Here are some notes and thoughts on the results of the US Presidential Elections of 2004, where George W. Bush won a second term.
G.W. Bush got the majority of popular vote this time, but with a very narrow margin. If you recall, he lost the popular vote in 2000, but got the electoral vote after the recount in Florida, although there are serious question marks on what happened there.
This term, Bush has a mandate!
After the elections of 2000, there was serious doubt on whether Bush really won or not. He went on aimlessly for the first 8 months or so of his first term. The economy was starting to sink, and there were lots of criticism. For the foreign policy, and specially the Middle East, he wanted a hands-off approach. Then 9/11 happened, and all that was forgotten. America quickly went to war, and the neo-con policies were swiftly put in place, and a second country was invaded. People rallied around the president despite some vocal opposition.
Now that the popular vote is for Bush, and the senate and congress have more republicans, and the democrats are weaker, there is little that can be done to put the brakes on the neo-con policies abroad.
Those affected directly by terrorism do not support Bush
You would think that the areas affected by terrorism would be supportive of Bush, because of his War on Terror. The irony is: New York voted almost 5:1 against Bush, and District of Columbia by 9:1, both of whom were directly devastated by the 9/11 attacks. On the contrary, rural America, which have not been directly affected by terrorism, and probably never will, voted Bush for a second term. Of course, cities have always been more liberal than the conservative countryside, but it is interesting how things are clearer when your neck is directly on the chopping block.
Voters largely ignored Bush track record on the Economy
The American people voted for a president that presided over an economy that produced a record current account deficit, a record trade deficit, a record budget deficit and a national debt of such proportions that the IMF says they threaten the world economy.
The recession after the dot-com bubble burst started this, and the war in Iraq has definitely aggravated this situation. The result is America sinking into debt that will take a lot of time to repay.
It seems that Al-Qaeda's strategy of bankrupting America, as expressed clearly by Osama Bin Laden himself in his latest tape, is playing out quite well, and the American voters playing right into his trap.
The US is still a two party system
The US is still a two party oligarchy. There is no chance that any 'outsider' would win the presidency, such as Ralph Nader, or less so, Badnarik. No more than 1% of the votes were 'wasted' on candidates outside the two big parties.
With the election system there being First Past the Post, Winner Takes All, this system will remain. Unless some reform is done, changing that to weighted voting, or some other form.
Role of Religion
It is not surprising that Protestant Christian voted overwhelmingly for Bush, being a born again Christian and all that. Catholics voted more for Bush than Kerry, who is a Catholic himself. However, his stance on abortion may have swayed observant Catholics to Bush. Jewish voters voted overwhelmingly for Kerry. Other religions (Islam included, which is at least as large as Judaism in the USA, if not more) voted for Kerry with numbers similar to that of Jews.
An interesting observation is that Protestants (+3%), Catholics (+5%) and Jews (+6%) all voted more for Bush than they did in 2000. Others (including Muslims) voted less for Bush by -5% as opposed to 2000.
Exit polls tell a lot about America
The exit polls tell a lot about the American voter.
Those who see 'moral values' as important voted for Bush. I wonder what moral values these are, considering invading a country on false pretexts, and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians. It seems that the rhetoric against abortion and same sex marriages won the day there. Those who thought the economy important voted for Kerry.
Regarding the most important quality in a president, the largest group was 24% who thought that 'bringing change' is important, the largest group, voted for Kerry (95%). Those who thought a 'strong leader' or 'religious faith' are most important voted for Bush. Only 7% of American voters thought intelligence is the most important quality in a president, and those voted for Kerry.
See them yourself at CNN Exit Polls web site.
Election anomalies and CNN Exit Polls?
We have a separate article on anomalies and irregularities.
Who are the types of people that vote for Bush?
Someone attempted to answer this question and listed just four types. In comments to this post, people expanded those and added several other types.
In any case, the next four years will be interesting to watch. They will not be pleasant for sure.