It’s impossible to fully understand the results of the 2004 presidential election without first reexamining the 2000 results. The map created by the Bush-Gore race illustrated the country’s division into the “tolerant” Blue States and the “traditional” Red States, and appeared to be one that would stay with us for a while. Based primarily on differences over prominent social issues–gay rights, abortion, guns, affirmative action–the differences illustrated by this map reemerged in 2004, with very few exceptions.
Going into the 2004 election, George Bush had already increased his Electoral College lead from 2000 by seven votes, due to the reapportionment following the 2000 census. To that total it appears as if he will add those of Iowa (7) and New Mexico (5), while losing New Hampshire’s four electoral votes, and end up with a total of 286. John Kerry, had he won the same states that Gore won in 2000, would automatically have received seven fewer electoral votes. Combined with the projected final results, Kerry will finish with 252.
Your Crystal Ball predicted that at least 40 to 45 states would remain the same “color” as they were in 2000, and that proved to be the case. Specifically, just three (IA, NH, NM) voted for the candidate of the other party. With an accuracy score of 97 percent, we were able to accurately gauge the leaning of all but two states: Florida and Wisconsin.
After losing the popular vote by half a million votes in 2000, Bush managed to turn that around and will win by just over 3.5 million in 2004. Voter turnout increased equally among all age groups, disproving the hype surrounding predictions of higher youth turnout. Ballot initiatives related to gay marriage were voted on in 11 states–including Ohio–and served to bolster conservative turnout. Once absentee and provisional ballots are counted, total voter turnout will reach about 119 million, or approximately 55 percent of the voting age population. This is almost four points higher that the 2000 turnout, and is comparable to the 1992 and 1972 elections. As your Crystal Ball mentioned in our final predictions (https://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/LJS2004110101) turnout would have to have really skyrocketed for Kerry to have the edge.