2004 Election Returns Live Blog

Assuming I can actually connect to the ‘net, I’ll be live blogging this puppy starting around 7:30 Eastern and ending whenever it’s over with or I’m too tired or disgusted to take it anymore. I’ll be blogging from a secret undisclosed location.

If you’re live blogging, too, feel free to link to this post, creating an Election Night Traffic Jam. A link to your post will appear directly under the signature block of this one. To join in, link and send a TrackBack to this post. If your blog doesn’t automatically generate one, use the Send TrackBack feature below. For more information, see this post.(I’ve moved the remainder of this very long post to the extended entry now that the night is over.)

Update: Here are the early numbers I’m seeing now, via e-mail from a reliable source:


CO Bush 50 Kerry 48
FL Kerry 51 Bush 49
IA Kerry 50 Bush 49
MI Kerry 51 Bush 47
MN Kerry 54 Bush 44
NV tied
NH Kerry 53 Bush 45
NJ Kerry 54 Bush 44
NM Kerry 50 Bush 48
OH Kerry 51 Bush 49
OR still too early to get accurate reading
PA Kerry 53 Bush 56
WI Kerry 51 Bush 48

This strikes me as more like it although, again, this is based on exit polls and not actual counting of ballots. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I’m almost certain that this would mean a Kerry win if the numbers hold.

Update (1930): MSNBC was getting ready to call Ohio. They’re saying it’s “too close to call.” If Bush loses Ohio, it’s going to be mighty tough for him to win. Tom Brokaw notes that no Republican has ever won the presidency without it. The math is there–the addition of New Mexico and Iowa would offset it–but it’s unlikely. They’re also saying Pennsylvania, Missouri, and New Hampshire are “too close to call.” Of course, they’re saying that about Mississippi, which is idiotic.

They’re also saying that Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are “too close to call.” I’m having a bit of trouble believing that. Kerry hardly campaigned in those states. That he’s in contention in any of them is incredible.

(1951): CNN All Politics is reporting that their exit poll results have Bush winning 51% – 47% among men and Kerry 54% – 45% among women. If this is a good sample, Kerry will win the popular vote.

MSNBC is reporting that 13% of those voting in Ohio were first timers, who went strongly for Kerry. Further, the only demographic that went for Bush in Ohio are the over 60s. Again, if true, bad news for Bush.

(2000): Florida has closed and is–shockingly–“too close to call.” Bush is projected to carry Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Alabama. Kerry will take New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusets, Maine (no mention of the 2nd CD), and DC. They’re also claiming that Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Hampshire and –get this– Mississippi are “too close to call.”

Bush also has won West Virginia. I agree with Glenn Reynolds that this likely precludes a Kerry landslide, just as New Jersey’s going to Kerry precludes a Bush landslide.

Note: Incredibly high traffic across the network results in my having only intermittent access to the site. Definitely time to install a backup server. Sigh.

(2020): MSNBC projects Bush as the winner in North Carolina. My strong guess is that South Carolina and Virginia are Bush wins as well, but the networks are too gunshy after 2000. Andrea Mitchell says the reason these races are so close is huge turnout among young voters.

Brian Williams reports that 55% of those polled say Iraq is going badly.

Why in the hell is Ron Reagan, Jr. an election night commenter? He seems like a likeable enough guy but he’s got no special expertise.

(203o): Arkansas just closed. It’s still “too close to call.” I’m rather confident Bush will win it, although it was always the most contentious of the Deep South states.

Coburn, the Republican, won the Oklahoma Senate seat vacated by Don Nickels. That was always a tight race.

MSNBC has called South Carolina for Bush. Toldya.

(2043): MSNBC has gotten bold and called Virginia for Bush. Based on the numbers they’re showing, it’s a friggin’ blowout.

Bill Kristol on Fox News notes that the exit polls in Virginia were awful. Indeed, that’s apparently been true in several states. That was my guess when I saw the early numbers–they were simply so out of whack with what the pre-election polls were saying.

(2050): Susan Estrich, correctly, notes that either the exit polls are way out of whack or Bush loses. That’s hard to argue, since the exit polls show Kerry winning Ohio and possibly Florida. For some odd reason, she has acquired a Southern drawl.

(2100): Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico, and Louisiana have closed but are “too close to call.” Bush takes Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, North Dakota and Arizona. Kerry takes New York and Rhode Island. Lousiana will certainly go to Bush.

The networks–I’ve flipped between Fox News, MSNBC, and NBC–have all been very cautious in calling states that weren’t even contested. As a result, NONE of the races that we expected to be close going into the night have been called.

