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| | | |-+  How did Gore not win comfortably?
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Author Topic: How did Gore not win comfortably?  (Read 19957 times)
Keystone Phil
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« on: February 04, 2009, 01:28:51 pm »
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Please try your best not to turn this into "He did win!" and that type of nonsense.


I'm in the middle of watching this movie Recount and it brings me back to the days of the 2000 campaign. Now I don't really remember the campaign itself all that well. I remember major events (the debate, Election night, parts of each convention, etc.) but I was just getting interested in politics back then so I obviously don't remember it as well as I remember 2004 or 2008.

We know that Gore didn't utilize Clinton, fearing that it would hurt him with too many voters. However, when you look back on it, Clinton had an approval rating at the time in the mid 50s and even low 60s!

Bush campaigning in restoring honor and dignity to the White House was great but why did that resonate as much as it did? The public clearly didn't care about Clinton's ethical issues all that much. Was Gore's campaign really that inept? The economy was in good shape, the country wasn't at war and the departing President was clearly popular. Even if the campaign didn't use Clinton enough and even though Gore was one of the worst personalities to run for the Presidency in modern times, shouldn't Gore have had a comfortable victory just based on the mood of the country?
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WalterMitty
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 01:46:41 pm »
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well he did win.  Smiley

i think the reason he didnt win comfortably was because of his personality.  he comes across as an abrasive know-it-all.

true, clinton had high approval ratings,but his personal approval ratiings were in the toilet.  people actually believe bush would 'clean up the white house'
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 07:24:57 pm »
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well he did win.  Smiley

i think the reason he didnt win comfortably was because of his personality.  he comes across as an abrasive know-it-all.

true, clinton had high approval ratings,but his personal approval ratiings were in the toilet.  people actually believe bush would 'clean up the white house'

I wonder how much personal ratings matter when you have an approval rating in the 60s.

Amazing how someone's personality (Gore's) can make what ought to be an easy win into a real nailbitter.
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2009, 07:51:51 pm »
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Gore was basically trailing the entire campaign but closed in the final weeks, aided by the Bush DUI thing and Nader bled to him hardcore late in swing states.
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2009, 07:53:47 pm »
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I don't find Bush's personality (contrivances and all) to be all that endearing either. Tax cuts were the issue that put Bush over the top.
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2009, 07:57:31 pm »
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I remember hearing that Gore would win the Electoral Vote and Bush would win the Popular Vote.
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2009, 07:58:49 pm »
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I remember hearing that Gore would win the Electoral Vote and Bush would win the Popular Vote.

and Bush was prepared to fight that:

http://www.bartcop.com/111tie.htm
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2009, 08:05:00 pm »
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He distanced himself from his predecessor.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2009, 08:18:26 pm »
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Gore was basically trailing the entire campaign but closed in the final weeks, aided by the Bush DUI thing and Nader bled to him hardcore late in swing states.

No, no, no. You're misunderstanding the point of this thread. Why was that the case? Why was Gore out ahead basically the entire campaign?

I think it's safe to say that if it wasn't for the DUI thing, Bush would have won the popular vote. That's just embarrassing for Gore considering the political climate and the fact that Bush had his own personal shortcomings.

The whole Nader is excuse is another joke. The Gore campaign should have been able to make Nader irrelevant. I think Nader's rather successful showing in 2000 was a perfect example of how good things were in 2000. Hardcore left wingers could take a chance throwing their vote to Nader because, in the end, it probably wouldn't mean much. However, looking back on it, if you throw that 3% to Gore, he wins the popular vote rather comfortably and even a few more states go his way. It was the Gore campaign's fault for letting Nader remain a factor. A good campaign knows how to handle a spoiler and making sure that that spoiler's supporters don't just stay home on Election day.

