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And the Winner Is...

It's the Economy Stupid. Or Is It?

The Kerry folks have made a big deal out of the fact that Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to have a net job loss during the first term of his presidency. But the unemployment rate remains relatively low, around 5.4 percent. And that's good news for Bush, according to one Chicago job placement firm. Analysis by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. found that incumbents have won 10 out of the last 14 elections when the unemployment rate has been 5.6 percent or lower in the three months leading up to an election.

_____More Talking Points_____
What Poll and Registration Numbers Don't Reveal (washingtonpost.com, Oct 13, 2004)
When Intangibles Count More Than the Score (washingtonpost.com, Sep 30, 2004)
Six Weeks From Election Day, Little Is Clear (washingtonpost.com, Sep 24, 2004)
More Columns

You can reach Terry Neal by e-mail at CommentsForNeal@

Friday's Question:
It was not until the early 20th century that the Senate enacted rules allowing members to end filibusters and unlimited debate. How many votes were required to invoke cloture when the Senate first adopted the rule in 1917?

2004 Campaign

President Bush Photos: Bush Wins
President Bush claims victory after John F. Kerry concedes the 2004 presidential election.
Bush's Speech: Video | Transcript
Kerry's Speech: Video | Transcript
Video: 2004 Election Rewind

___ Election Results ___

Exit Polls by State:


Results by Zip Code:

Results by State:


50 State Election Roundup
Comparison of 2004 and 2000
Amendments Defining Marriage

___ Electee Profiles ___

The New House
Freshman Senators
New Governors

 U.S. President
Updated 2:09 AM ET Precincts:0%
 CandidateVotes % 
  Bush * (R)  60,693,28151% 
  Kerry (D)  57,355,97848% 
  Other  1,107,3931% 
Full ResultsSourceAP

Also, there's the vaunted Ray Fair formula. Fair, a Yale economist, uses a complicated calculation of economic indicators, including inflation and national growth rate, to determine whether a president will be reelected. He has correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote in the last five of the elections. This year, his formula points to a Bush victory.

Advantage: Bush

The Height Bias

That's right, the taller candidate usually wins the popular vote.

Advantage: Kerry.

The Wartime Advantage

People are generally loath to give wartime presidents the boot. As USA Today pointed out recently, "All five presidents who have run for re-election during major wars have won -- from James Madison during the War of 1812 to Richard Nixon during Vietnam. (Two wartime presidents, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, chose not to run for another term in part because of public opposition to the wars.)"

Advantage: Bush.

Keep Eyes on the 'Skins

Since 1936, when the Redskins win their last home game before a presidential election, the incumbent wins as well. When the Redskins lose, the incumbent loses. The line on Sunday's home game against Green Bay, according to ESPN.com? Even.

Advantage: None.

Kids Rule

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