Michael Barone is talking about Florida numbers and suggests that the huge increase in turnout is apparently helping Bush in key counties. I hope that’s the case, although it defies conventional wisdom.

(2108) Mort Kondracke notes that the exit polls have been awful. They had Kerry running the table in several states in the Midwest that either have already been called for Bush or that are too close to call at this state.

Kristol notes that Pennsylvania–which has yet to be called–seems to be clearly going to Kerry. The interesting thing here is that Kerry seems to be holding the Gore states easier than Bush is holding key Bush states from 2000.

(2126): MSNBC/Chris Matthews has gone out on a limb and called Louisiana for Bush.

(2127): Greta Van Sustern notes that Florida’s Amendment #1, which requires parental notification for abortion, is winning by a 2-to-1 margin. That should be good news for Bush.

(2129): Welcome MSNBC Hardblogger visitors!

(2135): CNN has really stretched and is calling Mississippi for Bush. Shocker!

For reasons that escape me, Fox News is interviewing Ralph Nader, who likely will wind up with somewhat under 1% of the national vote and well under 1% of the Electoral votes.

(2142): Gay marriage ballot issues in Arkansas, Michigan, and North Dakota are winning in huge landslides. Again, one would think that augers well for Bush in Arkansas and Michigan. (He’s already won North Dakota.) Ohio has gone further and banned even civil unions–which even Bush favors.

(2146): Fox has called the South Carolina Senate seat going to Jim Demint–a net pickup of one for the GOP (Zell Miller’s Georgia seat went to Johnny Isakson and the Illinois seat vacated by Peter Fitzgerald went to Barach Obama, both as widely assumed.) The Coburn win in Oklahoma, while one of the more contested races, was just a “hold” for Republicans.

Polls close at 10 Eastern in Iowa and Nebraska. A Bush pickup in Iowa could be the first switch (over 2000) of the night.

(2200): Fox has projected Utah for Bush. Neither CNN, Fox, nor NBC/MSNBC have called any of the swing states as of yet.

(2206): Brit Hume mistakenly thought he’d called Pennsylvania, presumably based on lopsided exit polls. None of the networks have called it, even though it would seem rather obvious that Kerry will win it–although not by anywhere near the 8-10 point margin of the exit polls. Arlen Specter is also having more trouble than expected in his race.

(2211): In key Senate races: Bunning is up 51-49 with 99% reporting. Burr also appears to be edging Bowles in NC. Castor and Martinez are deadlocked in Floridal. Hoeffel seems to be beating Specter in PA.

(2214): Fox has called Missouri and Arkansas, both battlegrounds, for Bush. (As has CNN, apparently.) Those are just keepers from 2000, though.

(2217): MSNBC has also called Missouri. Still, though, no flips from 2000.

(2218): Bush is looking solid in Florida, leading 52-47 with 80% of the precincts reporting. I don’t know which precincts are missing, though.

Both Fox and MSNBC are covering Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. I find the guy very impressive and likeable but, frankly, he was essentially unopposed and his victory was a foregone conclusion. C’mon.

(2223): Fox is reluctant to call the Kentucky Senate race for Bunning, even though he’s up 8000+ (51-49) votes with 100% of the precincts in. Barone notes that there is always the possibility of tabulation error.

(2229): They’ve conferred and called it for Bunning.

(2241): New Hampshire is essentially tied with 50% of the precincts in.

(2243): California, Oregon, and Washington all close at 11 Eastern. They’ll all go to Kerry, as expected, and create a huge surge in Kerry’s Electoral count.

(2246): Bill Kristol, who’s been talking to a Republican pollster, thinks there’s a 75% chance that Bush will win Florida. Indeed, I think it’s nearly a given at this point, since Bush is leading even without, presumably, the late-closing Panhandle included. It’s going to come down, as I’ve long expected, to Ohio.

(2250): CNN projects the GOP to gain 5 House seats. Presumably, this is mainly a function of the Texas redistricting.

(2252): Steven Taylor passes on word that NBC’s Lisa Meyers reports a systematic 5% Republican undercount in the exit polls.

(2255): Fox has called Pennsylvania for Kerry. That’s a big win, although one that was expected and merely a “hold” from 2000. CNN has called it, too.

They have also called Richard Burr as winning the John Edwards open seat in North Carolina, a net gain for the GOP.

(2259): A reliable source, doing some calling on the local districts, has Kerry taking Ohio and Wisconsin. If that happens, Bush can scarcely win the race. He at least needs Michigan. Drudge has Bush leading Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan–although I have no clue what he’s basing that one.