I remember hearing that Gore would win the Electoral Vote and Bush would win the Popular Vote.

and Bush was prepared to fight that:

http://www.bartcop.com/111tie.htm

And that's unfortunate (though I must note how they only quoted "a Bush aide") but if the quotes from the movie Recount are accurate, when asked about that possibility, the Gore campaign told reporters that they would expect Bush to respect "the rule of law."  Tongue Your source backs up those quotes.  Too bad we didn't hear that when their surrogates were spinning everytime they got the chance, saying Gore won the popular (as if we were supposed to make an exception to the rule just this one time).
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Boris
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2009, 08:20:48 pm »
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This is sort of unprovable, but my thesis is basically that many of those that would have favored Gore with a gun to their head didn't vote while Bush's supporters among the religious right were more motivated with the hypothetical chance to overturn Roe v. Wade and "restore moral authority" to the White House. Although obviously the DUI hurt Bush and Gore's GOTV operations were superior to Bush's (or the polling right before election day just sucked, whichever). Gore's unlikability was probably the largest cause of this...voter ambivalence. I think the conventional wisdom between 2000-2004 was that higher turnout favored the Democrats; needless to say, most of us were stunned when Bush was able to win as many votes as he did in 2004.

The turnout was really low as it is among voters (which is what happens during times of stability I suppose) anyway. It was, what, only a couple points higher than 1996?

true, clinton had high approval ratings,but his personal approval ratiings were in the toilet.  people actually believe bush would 'clean up the white house'

http://www.pollingreport.com/clinton1.htm

Some polls had him at about +10 during the fall campaign, some polls have him at about even. *shrug* They should have at least used him more in Arkansas or something
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2009, 08:22:28 pm »
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He distanced himself from his predecessor.

Yeah but like I said, I think it has to be more than that. So Gore didn't have Clinton campaign with him that much (or at all). Big deal. The country whose policies Gore wanted to continue. The country liked Clinton enough to give him a 60% approval rating. The country heard Bush bashing Clinton in every stump speech and while they might have agreed with Bush about Clinton's personal life, that doesn't seem to be a real winning argument when the bottom line is that the country was at peace and prosperous.

It really was a very odd election and a lot more complex than we are led to believe.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2009, 08:26:31 pm »
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while Bush's supporters among the religious right were more motivated with the hypothetical chance to overturn Roe v. Wade and "restore moral authority" to the White House.

They weren't that motivated. The Bush 2004 campaign harped on the depressingly low Evangelical turnout of 2000. They made sure that they wouldn't see a repeat of that.

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tweed
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2009, 08:27:43 pm »
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another factor may have been Clinton's low personal favorability ratings.  while a solid majority approved of the job he did a similar majority also personally disliked him, per exits.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2009, 08:31:51 pm »
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another factor may have been Clinton's low personal favorability ratings.  while a solid majority approved of the job he did a similar majority also personally disliked him, per exits.

Like I said, I only see that being a huge factor if his approval ratings were mediocre. The man was above or close to 60% around Election day 2000. America was at peace and prosperous. I just find it hard to believe that Gore's campaign was so poorly run that they couldn't hammer these points and come away with a convincing victory.
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phk
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2009, 08:33:31 pm »
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Exit polls showed that nearly 1 in 5 Clinton 96' voters were for Bush.
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Kevin
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2009, 08:35:06 pm »
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Exit polls showed that nearly 1 in 5 Clinton 96' voters were for Bush.

I guess that was mainly in the Southeast, Midwest and West?
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2009, 08:38:05 pm »
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Gore probably also helped by trying to throw the thing away. You know...the sighing and walking up to Bush during the debates.
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Boris
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2009, 08:39:27 pm »
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while Bush's supporters among the religious right were more motivated with the hypothetical chance to overturn Roe v. Wade and "restore moral authority" to the White House.

They weren't that motivated. The Bush 2004 campaign harped on the depressingly low Evangelical turnout of 2000. They made sure that they wouldn't see a repeat of that.

These sort of things are hard to (dis)prove but Gore received only 3 million more votes than Clinton did three years earlier while Bush received about 11 million more votes than Dole did. Those votes had to come from somewhere. IIRC Bush won about 60% of 1996 Perot voters (according to exit polls) yet that only amounts to about 5 million votes. The term "that motivated" is relative. Obviously not as motivated as they were four years later, but certainly much more motivated than they were in 1996 and 1992. Which was, at the time, what mattered.

