Friday, January 30, 2004

Following up my earlier post about the New Hampshire Republican primary results, John Nichols in The Nation suggests that they offer evidence of rising Republican dissatisfaction with President Bush. According to Nichols:

"Many New Hampshire primary participants decided to skip the formalities and simply vote against the president in Tuesday's Republican primary. Thousands of these Bush-bashing Republicans went so far as to write in the names of Democratic presidential contenders."

As I mentioned previously, Bush took 87 percent in the Republican primary, topping even Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Richard Nixon in 1972. Nichols points out however that Democratic write-ins did particularly well:

"Few of the anti-Bush votes went to the 13 unknown Republicans whose names appeared on GOP ballots along with the president's. Instead, top Democratic contenders reaped write-in votes. . . . In all, 8,279 primary voters wrote in the names of Democratic challengers to Bush on their Republican ballots."

True enough, but a historical comparison puts this into perspective. In 1984, Democratic write-ins were 11 percent of Ronald Reagan's total vote. In 2004, Democratic write-ins were 13 percent of George W. Bush's total vote. Since Reagan went on to win 69 percent of the vote in the general election, I hardly think this constitutes evidence of a Republican backlash against Bush.

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