What was unusual about the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In a short answer, so much was unusual about the 2000 Presidential Election.  One specific example of what was unusual was the level of closeness between both candidates in polling and actual vote count.  If there ever was an election where each candidate was polling at or near 50%, the 2000 Presidential Election was it.  Neither candidate was really pulling ahead in the days leading up to the election.  Interestingly, or unusually, the nation really displayed a partisan "Red" vs. "Blue" designation.  On Election Night, the map of the United States looked like a collection of regions that solidly went Democratic or Republican, reflecting a bitterly partisan electorate and little in way of party diversity in specific regions.  Election Night, itself, was very unusual in how the media coverage of the election results was shown.  The networks initially projected the state of Florida as having gone in the column of Vice President Gore.  After some time, the Fox News Network refuted this, as they projected the state of Florida for Governor Bush.  The use of exit polls, a usual tradition, had come under severe fire, as the other networks that had originally called Florida for Gore recanted and placed Florida in the "too close to call" projection.  As the rest of the states reported their results, Florida remained as "too close to call."  In this, an unusual result presented itself.  In the wee hours of the morning on the following Wednesday, both candidates were short of the required 270, with the electoral votes from Florida as being contested.  This was unusual because the nation had voted and still did not have a President- Elect.  Of course, the Florida Recount circus represented something unusual for out of this element came the distillation of ballots in places such as Broward County or Miami- Dade and the stratification of ballots such as "hanging chads" or "dimpled chads."  Another unusual element of the 2000 Election was how the Supreme Court ended up deciding the election by stopping the recount.  In this, the Supreme Court of the United States resulted as electing the President.  Finally, when all of the ballots were counted, Vice President Gore actually had more of the popular vote than Governor Bush.  The electoral college had decided a President, an unusual first in the history of American Presidential elections.

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