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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 November, 2004, 16:15 GMT
America's winners and losers
George W Bush may have been the victor of the 2004 presidential election, and his Democratic challenger John Kerry clearly the vanquished. But what about other winners and losers? Whose prospects are looking good after the poll - and who may be feeling rather glum?

Click on the links below to find out more.

Looking up

Hillary Clinton

Karl Rove
Laura Bush
Barack Obama

Electoral College

Looking down

John Edwards

Ralph Nader

Tom Daschle
Celebrity power

Exit polls

Looking up


Hillary Clinton's chances of moving back into the White House and going down in history as the first female president of the US look better after John Kerry's defeat. Mr Kerry would have almost certainly sought re-election in 2008, meaning that the first opening for the New York senator would have been 2012. The then 65-year-old might have been considered too old at that point.

British bookies have named her as favourite to win the next US election, with Ladbrokes offering odds of 5-1. Senator Clinton is seen as a clever political strategist who has worked hard at her job in Washington. She does, however, remain an extremely divisive figure, and the election has shown once again that East Coast liberals are out of favour.


Republican campaign mastermind Karl Rove helped return George W Bush to the White House. The 54-year-old has charted Mr Bush's political rise since his first election as Texas governor in 1994. Mr Bush has acknowledged him as "the architect" of his latest success. Described by many commentators as brilliant, Mr Rove resolutely focused on the Republicans' conservative religious base.

He went into the campaign intent on coaxing the millions of Christian conservatives who had not voted in 2000 to go to the polls. He consistently played on deepening cultural division by emphasising Mr Bush's religious faith, his position against gay marriage and expanding embryonic stem cell research.

Mr Rove refused to listen to critics who argued that a more centrist position would be need to win the election, and it appears to have paid off. Many voters cited moral values as a top reason why they voted.


The president's popular wife took on a more assertive role during her husband's bid to keep the presidency, proving herself a confident campaigner and formidable fundraiser. She travelled to more than 30 states, many of them battlegrounds, raising millions for the campaign and headlining rallies, lunches, dinners and receptions.

Softly, but assuredly, Mrs Bush started to stray away from her pet subjects of education and reading, defending her husband on controversial issues such as his war in Iraq and stance on stem cell research. And she also courted the female vote - apparently with some success. Come election day, some 48% of women voted for the president, 5% more than last time.

Mr Bush had regularly told crowds of supporters at rallies around that country that "one of the most important reasons why you ought to put me back into office is so Laura is the first lady for four more years." Indeed, while the president's personal approval rating hovered around the 50% mark, Mrs Bush's soared to 70%, her devotion to her husband and twin daughters generating great affection within the nation at large.


Democrat Barack Obama won a landslide victory in a Senate race in Illinois. He will be the only black member of Congress's upper house when he is sworn in in January and only the fifth black member to serve there.

The son of a white woman from Kansas and a former goat herder from Kenya, he wowed Democrats when he addressed the party's convention in Boston in July with a passionate speech. He is talked of as future presidential material.

An initiative in Colorado to ditch the Electoral College system was rejected by voters. The constitutional amendment would have enabled the state to divide its nine electoral votes proportionately based on the popular vote. The bid had been closely watched elsewhere in the country.

There has been growing debate over the structure of the system, which can lead to a candidate winning the number of popular votes across the country as a whole, but losing the presidency. The failure of the Colorado initiative is likely to move the debate to the backburner for the time being.

Looking down


John Kerry's running mate John Edwards had to give up his North Carolina Senate seat to enter the race. Not only has he no political job to return to, the vacancy has in the meantime been filled by a Republican candidate. Losing his Senate seat may mean he falls out of the political limelight, and that could make a 2008 presidential nomination bid difficult.

On the other hand, he has won some fans during his failed vice-presidential run and some even believe the best may yet be to come. Political science Professor Michael Munger from Duke University told the Washington Post he thought Mr Edwards was a "thoroughbred" who had been kept in the "barn" during the campaign.

In July, delegates to the Democratic National Convention were asked whom they would choose in 2008 if Mr Kerry lost. Hillary Clinton took 26% of the vote, while Mr Edwards was runner-up with 17%.

Disappointment at his political defeat on 2 November was compounded by the news that his wife Elizabeth had been diagnosed with breast cancer.


The 70-year-old Ralph Nader, who some Democrats believe cost Al Gore the White House four years ago, performed poorly in this year's poll. All in all he won less just 400,000 votes nationwide.

He blamed the results on Democrats removing him from the ballot in some states and the fact that when a Republican is the incumbent, opponents tend to move to the Democratic fold. He has vowed to continue his campaign to excise corporations from the US political process, but at present he seems firmly in the political wilderness.


Mr Daschle is the first Senate party leader to be voted out of office since 1952. He was successfully branded an obstructionist who was out of touch with his home state of South Dakota by his opponent, who beat him by 4,500 votes with an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage message.

Mr Daschle's failure to keep hold of his seat means that the Republicans have padded their majority in the Senate, where they now hold 55 seats against the Democrats' 44. The former Senate party leader has not detailed his future plans.


Although every election has some celebrity involvement, the stars really threw their weight behind John Kerry in this year's poll. Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, REM and The Dixie Chicks took part in an 11-day Vote For Change tour in battleground states aimed at urging people to vote for Mr Kerry.

Figures such as Neil Diamond, Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, meanwhile, were involved in fundraising events for the Democratic candidate; Barbra Streisand even rewrote the lyrics of her famous People song for the occasion to include the lines: "We must get rid of Rumsfeld/He's the spookiest person in the world". To no avail.

The Republicans also called on celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and country duo Brooks and Dunn. But while they drew huge crowds, they may not have changed any minds.


The origin of at least some of the reports giving Mr Kerry a hefty early lead in key battleground states was data collected by pollsters Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool, a consortium of TV networks and other news outlets.

They had hired the companies to carry out exit polling after the networks' problematic calls on election night in 2000. The first wave of data showed Mr Kerry with a lead of three percentage points in Florida and four points in Ohio, leading to euphoria within the Democratic camp. Both were battleground states ultimately won by President Bush.

A server crash at the pollsters' headquarters was blamed in part for the fact that information was not updated for a period of time, but those in charge of the data also blamed web pundits for misinterpreting the preliminary data or taking it out of context.


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