(2303): CNN has the presidential race at 197-188 Electoral Votes for Bush with 50% of the national precincts in. So far, no swing has occured from 2000.

(2308): Fox has projected Specter pulling it out in Pennsylvania. The race was much closer than expected.

Apparently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit about absentee ballots in Broward County, Florida. Probably a good sign that Florida is trending Bush. Judge Andrew Napalotana (sp?) fears that courts will extend the absentee voting deadline in Florida, though, which would create havok.

(2312): Fox projects that Pete Sessions has beaten Martin Frost in Texas, a situation where two imcumbents were forced to run against one another because of redistricting. That’s a key GOP win. Charlie Stenholm is apparently way behind as well, for similar reasons. Mort Kondracke, correctly, notes that this is part of an increasing trend toward driving moderates out of Congress, as both Frost and Stenholm were fairly conservative Democrats.

(2319): Fox predicts a GOP gain of 2 seats in the U.S. Senate–3 if Thune unseats Daschle in South Dakota.

(2323): Fox has called Montana for Bush and called Washington and Oregon for Kerry several minutes ago. Oddly, CNN hasn’t yet called any of those obvious states.

Bush is up 52-47 in Florida with 95% of the precincts in. This is a margin of over 300,000 votes so far.

(2330): From Drudge: “White House sources are telling UPI that they believe George W. Bush will win Ohio and be re-elected president of the United States.” If Bush carries Ohio, he will indeed win re-election. UPI has the entire story on its website. At the moment, Bush is up 52-48 with 61% of the precincts in.

(2338): A reliable source in Louisiana informs me that Republican Vitter is going to win Lousiana outright, not requiring a December runoff against one of the two Democratic challengers. That’s a GOP pickup, replacing Democrat David Breaux.

(2340): Susan Estrich’s Democratic sources seem somewhat optimistic about taking Ohio, which they concede is “Everything.” Apparently, several counties are going Kerry’s way. She also says that a lot of Democrats are STILL IN LINE waiting to vote in Florida, even though polls closed there nearly four hours ago. Right now, though, Bush is up 52-47 with 97% of the precincts in–with a 320,000 plus vote lead.

(2356): Stephen Green reports that Colorado’s Amendment 36 has “gone down in flames.” That means the winner, presumably Bush, will get all 9 Electors rather than splitting them 5-4.

(2358): Steven Taylor:

Judy Woodruff (looking the way Britt Hume looked several hours back) is reporting that a Kerry insider has told her that the Kerry camp believes now that they are likely to lose Florida. The mood at the Kerry campaign, she reports, now is down in contrast to the up mood being reported from the Bush camp.

There’d have to be a helluva lawsuit for Kerry to take Florida at this point.

(11-3 0003): Fox has yet to call Florida but note that “other networks” have done so.

(0014): Interesting tidbit from MSNBC:

So Joe Scarborough was right. The youth did not get (more of) the vote out. In Joe’s words, “They always leave you at the altar.” As Brian Williams explained an hour ago on air, based on NBC exit polls, the youth voters made up 17 percent of all voters—the same percentage as in 2000. The youth voters did break for Kerry. Also note that the 18-29 year olds were divided about their feelings on the war in Iraq. This, despite suspicions that draft rumors would mobilize the young voters.

The exit polls were, indeed, worthless as hell.

(0025): Fox has now called Florida and Colorado for Bush, getting him to 246 Electoral votes. Still, though, there has yet to be a “switch” from 2000. CNN has also called Florida.

(0029): It’s worth noting that Bush is up in New Mexico–which would be a swing from 2000–by a 51-48 margin with 73% reporting.

(0035): Fox has called New Hampshire for Kerry–the first switch from 2000. It’s also the only switch that I predicted going in Kerry’s direction. Bush would still win the election if he wins Ohio even if he picks up no “Blue” state.

(0040): Bush is well up in the popular vote so far, leading 51-48, with a 300,000+ margin, with 72% of the precincts reporting.

(0041): FOX NEWS JUST CALLED OHIO FOR BUSH. THAT’S THE ELECTION. That puts him at 266 Electors with Alaska’s 3 Electors–a gimme for Bush–yet to be tabulated. At least one of New Mexico, Iowa, and Nevada will also go to Bush.

Stephen Green is pleased.

(0049): Polls close in Alaska in 11 minutes. One suspects Fox will call Alaska, getting Bush to 269, moments later.

So far, my prediction of Bush gaining New Mexico and Iowa but losing New Hampshire looks pretty good. Kerry leads in Iowa by a little over 1000 votes with 85% in.

