Four more years

I said I will not write about it, but still, I feel I have to. Just the conclusions after all these days happenings. I couldn’t help myself not reading the follow-up’s on these elections and the news in the day after.

So, Bush won by 3.5 million votes, a 52% majority. This is dramatically higher than what former President Clinton could claim in ’92 and ’96 and it’s the first popular vote majority since 1988 and most votes in election history. Also, Bush is the first president of either party since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 to be re-elected while gaining seats in both houses. Considering all these, whether we like it or not, the things are way much clear that everybody expected (including Bush here, I suppose).

On the other hand looking at the CNN National Exit Polls we can draw up some conclusion as well as understand a little bit what happened.

Looking at the voting pattern the top issue (21%) was “moral values”; 78% of those who cared about that went for Bush, 19% for Kerry. Next: economy/jobs at 20%; 81% preferring Kerry, 17% Bush. So Kerry got much better marks on the economy. Terror comes in third at 18%; 85% preferring Bush, 15% Kerry. That’s the one that is amazing in the importance voters gave. Bush ran on terrorism which wasn’t No. 1 in the minds of voters. Iraq comes in next at 15%; 75% preferring Kerry, 24% Bush.

Now getting in the maths of the votes, there’s a lot to tell. (An impresive analysis on this can be found in an article called Understanding people which I’ll actually quote a lot from here on)

We already saw this year an increase in the voters turnout. As such, Kerry got 4 million more votes than Gore, but Bush increased his popular vote by 8 million. Bush got the same huge majority of votes from the rural America, while Kerry, as well as Gore, got the big cities. In this case, what made the difference, was the sububurbs. In 2000, Bush beat Gore in the suburbs by a very small margin, this time Bush made it.

So who are they? What does the suburban demographic look like? Disproportionately white, disproportionately middle to upper-middle class, higher home ownership and a consumer debt load nearly twice what it was in 2000, low-density, single-family home. They own more, and owe a lot more, than the average American, so they have a lot more to lose.

* they depend on both incomes, and are fearful and stressed out about money

* they are insulated and isolated from other people, especially people from other cultures.

* they are more concerned about crime than city dwellers, for example, even though they have a much lower probability of being its victims.

* they are disproportionally fond of guns, although unlike other Americans, their guns are unlikely to ever be used.

* they are disproportionately evangelical in their religious beliefs.

* they read very little non-fiction

* they know almost nothing about what’s going on in the world outside their own country and Iraq (and they don’t know much about them

* they are worse off than they were four years ago.

Now let me quote again from Understanding people:

(November, 2nd) eight million anxious, fearful white American suburbanites, male and female, who didn’t vote in 2000, pried themselves out of their isolated, insulated, heavily-mortgaged, two-income-trap homes, and voted for the devil they knew over of the devil they didn’t. And then they went home and prayed.

Well, after all, the difference was made, and it was huge. Us, who expected a fresh start, we can only hope, that Mr. President will learn something out of it, and will stop making the same mistakes.

Because, after all, whose moral values are we talking about?

UPDATE: Another interesting point of view about How George Bush won the elections?

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