Gore probably also helped by trying to throw the thing away. You know...the sighing and walking up to Bush during the debates.

I remember watching that moment and thought Gore was going to punch Bush or something. Bush's nod was pretty funny. Good times, good times.
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2009, 08:52:19 pm »
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while Bush's supporters among the religious right were more motivated with the hypothetical chance to overturn Roe v. Wade and "restore moral authority" to the White House.

They weren't that motivated. The Bush 2004 campaign harped on the depressingly low Evangelical turnout of 2000. They made sure that they wouldn't see a repeat of that.

These sort of things are hard to (dis)prove but Gore received only 3 million more votes than Clinton did three years earlier while Bush received about 11 million more votes than Dole did. Those votes had to come from somewhere. IIRC Bush won about 60% of 1996 Perot voters (according to exit polls) yet that only amounts to about 5 million votes. The term "that motivated" is relative. Obviously not as motivated as they were four years later, but certainly much more motivated than they were in 1996 and 1992. Which was, at the time, what mattered.

If exit polls are correct than Clinton 96 voters who supported Bush in 2000 contributed an 6 to 8 million pV boost for Bush.

Though I'm sure in some localities such as NoVA, Bay Area burbs, Seattle burbs, etc there were some decent Dole to Gore movement.

Exit polls showed that nearly 1 in 5 Clinton 96' voters were for Bush.

I guess that was mainly in the Southeast, Midwest and West?

I think the bulk of these people were in Appalachia and the South (KY, TN, WV, AR, LA). These were likely people who voted for Clinton based on "personal appeal" anyway.

I think Gore could have easily won though had he not hemorrhaged so many Clinton voters, likely netting him TN, FL, WV, NH, NV rather easily.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2009, 08:58:32 pm »
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These sort of things are hard to (dis)prove but Gore received only 3 million more votes than Clinton did three years earlier while Bush received about 11 million more votes than Dole did. Those votes had to come from somewhere. IIRC Bush won about 60% of 1996 Perot voters (according to exit polls) yet that only amounts to about 5 million votes. The term "that motivated" is relative. Obviously not as motivated as they were four years later, but certainly much more motivated than they were in 1996 and 1992. Which was, at the time, what mattered.

I had always heard from analysts that Evangelical turnout was "down" in 2000 but whatever.

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I remember watching that moment and thought Gore was going to punch Bush or something. Bush's nod was pretty funny. Good times, good times.

I remember Barbara Bush claiming that she seriously thought that Gore was going to hit him. Bush's nod was awesome.

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WalterMitty
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« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2009, 09:38:18 pm »
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the bush campaign also made a very serious mistake by visiting california, illinois and new jersey in the closing days, instead of concentrating on iowa, wisconsin, florida and iowa.
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« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2009, 10:09:01 pm »
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The media was in Bush's pocket.
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phk
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« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2009, 10:35:35 pm »
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The media was in Bush's pocket.

This too. The press core was fairly pro-Bush.
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Keystone Phil
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2009, 11:28:37 pm »
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the bush campaign also made a very serious mistake by visiting california, illinois and new jersey in the closing days, instead of concentrating on iowa, wisconsin, florida and iowa.

Well, sure, but that can be covered in the "How did Bush not take more of an advantage of Gore practically throwing him the election?" thread.  Tongue
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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2009, 11:34:16 pm »
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One thing you have to keep in mind is that there actually isn't that much evidence that an incumbent's popularity / unpopularity transfers over *that much* to the chosen successor within his own party.  Eisenhower was pretty popular in 1960, but JFK still beat Nixon, LBJ was pretty unpopular in 1968, but Nixon only just barely beat Humphrey, Bush and Gore basically fought to a draw in 2000, despite Clinton being fairly popular, Obama beat McCain by "only" 7 points, despite historically low job approval ratings for Bush.

Bottom line, the voters don't necessarily all see the incumbent party nominee as being a potential "third term" for the incumbent president.  Elections with no incumbent president running always seem to be closer than you would "expect" if the voters actually thought that way.

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