Looking Back at the 2004 Election
Political Science Quarterly takes a nonpartisan look at the 2004 election. There are no real surprises here. The election was close due to the near equal division in the country, and 2008 is also expected to be a close race. Open races with no incumbent running also tend to be close.
Due to the degree of polarization most people made up their minds early and there was only about a one percent shift during the race, contradicting arguments in some liberal blogs that Kerry lost what was a sure thing due to running a poor campaign.
Attitudes expressed at the time of the election could represent a long term problem, with more people believing Kerry is too liberal than Bush too conservative. However, the recent deterioration in Bush’s support might lead more people to reconsider their previous pro-Republican beliefs and I suspect that this aspect of evaluating the 2004 election might not be relevant to 2008.