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The Economy, the War in Iraq and the 2004 Presidential Election

Hibbs, Douglas A. (2007): The Economy, the War in Iraq and the 2004 Presidential Election.


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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 arbitrary count, trend, dummy and switching variables. The results imply that the 2004 election turned mainly on weighted-average growth of per capita real disposable personal income over the term. The war in Iraq, which has escalated dramatically in political relevance since the 2004 contest, had a relatively small impact on the election result, most likely depressing Bush’s two-party vote share by less than a half percentage point.

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