here, so even talking about it could pose some problems for McCain. Campaign strategists will tell you that if your opponent has a huge advantage on some issue, its best to just not talk about it. Well, McCain did talk about the economy a lot, but he tried to skew the discussion towards a territory that he was more comfortable with: taxes.
McCain campaigned against Obama's plans for tax increases. This was the only area where McCain actually managed to beat Obama in both Party and Independent support. By maintaining the focus of his candidacy on not increasing taxes, McCain managed to pick up a lot of support that would have otherwise went straight to Obama, he also managed to regain a lot of his own party support. Every possible issue that McCain could have run on, Obama ran on it better, but McCain actually had an advantage here; it just wasn't strong enough.
Anyway, that was kind of my analysis of the 2008 election. I thought instead of you guys getting your information from the biased media, you might want a look at how scientists analyze elections. There's a hell of a lot more to this study, like on the specifics of Obama's advantage but that's a completely different story and since I've got another paper I need to write soon I won't go into it. Anyway, stay tuned for a bi-weekly video game series review.