What the US voting public thinksSo Bush is president again. The number of emails and SMS's of commiserations I received were a measure of how many people knew how badly I would take this. Didn't see any asking me not to commit suicide, though.
I sorta held off writing about this immediately because (a) I was in a state of shock, (b) I was suffering from Root Beer withdrawl symptoms, and (c) I was seriously considering sending the US embassy congratulatory bouquets of bunga taik ayam and was looking for the largest possible truck I could get my hands on.
Well, in a democracy, the guy who gets more votes wins and Bush got more votes. Across the board. So it's exactly what they want. "They" being the people who voted for him. I get the impression that the people who didn't vote for him would have preferred a demented monkey on acid.
The exit polls make for some interesting reading. Incidentally, the exit polls were mostly leaning towards Kerry during the day, but the final polls were adjusted to be more 'accurate' after the counts had come in. This is why the Democrats were so positive early in the day - they thought they were winning based on the exit polls.
Anyway, the final, weighted polls give some indication of how the public were thinking. Bush made gains across the board. For just about every category they polled, a greater percentage voted for Bush than for the Democrat candidate in 2004 than in 2000. I think this is significant.
I took the exit polls and extrapolated them to nation-wide figures based on voter turnout (115,409,172 people) to get the numbers below.
NB: According to the BBC, sample size was 13,531. Margin of error for nation-wide polls is about plus/minus 1% (extrapolates to about 1.2 million people). Bush gained about 3.5 million votes more than Kerry overall. I'm guessing that any issue with a margin of more than 2 million votes will be important and more than 4 million votes would have been significant.
Interesting things to note:
- 11% of professed Democrats voted for Bush (about 4.7mil people) while only 6% who declared themselves Republican voted for Kerry (about 2.5mil). Huh? This is similar to the 2000 breakdown, but this makes no sense to me.
- 10% (more than 4 million) of those who voted for Gore in the last election voted for Bush this time around. About the same number who voted for Bush in the last election switched their vote to Kerry.
- Almost 80% had already decided who they would vote for a month before the election. This is not surprising. What was surprising (to me) was that most of them were for Bush. The Democrats already had an uphill battle before they started. They did make up some ground in the last month, but not enough.
- 53% approve of the job that Bush is doing. However, slightly more than 3 million people seemed to have disapproved of Bush's performance and yet voted for him, whereas about 5 million approved of his performance, but voted for Kerry. This one puzzles me too.
- About 6 million people voted for Bush even though they were against the decision to go to war against Iraq.
- Some who were 'angry' with the Bush administration still voted for him (about 800,000 people). Others who were 'dissatisfied' still voted for him too (about 4.8 million). On the flip side, about 3.8 million voted for Kerry even though they were 'satisfied' or 'enthusiastic' about the Bush administration.
- A huge 67% thought that Kerry 'attacked unfairly', but only 60% thought that Bush attacked unfairly. What?!!
- 56% thought that Kerry said what 'people wanted to hear' as opposed to 'what he thought'.
- About 6 million voted for Bush even though they thought same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry.
- 58% would trust Bush to handle terrorism, compared to 40% who would trust Kerry.
- Finally, 49% feel that the US is "going in the right direction". Yeah, right.
Having looked at all these, I have to say that we have to take polls with a gigantic grain of salt. Do voters really understand the questions that they're being asked? Take a look below:
- They asked how people would vote if Ralph Nader wasn't running. Almost all who voted for Nader said that they would not have voted. That's not the strange bit; this is: According to the stats, about 60 people (out of the 13,000 or so who were polled) said that they would switch their vote from Kerry to Bush. About 140 people said they would have switched their vote from Bush to Kerry.
Comments: Post a Comment
Still too close to call?Results are beginning to come in for the US presidential elections, and it doesn't exactly look great for Kerry. Simply put, results for the hotly contested states of Ohio and Florida are not forthcoming, but early indications are that Bush is leading.
The thinking (well, my thinking, anyway) has been that if the Democrats lost two out of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, then they've lost the election. Forty one electoral votes is just too much ground to make up, especially since the Republicans control just about all of the midwest.
Pennsylvania has just been announced to Kerry (after 64% of the precints, he gets 1.65m votes against 1.25m for Bush), but nobody is keen to repeat 2000 and jump the gun on Florida and Ohio especially since people are still voting.
(As of this moment)
- Florida: Kerry has 2.89m against 3.15m for Bush, from 88% of the precints
- Ohio: Kerry has 1.37m against 1.48m for Bush, from 51% of the precints
I mean, how hard is it to run an election?
Interestingly, more people have voted for Bush already in Florida than in the 2000 election. This is not a Good Sign. Now all hopes are pinned on the good people of Ohio.
Update 12.00 noon: Florida goes to Bush
Hey, what a coincidence! I'm blogging about the results too - it does look like Kerry's not gonna make it. Gore for 2008?Post a Comment
America votes, I wait for my root beer floatThere's an ice cold A&W root beer float out there with my name on it, but I won't be able to claim it unless Bush gets voted out. I suppose he could be ousted in some other way, such as a coup, or if he's arrested for war crimes or if he decides to retire early and take up chilli farming. But, in principle, I am hoping he doesn't win this time round. It's been three years since I last touched an A&W root beer float.
It boggles my mind how on Earth this election could still be so close, after Bush has so ably demonstrated how bad he is at running a country. Lots of talk, but the fact is that the US is in worse shape than before he took over.
If he were a CEO of a company, he'd been fired when he presented his first budget deficit that lay somewhere the wrong side of hundreds of billions. Say it again after me: BILLIONS.
And then there was that Iraq invasion thing. I shan't bore you with the details. Plus Abu Ghraib. And Guantanamo. And the Patriot Act.
And yet, despite this, he manages to persuade most of the midwest and large swathes of central USA to vote for him.
Only in America.
Consider the social demographics of who votes in America and where were the places which voted for Bush. American elections are about appealing to the voters. Let's put it this way, 85% of Americans do not have a passport or at least never left their country, don't know where Iraq is and probably do not understand the consequences of a budget deficit, declining USD strength.The notion of doing a great service to the ideals of freedom is appealing to those who do not know that over 1000 americans have died, a few ppl have been beheaded and it is a nightmare out in Iraq. And...Bush still needs more money. Bush appeals to those no matter how much he has messed up.... the same goes for Blair in the UK but i think he might get re-elected next yr. American elections are not about intellect anymore. Sad but true. Democracy ....yeah right! kmkPost a Comment