October 30, 2004

Did Dubya benefit from Osama bin Laden's re-appearance?

It looks like the Republican crowing over how bin Laden's speech on Friday was a 'gift' to Dubya's campaign were misplaced. At least, that's if swing-state voters inteviewed by the NY Times accurately represent the electorate. Voters in five states told the Times that bin Laden's speech made no difference to their vote; their minds were already made up.

Supporters of Mr. Bush said the bin Laden tape had strengthened their resolve to vote Republican by reminding them of the grave threats still faced by the country, while Mr. Kerry's supporters said the tape was yet another reminder that the Bush administration had failed to catch Mr. bin Laden. Even the undecided said the tape would not influence their decision.

Indeed, with passions raised to such a pitch by this election, and with many people already committed to their choices, Mr. bin Laden and his blustering postures may have achieved a strange and remarkable feat: making himself irrelevant, despite the analysis of some political operatives that his tape could affect the election, to Mr. Bush's benefit in particular.

Many people said that while Mr. bin Laden remained a potent symbol, the issues raised by the election were bigger than one man, and that Mr. bin Laden's words, at this point, would not make any difference in how things turned out on Tuesday.

The snapshot of opinion is hardly scientific and could reflect what some people thought was the proper answer. But it may alleviate concerns that voters could be driven toward the Bush camp by Mr. bin Laden's message - or to the Kerry camp by the fact that he is still free.

The voting decision, people said over and over, has already been made.

The quotes from voters are well worth reading.

Posted by Magpie at October 30, 2004 10:51 PM | Elections | Technorati links |