(0059): NBC has called Ohio for Bush.

(0100): Fox has called Alaska for Bush. That puts him at 269 Electors. Actually, conceivably only 268 given the possibility of the faithless Elector in West Virginia not voting for Bush. His health should be assured, though, as I’m reasonably confident New Mexico goes for Bush.

(0106): Fox has called the Colorado Senate race for Salazar, the Democrat, over Coors. That’s a pickup of the Republican seat vacated by Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell.

(0115): Ann Althouse:

“REALITY IS HERE, and I think we’ve got to give the President and his team a lot of credit. … They’ve won it.” So said James Carville just now on CNN.

(0118): Chris Matthews has asked a female Democrat about a Kerry concession speech. She doesn’t think it’ll happen any time soon. My strong guess is that, given that Bush will likely win a majority of the national popular vote–a shocker–and more than enough electors, Kerry will have to do it fairly soon. If the Florida and Ohio margins hold, I don’t think the Democrats will take this one to court.

(0129): CNN has yet to call Ohio for Bush. Ditto ABC or CBS.

Norah O’Donnell (MSNBC) has just read a statement from the Kerry campaign (MaryBeth Cahill) that they will not concede Ohio until the rest of the votes are counted.

Bush is leading in New Mexico (52-47 with 86% in) and Iowa (50-49 with 92%).

(0140): Chris Matthews reports that “a carload of lawyers” are on their way from Logan Airport to Ohio to challenge the vote count. Bush currently has a 102,000 vote lead with 99% of the votes in. If the vote stays over 100,000 in Bush’s favor–or, indeed, more than 1000 or so–I don’t think the country will stand for any shenanigans. After a night’s sleep, the Kerry campaign will come to that conclusion, methinks.

(0157): For whatever reason, New Mexico and Iowa are counting very friggin’ slowly. Still, Bush appears likely to win both of those.

The Kerry camp is apparently very desperate at this point, trying to figure out a way to get a recount even though they’re way behind. They’re hoping that the provisional ballots, most of which are almost certainly illegal, are going to be enough to overcome a 100,000+ vote deficit in the popular vote.

Bush currently leads the popular vote by 3.5 million votes–six times Al Gore’s margin–in addition to winning the Electoral College. He’s got a solid majority of 52-48. And Bush’s margin in NM, IA, and OH appears to be increasing as the vote count continues.

(0207): The other thing to consider is that John Edwards can not be part of this if he hopes to maintain his logical position as the frontrunner for the 2008 nomination. He’d look like an idiot and a spoilsport.

(0210): Crap: CNN reports, “Broken machines and a delay in opening absentee ballots will delay Iowa reporting its final count in the presidential election, state election officials said.”

(0213): MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell reports that Bush will deliver his victory speech once he wins either New Mexico or Nevada, regardless of whether Kerry concedes.

(0222): Nevada is finally starting to look like it was supposed to: Bush is up 50-48 with 65% of the precincts.

(0225): Daschle is closing the gap in North Dakota. He’s only down 6100 votes with 92% in.

(0229): John Edwards just came out and gave a rather idiotic speech about how they’re going to “fight for every vote.” Given that they’re down by 100,000+ in Ohio, 350,000+ in Florida, and 3.5 million+ nationally, that’s rather incongruous.

(0232): MSNBC has just called Hawaii for Kerry. Pat Buchanan points out that this means that , if Kerry somehow manages to steal Ohio and carries all the states where he’s currently leading, he’ll win.

(0246): CNN has declared Minnesota for Kerry. They have the Electoral race at Bush 249, Kerry 242 since they haven’t called Ohio.

Interesting. So far, only NBC and Fox have acknowledged the obvious result in Ohio.

(0258): The outcome of the election is pretty well a foregone conclusion at this point, as Bush is poised to win in New Mexico, Iowa, and Nevada. Indeed, it’s not outside the realm of mathematical probability that he’ll take Wisconsin, although that’s highly doubtful. For whatever reason, though, the counting of the last few precincts has been going incredibly slowly and my guess is that Bush won’t claim victory tonight. Given that I actually have to go to work in five hours or so, I’m going to call it a night/morning.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark Hasty says:

    “PA Kerry 53 Bush 56”

    Wow. Now *that’s* voting!

  2. dw says:

    Well, them Pennsyltuckians ain’t that good at math. How else would you explain the Bud Shuster Highway being Interstate 99?

  3. T. McDonald says:

    Facial clues of pundits say alot. The conservatives, like Buchanan–can’t mask a fallen face. Kerry is actually winning.

