Pollster Dan Jones explains who won and why

Put it in the history books.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., called President Bush early Wednesday to concede the race for the White House despite Democratic hopes that Kerry had an outside shot at claiming the deciding swing-state of Ohio.

The senator delivered a concession speech in the afternoon, which addressed his conversation with the president and declared the need for the United States to heal and unite.

“We had a good conversation and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need-the desperate need-for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together,” Kerry said.

Bush later announced his victory before a crowd of supporters who chanted, “Four more years.”

Utah pollster and U Professor Dan Jones complimented Kerry’s action in a discussion at the Hinckley Institute of Politics on Wednesday afternoon and spoke about both the national and local results from Tuesday’s races.

“In all the years that I’ve polled, 1968 and the year 2004 have been the most divisive,” Jones said. “By the time it’s all added up, maybe Mr. Bush will be a majority president. It really does make a difference. My guess is we’ll maintain the Electoral College.”

When all votes are tabulated, it appears that Utah will give Bush the greatest margin of victory in the nation in a 71 to 27 percent vote.

“My guess is there will be more appointments from Utah in the second Bush administration,” Jones said.

The voter turnout in Utah was about 70 percent this year, which was an improvement, though not a record, as much of Utah County stayed home.

“I do know the 18 to 24 [demographic] turned out, and I salute you for working so hard on our campus,” he said. “I haven’t seen the U so energized since 1968.”

Jones credited the youth, rather than the leadership, for getting the United States out of Vietnam, but also referred to one common misconception: that the youth vote for Democrats.

“First time they vote, three out of four vote the same as their parents,” he said.

Jones added that he thought there would be a large response to the war in Iraq, but found the war wasn’t as big an issue with adults and the nationwide youth did not turn out as well as it did in Utah.

Instead, it was moral issues that resounded with voters in the closing days of the election.

“Anytime you want to beat the Democrats, go to those issues,” Jones said.

Because of the large Republican majority in Utah, Jones said the only place a Republican candidate can be defeated is within the party.

One of the most controversial issues facing the Utah election this year was the question about the effectiveness of campaign attack ads.

Jones said Jim Matheson ran an excellent campaign and he wishes John Swallow would have conceded.

“I do not believe negative ads work,” he said. “I don’t want to think they do.”

Jones said the opposite end of the spectrum manifested itself in the gubernatorial race where “the University of Utah produced some outstanding individuals.”

The controversial county mayoral race saw a troubled Nancy Workman withdraw and her replacement, Ellis Ivory, slide on and off the ballot several times.

Jones said Peter Corroon’s narrow margin of victory can likely be traced back to Merrill Cook and added his respect for Workman.

“I do believe Merrill took more away from Ivory than Corroon,” he said. “My heart goes out to Nancy Workman. I pull for her.”

At 72 percent, the ballot item that received the greatest majority Tuesday was not Bush for president, but the renewal of the Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax. The measure raises sales tax by 1/10th of 1 percent and partially or wholly funds the Hogle Zoo, county parks and fitness centers, Utah Symphony and Opera, Ballet West and dozens of smaller arts and cultural organizations. The tax brings in about $15 million per year.

However, Utah rejected Initiative 1-the clean water, quality growth and open space measure-in a 55 to 45 percent vote.

In sum, Jones said Utah’s election was more apparent than ever in the days leading up to Nov. 2.

“I’ve never seen so many signs on the last day. I mean, they were everywhere and some didn’t obey the law, but it was the enthusiasm of people going out and trying to get the last statement in.”

Jones briefly speculated on the outlook for the 2008 presidential election.

He said Hillary Clinton would certainly be brought up by the Democrats and there may be a push for Arnold Schwarzenegger if laws are changed and non-American-born citizens are allowed to run for president. Jones said the California governor drew a larger crowd than Bush during this year’s campaign.

Other possible candidates mentioned were Republicans Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, though Jones said he doesn’t know if someone who is LDS could win.

“You can’t win the national vote with a liberal Democrat,” Jones said. “Clinton and Gore moved to the middle to win, so has Bush. America has moved to the right.”

He continues, “People know what they’re against more than what they’re for. More people vote against than for.”

[email protected]