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“Bin Laden factor” on the U.S. Presidential Elections

Posted October. 31, 2004 23:10,   


As a videotape of Osama Bin Laden, leader of the international terror organization Al Qaeda, threatening to unleash more terror attacks against the United States was released, it has become the biggest variable factor to influence the results of the current head-to-head U.S. presidential election.

In a videotape broadcast on the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera on October 29, Bin Laden warned that “Bush is still hiding the truth from the American people and that the previous ‘Manhattan incident’ (9-11 terror attack) can occur again.”

Also, he added, “The security of the U.S. is in the hands of the people, not in the hands of Bush or Kerry. The U.S. will be safe as long as they don’t hamper our security.”

As Bin Laden’s threat was released in the last few days before the election, President George W. Bush, the Republican nominee, and Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee pleaded for votes, both saying that they are the right person to handle the security of U.S. on Saturday and Sunday, the last week of the campaign trail.

Immediately after Bin Laden’s videotape was released, President Bush led Democratic rival Kerry by 50-44 in percentage points in a public survey conducted by Newsweek. However, it is unclear how the Bin Laden factor will work to favor which candidate since public support for President Bush was lower in a public survey conducted by Washington Post and Zogby.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported, “the prediction that it will be the largest turnout of voters since the 1968 presidential elections will be another considerable variable, considering that the number of floating voters who will hold the power over the final outcome of the election is predicted to be still around five to 10 percent, and the fact that the electoral registration rate is 71 percent due to an increase in participation from young voters.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com