Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Looking Back at the Popular Vote

November 6th, 2004, 9:00am by Sam Wang


Here is a pre-election article by Kerry consultant Mark Mellman that predicted Bush’s popular vote share to within 0.1%. Going by the article, the factors that went into the calculation included job approval, the economy, war, and right track/wrong track sentiment. Putting aside the talk about values (based on a single poorly-worded exit poll question), what about the relatively simple hypothesis that the economy’s not that bad combined with loyalty to a wartime president?

Despite all this, the true margin of victory was about 150,000 votes in Ohio, and even smaller margins in Wisconsin and New Hampshire. As I said during the campaign, Electoral College mechanisms (essentially because of increased clustering of Bush supporters) gave Kerry an approximately 2% advantage compared with the popular vote. Thus the difference between the Meta-margin above and the popular vote margin.

Tags: 2004 Election

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