The Economy, the War in Iraq and the 2004 Presidential Election
In this paper I apply the Bread and Peace model of voting in US presidential elections to analyze the sources of George W. Bush’s narrow re-election victory in 2004. The aggregate election outcome is readily explained by the model’s objectively measured political-economic fundamentals – no appeal need be made to arbitrarily coded count, trend or dummy variables. The results imply that the 2004 election turned mainly on weighted-average growth over the term of per capita real disposable personal income. The war in Iraq, which has escalated dramatically in political relevance since the 2004 contest, had a relatively small impact on the election result, probably depressing Bush’s two-party vote share by less than a half percentage point.