  4. art says:

    why the early projections when there are lines to vote 3-5 hours long and polls still open in california. isnt that a chance to sway votes??? as ppeople go to the polls and here there candidate ahead or behind then decide there vote will not matter

  5. dw says:

    Art —

    There was a study about that after the 1980 election. The networks called the race for Bush before Washington and California polls had closed. The study showed that there was virtually no vote switching as a result of the news, although it may have had an effect on lower races.

    This is my third Presidental election on the Left Coast, and everyone I’ve talked to over the years has always just gone with what they’ve thought and not worried about the projections.

  6. dw says:

    Interesting numbers in the overall exit polls:

    — Bush saw a 6% pickup in the Latino vote, but he lost 3% of the Asian vote.
    — James already mentioned the male/female breakdown, but Bush is 58/41 white men (36% of the survey), 52/47 white women (41%), 28/69 non-white men (10%), 22/77 non-white women (13%).
    — With income it’s as you expect: Kerry dominating sub-$50K households, Bush dominating in the triple digits and higher. But here’s an oddity: $75-100K, Bush 50/49. Dunno if that’s an outlier or not.
    — It looks, at this moment, like Zobgy is right about undecideds breaking to the challenger. When did you decide who to vote for? Today/last 3 days 53/40 Kerry.

    And as I speak… the 100th Meridian turns red.

  7. ken says:

    dw is correct.

    I have been voting in California since 1972 and have never, ever, met a single person who did not vote due to the national election being called early.

    Too many other issues are always on the ballot. California is so large that our economy, if considered seperate from the US, would stand alone as the sixth or seventh largest in the world.

    So national politics aside, we have a lot of other important issues to deal with right here on the left coast.

  8. Florida Democratic Congressman Peter Deutsche just called the Kennedy School to say unequivocally that Bush will win the state.

  9. krs says:

    This is a tragic day for America, one that we may look back on someday as the turning point in our nation’s downfall. I blame all of the Republicans who cared more about cheering their president to victory than actually examining the facts, his policies, his record, and his credentials to lead us at this time. In a recent poll, 62% of Republicans said they thought Saddam was connected to 9/11. It’s ignorance like this that creates this sort of election result. Bush threw away American values and American foreign policy to invade a nation that had been sitting quietly for a decade. It hasn’t nabbed either bin Laden or al-Zawahiri, the leaders of al-Qaeda. Its economic policy is a total mess. It has no fiscal responsibility. It has no energy policy at a time when energy policy is key. But what is worst is that Bush does not even understand the basic tenets of how the world works. Why did we elect this president? I think the reason is that he’s a man of faith, and a regular guy we can all relate to. But that’s NOT ENOUGH to make someone a competent president. What is wrong with today’s Republicans? Bush had 92% support??? Please tell me what he’s done to deserve 92% support? His administration represents one failure after another. This isn’t about partisanship. It’s about policy and record and competence. His father was a phenomenal man; he is simply the son of a phenomenal man. I once identified with Republican values, but after seeing 92% of Republicans seemingly almost blindly pour their support into this president, almost solely based on BS rhetoric from the Bush campaign, I am not sure I will ever identify with that party again.

    When historians look back on the Bush presidency as one of the keys to the beginning of America’s decline in stature in the world, ask yourself whether you should have cared more about supporting your party than about seeking the truth about what’s best for America.

  10. dw says:

    Well, I wasn’t right about Bush in ’80. I meant Reagan. Duh.

    Kerry is down 140K in Ohio. I just don’t seem him making that up, not with the counties that are left. It’s over, people. By my breakdown, 279-259 Bush. See y’all in 2006.

  11. 42nd SSD says:

    Unfortunately, the Ohio results are going to be very close… and the recent court rulings are gonna be a beautiful setup for the results to be contested.

    As I was traveling on mass transit today I ran across several people vehemently expressing the “Bush rigged the results (again)” theme. Not Good.

  12. Lee says:

    Tinfoil starting to itch, krs? You, sir, are the one on the wrong side of history.

  13. Attila Girl says:

    krs, the key that makes new paragraphs is called “return” (or “enter”). It’s to the right on your keyboard, about halfway down. I see that you found it once by accident. It’s supposed to be hit with your pinky when you’re touch-typing. If you use this key, your comments will be nearly readable.

  14. LJD says:


    It’s over, you can stop with the talking points.

    The downfall of this country will not be the functional electoral system, rather loud-mouths who degrade the thoughtful opinion of 51% of the population.

    Grow up.