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The 2004 Presidential Election: The Emergence of a Permanent Majority?
PAUL R. ABRAMSON, JOHN H. ALDRICH, and DAVID W. ROHDE examine the election results, the appeals of the candidates, the exit poll conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International, and a series of polls conducted by Knowledge Networks over the course of the 2004 election year to evaluate the reasons that George W. Bush was reelected. They conclude that the vote decisions were based largely upon retrospective evaluations in which Bush was perceived by a narrow margin to have been a successful president as well as a leader who would be successful in combating terrorism. They argue that pundits may have exaggerated the role of social divisions in the election. Analyses of candidate appeals and of the concerns of the electorate show that the candidates made few appeals to values and that only a small proportion of the public said that social issues would be the most important factor in determining their vote.

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