March 1, 2005

Crunching The 2004 Election Numbers

George W. Bush and the Republicans won the 2004 election by mastering the politics of networking, and in the process may have reshaped the American electorate. From Michael Barone's essay in The National Journal...

The Bush campaign used connections -- networks -- to recruit volunteers and identify voters. The campaign built on existing connections -- religious, occupational, voluntary -- to establish contacts. If a Bush volunteer was a Hispanic accountant active in the Boy Scouts, the campaign would reach out through him to other Hispanics, accountants and their clients, and Boy Scout volunteers. Of course, the campaign put much effort into contacting people in religious groups -- particularly evangelical Christians, but also Catholics and Orthodox Jews. And the Bush campaign reached out to people with shared affinities who tend to be Republicans. The campaign consulting firms National Media and TargetPoint identified Republican-leaning groups -- Coors beer and bourbon drinkers, college football TV viewers, Fox News viewers, people with caller ID -- and devised ways to connect with them...

...America is now, perhaps momentarily, or perhaps at the beginning of a long period, a 51 percent nation, a majority -- a narrow majority -- Republican nation. The evidence is there in Bush's re-election victory, in the Republicans' popular-vote majorities in the 2002 and 2004 elections to the House, in the 2004 National Election Pool exit poll that showed party identification at 37 percent Democratic and 37 percent Republican, compared with the 39 percent-to-35 percent Democratic advantage registered in the Voter News Service exit polls in 1996 and 2000. Clinton had the chance to forge a majority for his party. He failed. Bush had the chance to forge a majority for his party. He succeeded.

Posted by dan at March 1, 2005 9:46 PM