Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Zoe Oxley




presidential election, McCain, Obama, campaigns, candidates


This thesis investigates the factors that helped Americans come to a vote choice in the 2008 presidential election. After an in-depth analysis and presentation on the existing literature, I then present key moments in both McCain and Obama’s campaigns looking at the context, campaigns, and candidates. I then break down the turnout and vote choice of each major social group and demographic in the United States, juxtaposing it with the group’s historical voting trends and turnout. In 2008 there was a large nationwide Democratic shift. Chapter four seeks to defend whether it was the context of the election or the campaigns of the candidates that mattered most in the vote decision process. After arriving presenting the evidence, I concluded that it was impossible to isolate the effects of the contexts and the campaigns. Nevertheless, this paper investigates all that matters during a presidential election.