November 29, 2004


Bush's victory was more than 'moral values' (Eric Black, November 26, 2004, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

"Moral values" voters were not the key to understanding President's Bush's election victory, according to an analysis by University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs.

Jacobs argues that changes in the partisan makeup of the electorate and the difficulty of defeating an incumbent president during an economic recovery were more critical than the moral-values factor. [...]

Another key factor in Bush's victory, Jacobs argued in his paper, is that the economy wasn't as bad as Kerry needed it to be.

The rule of thumb, developed by political scientists who have studied indicators of election outcomes, is that the incumbent usually will win if the gross domestic product rises by 2.6 percent or more in the second quarter of the election year.

GDP rose by 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2004 and 3.7 percent in the third quarter.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 29, 2004 12:57 PM

Yes the economy was recovering, but the extent of the recovery and other good economic news was buried by the media.

Posted by: Steve at November 29, 2004 2:24 PM


I am glad that 50,000 or so Ohioans never read this site.

Posted by: curt at November 29, 2004 5:55 PM

One day it was values that won the election. Then, the War on Terror (including Osama's tape) and National Security. Then, likeability. Then, it's the strength of the overall economy. I think we can all make fun of a grandiose comment like "Never in Doubt". I suppose is less scary than that to think about why was it sufficiently close to be in doubt? (Give the MSM and the billionaires' 527's some credit. They made it closer than it should have been.)

Posted by: Moe from NC at November 29, 2004 7:20 PM


No incumbent president loses with a good economy. Period. No incumbent with an approval rating of 50%+ loses. Period.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2004 7:43 PM

Concerning the election, Keith Olbermann over at MSNBC is absolutely must-read these days. I confess I never had any idea just how bonkers he truly is...

Posted by: brian at November 29, 2004 9:23 PM

I take it that the quoted dude is following the Fair model, which we discussed at some length. The real question is why Bush underperformed the model. I proposed it was the year long pummeling that he took from the MSM.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 29, 2004 11:07 PM

Considering what he took in -- incumbency, money, being a war president -- Bush's margin was remarkably thin.

The thinnest, by far, of any president so fixed, I believe.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 30, 2004 1:42 AM