Saturday, November 23, 2002

American politics is nearly a tie ball game, says Juan Andrade in the Chicago Sun-Times, and the numbers prove it:

Conservatives and conservative-leaning moderates now own 49 percent of the political landscape. Liberals and liberal-leaning moderates own 49 percent. Whoever wins most of the other two yards rules.... In the latest issue of The Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone, arguably the foremost authority on modern political history, notes that Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996 with 49.2 percent of the vote. That same year, Republicans retained control of the House by a vote margin of 48.9 to 48.5 percent over the Democrats. And while House Republicans held their vote margin in 1998 at 48.9 percent to the Democrats' 47.8 percent, they actually lost seats and forced Gingrich to resign as speaker. In 2000, Al Gore's vote margin over George W. Bush was 48.4 percent to 47.9, while the vote margin favored House Republicans over Democrats 49.2 to 47.9 percent. As Barone concluded, Americans have not witnessed ''such stasis in successive elections since the 1880s.''

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