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2004 United States presidential election in Nevada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2004 United States presidential election in Nevada

← 2000 November 2, 2004 2008 →
John F. Kerry.jpg
Nominee George W. Bush John Kerry
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Texas Massachusetts
Running mate Dick Cheney John Edwards
Electoral vote 5 0
Popular vote 418,690 397,190
Percentage 50.47% 47.88%

Nevada Presidential Election Results 2004.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush

Elected President

George W. Bush

The 2004 United States presidential election in Nevada took place on November 2, 2004, and was part of the 2004 United States presidential election. Voters chose five representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

Nevada was won by incumbent President George W. Bush with a 2.6% margin of victory. Prior to the election, news organizations who made predictions were split on whether Nevada was a swing state or leaned towards Bush. Kerry won just one county of the state—Clark County, Nevada's most populous county, and home to Las Vegas. Kerry's second-best performance in the state was in Washoe County, Nevada's next-most populated county, which he lost with 47% of the vote. The statewide results were very similar to the nationwide vote, making it the bellwether of the 2004 election. Moreover, Nevada at the time had voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1912, except for 1976, and later in 2016. Independent and third-party candidates collectively won 1.7% of the vote; among this group, Ralph Nader received the greatest share, garnering 0.58%. As of the 2020 presidential election, this is the last time that Nevada was carried by the Republican nominee, and also the last time Washoe County voted Republican.




There were 12 news organizations who made state-by-state predictions of the election. Here are their last predictions before election day.[1]

  1. D.C. Political Report: Slight Republican
  2. Associated Press: Toss-up
  3. CNN: Bush
  4. Cook Political Report: Toss-up
  5. Newsweek: Leans Bush
  6. New York Times: Leans Bush
  7. Rasmussen Reports: Toss-up
  8. Research 2000: Lean Bush
  9. Washington Post: Battleground
  10. Washington Times: Solid Bush
  11. Zogby International: Kerry
  12. Washington Dispatch: Bush


Bush trailed in only one pre-election poll throughout the general election. By the fall, Bush pulled away and reached 50%. However, in the last week, some voters changed their preferences against Bush, resulting in his polling margin falling slightly. An average of the final three polls before Election Day showed Bush leading 49% to 47%.[2]


Bush raised $2,296,762.[3] Kerry raised $793,504.[4]

Advertising and visits

Bush visited the state 3 times, while Kerry visited Nevada 6 times. Both of them visited the same places: Las Vegas and Reno. Almost every week, the candidates combined spent over $1 million in advertising.[5]


In 2000, Bush had won Nevada by only 3.54%, despite that it had been Bill Clinton's second-closest win in 1996. He also fell slightly short of an outright majority. Hence, he was thought by many observers to be vulnerable in the state, which had voted Republican for six elections in a row before Bill Clinton.

In the end, Bush improved his vote share to just over a majority, although his margin narrowed to 2.59%, due to Kerry improving over Gore by a greater amount than Bush improved over his own prior performance. In particular, Bush's vote share actually fell slightly in Washoe County, the state's second-largest county and its largest red county in both 2000 and 2004. Washoe County had given the Republican nominee his biggest raw-vote margin in the state in every election from 1944 through 2000 save 1964 (when this distinction went to smaller Douglas County) and the three elections of the 1980s (when it went to larger Clark County). In 2004, the 'Cow County' of Elko County displaced Washoe County as the county giving Bush his biggest raw-vote margin in Nevada.

However, Bush performed strongly in Nevada's Cow Counties (its 14 counties apart from Clark, Washoe, and Carson City[6]), winning over 60% of the vote in Douglas and Lyon Counties, over 70% in Churchill County, and over 75% in Elko County (where he received the highest vote share of any nominee since William Jennings Bryan in 1896). He also did well in Nye County, another of the larger Cow Counties, getting 58.5%, an improvement of 1.8% over four years prior. And he managed to keep Clark County from being a blowout, holding Kerry to a 4.9% margin there. Together with his limiting his backslide in Washoe, this was enough to give Bush another win in the Silver State. As of 2020, this is the last time that either Washoe County or Nevada has voted Republican, although it was close in both 2016 and 2020.

Despite winning all but one of state's counties, Bush performed less consistently in Nevada's congressional districts, where he won two of the three—one of them by just a single percentage point.

Despite Bush winning the state, incumbent Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid won reelection.


2004 United States presidential election in Nevada
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican George W. Bush (incumbent) 418,690 50.47% 5
Democratic John Kerry 397,190 47.88% 0
Independent Ralph Nader 4,838 0.58% 0
N/A None of these Candidates 3,688 0.44% 0
Libertarian Michael Badnarik 3,176 0.38% 0
American Independent Michael Peroutka 1,152 0.14% 0
Green David Cobb 853 0.10% 0
Totals 829,587 100.00% 5
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 50.0%

Results breakdown

By county

County Kerry % Kerry # Bush % Bush # Others % Others #
Elko 19.9% 3,050 78.0% 11,938 2.1% 321
Lander 20.2% 414 78.0% 1,602 1.8% 37
Eureka 19.5% 144 77.4% 571 3.1% 23
Lincoln 20.4% 418 77.1% 1,579 2.4% 50
Esmeralda 20.6% 99 76.3% 367 3.1% 15
Humboldt 25.4% 1,361 72.6% 3,896 2.0% 110
Churchill 26.4% 2,705 71.5% 7,335 1.9% 197
Pershing 28.1% 538 70.0% 1,341 2.0 38
White Pine 28.5% 1,082 68.5% 2,604 3.1% 116
Lyon 32.9% 5,637 64.9% 11,136 2.2% 378
Douglas 34.6% 8,275 63.6% 15,192 1.8% 431
Nye 38.7% 5,616 58.5% 8,487 2.8% 407
Storey 40.2% 871 57.8% 1,253 2.0% 44
Mineral 40.0% 931 57.4% 1,336 2.6% 60
Carson City 40.9% 9,441 57.0% 13,171 2.1% 494
Washoe 47.0% 74,841 51.3% 81,545 1.7% 2,693
Clark 51.7% 281,767 46.5% 255,337 1.5% 8,293

By congressional district

Bush won 2 of 3 congressional districts.[7]

District Bush Kerry Representative
1st 42% 57% Shelley Berkley
2nd 57% 41% Jim Gibbons
3rd 50% 49% Jon Porter


Technically speaking, the voters of Nevada cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Nevada is allocated 5 electors because it has 3 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 5 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded all 5 electoral votes. Their chosen electors then vote for president and vice president. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them. An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.

The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 13, 2004, to cast their votes for president and vice president. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead, the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.

The following were the members of the Electoral College from Nevada. All 5 were voted for Bush/Cheney, to whom they were unanimously pledged:[8]

  1. Joe Brown
  2. Milton Schwartz
  3. John Marvel
  4. Beverly Willard
  5. Paul Willis


  1. ^[permanent dead link]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Presidential candidates thinking big think Elko". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  7. ^
  8. ^
This page was last edited on 12 January 2021, at 20:14
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