Bush Claims Mandate, American's Optimistic

Shortly after Bush's victory speech, where he promised to unite the country, word began to spread that he will only further divide the nation by pushing his right-wing, radical agenda. Dick Cheney expressed his views, as noted in this story [cnn.com]:

Despite Bush's appeal to Kerry supporters, Cheney said the popular vote victory gave Bush a mandate and the Bush White House would continue pushing for the Republicans' "clear agenda."

Aha, so a relatively slim margin in the election


Bush's statement, "To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."


Mandate to keep pushing for fewer rights for all, drastic tax reform, further tax cuts for the rich in our country and an agenda that will further divide "secular" and relgious factions in America.

Despite all this, most of America seems quite optimistic [cnn.com] about the situation:

Americans by and large appear to be happy with the results of Tuesday's elections and are hopeful the country will be drawn together during President Bush's second term, according to a survey conducted Wednesday night.

They also expect Bush to put aside partisan agendas and lead in a bipartisan way, according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Just over half -- 51 percent -- of 621 American adults surveyed said they were pleased with the outcome of the presidential election; 38 percent said they were upset.

Bush won re-election over Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry without the need for recounts or court battles that followed the presidential election of 2000. He also picked up 51 percent of the popular vote on his way to victory.

Even after the highly polarizing campaign, the poll also indicated some optimism for the next four years.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they expect Bush to unite the nation during his second term. But 39 percent said they believe the president will be divisive.

During the 2000 campaign, Bush promised to be a "uniter, not a divider." But in this week's election the nation seemed nearly as divided as it had been in Bush's first election.

Few states switched from the party that prevailed four years ago. New Hampshire, which Bush narrowly won in 2000, went for Kerry. Bush has so far carried no state won by Democrat Al Gore, although he leads in two, Iowa and New Mexico.

But this time around the nation does not appear to be divided over who won. Today, 74 percent of those surveyed said Bush won "fair and square." In 2000, the figure was only 48 percent.

Four years ago, Bush beat Gore by just 537 votes in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to stop ballot recounts in several counties. That gave Bush an Electoral College vote of 271 -- one more than necessary to win.

It seems the country may have been hoping to avoid a legal stand-off this year, because 80 percent of respondents agreed with Kerry's decision to concede the election Wednesday afternoon.

The outcome remained in doubt overnight even though Bush was ahead in the popular vote by more than 3.7 million votes. He was short of winning the 270 votes needed in the Electoral College because the race in the battleground state of Ohio remained so close.

Kerry had considered forgoing a concession speech until after all provisional ballots were counted, 11 days after the election.

Sixty percent of respondents said Kerry was merely being a realist in making his decision to concede while 35 percent thought of him as a statesman.

The group surveyed also had a distinct opinion on how Bush should lead now that he's won another four-year term.

Sixty-three percent said Bush should emphasize a bipartisan program. Just under a third, 30 percent, said Bush needs to advance the Republican agenda.

One-third of respondents said they were optimistic about Bush's second term, and 23 percent were enthusiastic. Another 24 percent said they were afraid and 18 percent expressed pessimism.

The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Of course, that's only 57% of Americans who think he will actually "unite" the nation. Considering how hard he fought to divide us in his first term, I don't see how that's even feasible. But, then, these same people probably elected him, so I don't expect them to take the intellectual route.
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