Weird but true, Bill Clinton less popular than Kerry

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Main Question or Discussion Point

I was looking around at the site http://www.uselectionatlas.org/, and it's weird but true that in many states which John Kerry lost, he got a higher % of the vote than Bill Clinton did when he ran the first time around.

For isntance, these are all states Kerry lost

Ohio:
'92: Clinton 40% (W)
'04: Kerry 49%

Florida
'92: Clinton 39% (L)
'04: Kerry 47%

Colorado
'92: Clinton 40% (W)
'04: Kerry 47%

North Carolina
'92: Clinton 42.5% (L)
'04: Kerry 43.5%

Texas
'88: Dukakis 43% (WTF?!)
'92: Clinton 37% (L)
'04: Kerry 38%

So what the hell? Did Clinton's Clintonesque qualities actually have nothing at all to do with the fact that he won? States like Louisiana and Kentucky went for Clinton in higher percentages than Kerry obviously, but people in places like Colorado and Ohio seemingly liked Kerry ALOT more than Clinton, or at least hated Bush II alot more than Bush I...

Could it be, that in American politics, being Clintonian doesn't much matter unless you happen to have 2 viable opponents, and that people in places like Ohio infact aren't turned off as badly by North-eastern Liberals, and don't like traditional Southern values Democrats quite as much?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
russ_watters
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wasteofo2 said:
So what the hell?
That's an easy one: 1992 was the year Ross Perot got 19% of the vote: so not only did Kerry get a higher percentage than Clinton in those few states, he got a significantly higher percentage overall: 6 percentage points (49% to 43%). Ross Perot is the reason some Republicans claim (quite reasonably, but its a moot hypothetical) that no Democratic President has had a clear mandate in 25 years: had it not been for Perot, Clinton probably never would have been President. Bush SR would have won by a landslide in 1992 and with the internet boom in full swing by '96, he wouldn't have had a chance then either (against Dole or McCain, probably).
 
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  • #3
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Ok, I accept that Dole definately helped Clinton win, but still, how is it that Clinton was a LESS attractive Candidate than John Kerry? I mean, you may not like Clinton cause he lied abuot getting a BJ, but if you had to choose between Clinton and Kerry, the choice would be Clinton, right?
 
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  • #4
SOS2008
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I'm not so sure some of it is reliable, like say, Florida... :wink:
 
  • #5
kyleb
wasteofo2 said:
...people in places like Colorado and Ohio seemingly liked Kerry ALOT more than Clinton, or at least hated Bush II alot more than Bush I...
I think it is more the latter.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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wasteofo2 said:
Ok, I accept that Dole definately helped Clinton win, but still, how is it that Clinton was a LESS attractive Candidate than John Kerry? I mean, you may not like Clinton cause he lied abuot getting a BJ, but if you had to choose between Clinton and Kerry, the choice would be Clinton, right?
1992 was before Lewinsky. But people didn't like Clinton for the same reason: he was a slimy womanizer.

And it was Perot who helped Clinton win.
 
  • #7
selfAdjoint
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russ_watters said:
1992 was before Lewinsky. But people didn't like Clinton for the same reason: he was a slimy womanizer.

And it was Perot who helped Clinton win.
But actually Clinton's popularity went up during and after the Monica scandal. This confirms my theory that the people have cognitive dissonance about the presidency and go into denial of unpleasant facts, projecting their negative affect onto the opponents.
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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selfAdjoint said:
But actually Clinton's popularity went up during and after the Monica scandal. This confirms my theory that the people have cognitive dissonance about the presidency and go into denial of unpleasant facts, projecting their negative affect onto the opponents.
Perhaps. I'm sure the internet boom had something to do with it too, though.

Interestingly, my father voted for him both times and my mother neither time. My mother practically screamed 'but he's a slimeball!' My father knew it, but didn't really care.

In any case, doesn't that make Clinton both the most and least popular President we've ever had in peacetime?
 
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  • #9
BobG
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wasteofo2 said:
Ok, I accept that Dole definately helped Clinton win, but still, how is it that Clinton was a LESS attractive Candidate than John Kerry? I mean, you may not like Clinton cause he lied abuot getting a BJ, but if you had to choose between Clinton and Kerry, the choice would be Clinton, right?
Why would the choice be Clinton? Because he can play the sax and had the persona of a talk show host?

Clinton, Gore, and Bush Jr are just about the weakest three candidates I've ever seen win a nomination.
 

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