Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Four. More. Years.

Results are still trickling in and Ohio has yet to be called but it's basically been all over bar the shouting (which might be substantial though unlikely to match 2000 levels) since Florida went red. George Bush will be in the White House until 2008.

At time of writing Bush is on 246 electoral votes to Kerry's 217 with 75 still to be assigned (the brilliant New York Times electoral calculator is updated regularly). As I have heard about 6 times since getting up this morning, Ohio is the key and several networks in the US have already called it for Bush. Of course, if Kerry wins he could prove me (and most news organisations) wrong. It's a mighty thin straw to cling to.

Already Democrats will be looking to point fingers, and some commentators already have thoughts on this (links from Political Wire). One early disappointment was the youth vote of 18-24 year olds, widely neglected by pollsters and heavily tipped to be inclined towards Kerry. However, this great new bloc seemed not to have materialized. Otherwise the impression of an upset has been created by the inaccuracy of exit polls, which put Kerry some 5 points ahead in Florida, a state he lost by about two points, and the huge voter turnout (largest, some are predicting, in 40 years) which was read as a flood of new voters whose support would likely go to Kerry.

Compounding things, and largely uncommented on by UK news, Congress is firmly in Republican hands. They now lead the Democrats 52 to 45 seats (with 3 undecided) in the Senate and 228 to 206 seats (with 9 undecided) in the House of Representatives.

A crumb of consolation for the Democrats? Look to Illinois where Barack Obama romped home to a Senate seat with 70% of the vote, demolishing the deranged Republican Alan Keyes to become only the third African-American senator since Reconstruction. He's also a dynamic campaigner, a strong speaker and one to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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