Skip to comments.Utah's red loses some of its luster
Posted on 11/05/2008 10:02:39 AM PST by Alex Murphy
WASHINGTON - Republican John McCain easily won the majority of votes in Utah on Tuesday, but a breakdown of the unofficial results should give Democrats a reason to smile.
Sen. Barack Obama claimed more votes than any Democratic presidential hopeful has in the state since Hubert Humphrey ran in 1968. His total, though, may not impress many who are unaware of the minority party's recent struggles in one of the most Republican states in the nation.
With almost every vote counted, Obama claimed about 35 percent of the total to McCain's 62 percent.
In 2004, Democrat John Kerry received only 26 percent of the Utah vote.
While clearly thrilled by the improved showing, state Democratic leaders say they're not surprised. They know this year has been particularly tough for Republicans, with President Bush deeply unpopular and the economy in crisis.
But beyond that, Utah Democrats have seen a level of enthusiasm - gauged by contributions, yard signs and volunteers - that surpasses anything they've witnessed in decades.
"Never have we seen anything like it," said Utah Democratic Chairman Wayne Holland, who hopes to harness the energy to help state candidates. "Change is in the air."
The last two Democratic candidates - Kerry and Al Gore - lost every single county in Utah, some by more than 60 percentage points.
But on Tuesday, Obama won two counties - Summit and Grand - and he narrowly lost Salt Lake County, the state's most populous county.
"Obama is an historic candidate who captured the mind and imagination of voters even in Utah," said Tim Bridgewater, a Utahn and the Western states coordinator for McCain's campaign.
For many Utahns, McCain was only their second choice. They would have preferred to see Mitt Romney, a Mormon who led the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, become the Republican candidate.
Utahns donated $5.5 million to Romney in his failed White House bid. Republican insiders say their voters were never that jazzed about McCain, which may explain why Obama outraised the Republican candidate, even when taking into account the "victory funds" that are outside of the standard $2,300 individual donor cap.
Democratic leaders say they've experienced an outpouring of not just money, but volunteers. The Obama campaign also sold twice as many yard signs as McCain has in the state.
Obama claimed the electoral votes from some of Utah's neighbors, such as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.
Last time a Democrat took Utah was 1964, when Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater. Humphrey claimed 37 percent in the next election, but since then the Democratic candidate has struggled to get anywhere near one-third of the votes.
In 1992, Bill Clinton finished third. George H.W. Bush won the state that year and independent Ross Perot came in second.
...on Tuesday, Obama won two counties - Summit and Grand - and he narrowly lost Salt Lake County, the state's most populous county.
Times are changing. In 1992, Clinton came in third in Utah, with about 24% of the vote.
The bitter Romney-McCain fight may have hurt him in Utah and NV with Mormon voters...
Trying to portray a descent gentle man as devil doesn’t go over well with anyone, not even people in Utah.
My aunt was one of those Utah Obama supporters. From what i gather its not that they are turning more blue, its that this time around there were a lot of people mad a bush.
Shouldnt be surprised in the improvement in Utah for the Dems
Utah is becoming more and more illegal alien...and Gov Jon Hunstman vetoed a bill that would have ended in-state tutition for illegal aliens...even though the state legislature voted to end it
Blame the GOP pandering to illegal aliens for this development
I am LDS and was extremely surprised to see so many from my faith support such a rabid abortionist as Obama. I really do not understand it and am shaking my head in disbelief.
Exactly. From what I saw here during the primaries, many Freepers want to kick all the secret-underwear-guys right out of the conservative movement. Guess it’ll be OK if they all vote Dem......
“I am LDS and was extremely surprised to see so many from my faith support such a rabid abortionist as Obama. I really do not understand it and am shaking my head in disbelief.”
Especially since Governor Palin was the most pro-life candidate that we’ve ever had.
It is a total mystery.
We really need to start running off those idiots from California, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Minnesota who are moving to and ruining previously decent places to live.
They destroyed their states with their liberal policies and high taxes and made them unlivable except to the ultra rich so they moved out and now want to start the same crap up in the places where they moved to. They are like a contagion and with all contagions they must be repelled and isolated in order to preserve the health of the general population.
I was never more disgusted than the Mormon bashing during the primaries.
Influx of Californians and Hispanics.
Disgusting it was. The so-called Christian conservatives that bash and eat the Mormon conservatives alive only help to kill the hope of a conservative win. I say so-called Christian conservatives, because I suspect there are many godless liberals posing as Christian conservatives on the blogosphere. Divide and conquer.
Mike Huckabee certainly encouraged this. The bashing of other peoples’ religious beliefs just isn’t right thing to do, either morally or politically.
Salt Lake County has a number of colleges, and the Young students were enamoured with NObama.
Not half as disgusted as I and others were by THEIR bashing and disgusting personal attacks for opposing their own false Messiah Socialist. I’m still waiting for an apology.