Election of 2004

Senator Kerry was victorious in the primaries, picked North Carolina U.S. Senator John Edwards for his running mate in July, and accepted his party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention held in Boston in July. President Bush was the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, kept his vice president, Dick Cheney, on the ticket, and accepted the nomination at their convention held in New York City in August.

The presidential campaign was characterized by sharp attacks lobbed by both camps into the other. Kerry and his surrogates accused Bush of plunging the nation into deep deficits with his tax cuts and prosecuting an ill-conceived war in Iraq. Bush and his people accused Kerry of "flip-flopping" on the issues and used the "L" (liberal) word to describe him and his ilk.

Terrorism — 9/11's indelible memory — and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts were the main issues, followed by such domestic issues as the president's massive tax cuts, deep deficits, the uneven economic recovery, gay marriage, high prescription drug costs, the Patriot Act, and Bush's proposal to allow young people to invest some of their Social Security funds in the stock market. Both candidates' military records were a high-profile campaign sideshow. Kerry's decorated Navy record in Vietnam was assailed to visible effect by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, officially unconnected to the Bush campaign, and Bush's Texas Air National Guard service was scrutinized by the press. One important national concern, America's porous southern border, was mostly avoided by both candidates. Most observers agreed that Senator Kerry won the traditional three televised debates*, and his performances tightened the race, as most polls suggested. Public interest in the campaign was high; voter turnout was up 11 percent over 2000.

On November 2, President Bush defeated Kerry 51 to 48 percent. Independent candidate Ralph Nader did not figure significantly in the results. In addition to winning the electoral vote, Bush won the first popular vote majority for president in 16 years. The GOP also increased its majorities in the House and Senate. Kerry's support had existed in large measure with voters who were against the war in Iraq, and disliked the president and his policies. Bush's support ironically lay in his likeability with other voters and unflinching commitment to his invasion of Iraq, as well as the backing of such important voting blocs as evangelical Christians.


*The single, heated vice-presidential debate was considered by most pundits to be a draw.
See
Background to the 2004 Election .

Election of 2004
Candidates
Party Electoral
Vote
Popular
Vote
George W. Bush (TX)
Dick Cheney (WY)
Republican 286 59,729,986
John Kerry (MA)
John Edwards (NC)
Democratic 254 56,249,864
Ralph Nader (DC) Independent ... 405,623


In the general election, a total of 538 electoral votes was at stake and a majority of 270 was needed to win the presidency (red stands for Republican).

AL
9

HI
4

MA
12

NM
5

SD
3
AK
3

ID
4

MI
17

NY
31

TN
11
AZ
10

IL
21

MN
10

NC
15

TX
34
AR
6

IN
11

MS
6

ND
3

UT
5
CA
55

IA
7

MO
11

OH
20

VT
3
CO
9

KS
6

MT
3

OK
7

VA
13
CT
7

KY
8

NE
5

OR
7

WA
11
DE
3

LA
9

NV
5

PA
21

WV
5
DC
3

ME
4

NH
4

RI
4

WI
10
FL
27

MD
10

NJ
15

SC
8

WY
3
GA
15









Election of 2008

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