November 07, 2004

Bush Elected By Urban And Secular Voters
Religious Turnout Stayed Level From 2000 to 2004

From Nov. 7 Union Leader editorial:

Looking at CNN exit poll data for both the 2000 and 2004 elections, one sees that Bush won almost identical percentages of the vote from those who attend church more than once a week (63 percent in 2000, 64 percent in 2004) and from those who attended weekly (57 percent in 2000, 58 percent in 2004). His support rose not among the highly religious, but among the secular: those who attended church monthly (46 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2004), seldom (42 percent to 45 percent) and never (32 percent to 36 percent).

Bush also dramatically increased his backing in urban areas, while it fell in rural America. Support for Bush rose by 13 percentage points among self-described urban voters (he won 39 percent of them), and 3 percentage points among those who live in suburbs (he won 52 percent of them). His support among self-described rural voters fell by 2 percentage points to 57 percent. So much for the idea that only hicks and rednecks voted Bush.

His religious supporters stayed constant. Rove did not "find those four million evangelicals" that didn't turn out in 2000, as many people say. Bush made gains in the non-religious fields, the people less likely to say they attend church often, and suburbanites. But by far the biggest gain appears to be urban voters - a 13 point jump is nothing to sneeze at. Most likely these people realized cities are by far the most at-risk places from terrorist attacks and they trusted Bush to protect the country - not Kerry.

The problem with the Democrats has nothing to do with the fact that they might be latte-slurping, organic food-chomping, GM-protesting, limo-riding, SUV-bashing, $7 espresso-loving, New York Times-reading, Michael Moore-adoring, trendy bistro-patronizing, flyover state-scoffing elitists. It's the fact that they offered no coherent or credible foreign policy alternative. They rejected Dean, who at least offered a clear one: get out quick, it was a mistake. They rejected Lieberman, who offered a very aggressive one: fight terror, fight Iraq, establish a Middle East Marshall Plan.

They picked Kerry, who was called nuanced - which must be claimed either with barely hidden shame or clearly visible arrogance - but in reality would be better described as "trying to have his cake and eat it, too." Kerry's foreign policy was a shambles, half-hearted applications of Bush policy ideas, half-sneering denunciations of alleged unilateralism, and half-assed backpedaling on the issue of caving in to international pressure.

It was the issue of the whole campaign. Kerry kept it on Iraq when he stressed Al Qaqaa and the lost weapons. Osama Bin Laden came in with his video and threatened the Bush states with retaliation if they voted for him. The war on terror and the war in Iraq were issues right up to the end - and received three times as much press as any other single issue, probably more press time than all other issues together. Especially since Bush's last big move on gay marriage was what? Coming out for civil unions, to the left of the GOP platform. Not exactly rounding up the evangelicals with that.

So whose fault was it that such a big honkin' loser-candidate was the nominee? Iowa and New Hampshire Democrats? Not really. There weren't a lot of other options. Lieberman looks and sounds a little funny. His ideas are good but his appearance of conservatism turns off Democrats. We all also thought Nader might have a chance in hell at the time of spoiling the whole thing and Lieberman would be the most at risk of that. Plus, what would Lieberman run on, abortion? Tax hikes? He didn't have a whole lot of obvious distinctions from Bush at the time, at least it appeared that way to most.

Dean was just crazy-looking after yelling down an old man (a GOP plant, but still an old guy) in Iowa, and then of course The Scream. Edwards seemed to young, too inexperienced. In retrospect of the VP debate, he probably was too much of a lightweight.

So you can't blame the primary voters. It was the candidates. They sucked. Kerry won because he seemed electable. We know now that it wasn't his liberalism, his New England roots, his arrogance, or his failure to distance himself from Michael Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. It was his lack of a credible foreign policy. People were open to a change and open to replacing Bush, but Kerry just didn't sell them on anything because he wanted them to buy everything. He said everything to shore up the pro-war Democrats (anywhere from 22 to 34 percent of his voters, depending on polls) and the anti-war conspiracy nuts ("Halliburton this blah blah blah Halliburton that blah blah Halliburton is evil) - and everyone in between.

Kerry offered no theme to his campaign that people accepted. A Stronger America just sounded stupid and was too easily mocked when the Democrats stupidly put the word strong as every second adjective in their convention literature. Idiotic, bumbling, failed attempt to condescend.

Kerry didn't sell enough people on the economy, although he gained greatly on that issue on Ohio if only because the incumbent loses - especially if he's spiritedly pro-free trade like Bush. The fact that he could have such a great advantage on economy but still lose Ohio shows what a chump of a candidate Kerry was.

He didn't offer a benefit on security. Who wanted his lack of a vision? The anti-Bush people. He didn't offer a real vision, just an amalgamation of all the opposition arguments. He took all the positions and threw them together. He wanted to stay out, he wanted to listen to the UN, he'd never listen to the UN, he wanted Saddam gone, he wanted to focus on Osama, he wouldn't waste all the money there, he would spend much more money there. It was absurd. It had zero credibility, it only sold the people who didn't pay attention or just hated Bush's specific policy more than Kerry self-serving lack of a policy.

And that of course leads to character and personality. Flip-flopping was just too easy to call him on. So many positions, so little time.

Bush saw no significant gain among churchies, lost slightly with rural voters, and made his gains with the less-religious and urban/suburban voters. That's not a mandate for stopping gay marriage, that's a mandate from people concerned about security.

Sure, it's probably other stuff as well, like tax cuts, free trade, gun control, whatever other GOP staple issues. But security was the eclipsing issue of the presidential race. The election overall tells us that gay marriage is unpopular. The presidential election tells us that Bush's policy won more supporters than Kerry lack of a policy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Bush supporter I am of course glad that he won, but at the same time a little dissappointed that it wasn't by a much wider margin. If Kerry is th echump that you describe then he shouldn't have received anywhere near the number of votes that he did.

BTW, this site kicks ass!

December 09, 2004 3:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home