Vote Analysis: Bush Wins, Again

ByABC News
April 3, 2001, 12:53 PM

April 4 -- George W. Bush still would have gotten more votes than Al Gore even if the U.S. Supreme Court hadn't halted the manual recount in Florida, according to a comprehensive analysis of uncounted ballots.

In fact, Bush's 537-vote margin of victory would have increased to 1,665 under the ballot-counting standards Gore's supporters had advocated, according to a review conducted by The Miami Herald, its parent company Knight Ridder, and USA Today.

The analysis, which looked at 64,248 uncounted ballots in all 67 of Florida's counties, has Republican Bush winning under most scenarios.

"This is very good news for Bush," ABCNEWS political analyst George Stephanopoulos said on Good Morning America. "In almost all the scenarios, Bush wins."

Stephanopoulos said that the study undercuts Democratic arguments that Republicans stole the election.

A Little Bit of Irony

"What we do know is that the process that was going forward in December that was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court would have resulted in a Bush victory, said Miami Herald Managing Editor Mark Seibel. "Bush, under most scenarios, would have won a recount of the Florida ballots as the Florida Supreme Court ordered."

But the analysis also found that Gore would have won by three votes if the recount had continued under the standards advocated by Bush supporters.

Seibel noted the irony in that fact.

"The irony, of course, is that the Bush people were always saying you can't count those things," said Seibel. "And the Gore people insisted that they would. But in these counties, it particularly benefited Bush."

Hard to Say What Would Have Happened

While the analysis shows that Bush would have won Florida in all but a few cases, it is hard to say whether that would have happened in reality if the hand counting had continued.

The analysis looked at multiple scenarios for a recount, but in each case applied the same standards to all the ballots. In reality, each county would have been allowed to determine its own standards. Some counties actually sought clarification from the courts on just what standards should be applied to the ballots, but did not get it.