Just in case anybody is interested in a post-mortem of Kerry’s defeat, I think the following extract from Challenges facing a second Bush term published at BBC.co.uk explains it the best:
[…] People do not necessarily desert their governments when things are not going that well. What they require is a vision that things might get better.
Mr Bush did enough to convince people that he can still stabilise Iraq and can keep al-Qaeda on the run.
He has, to use his own words, “smoked out” many of the al-Qaeda leadership and the fact is that there has been no further 9/11 type attack on US soil.
The president also managed to destabilise the image of his opponent, portraying him as a man who could not be trusted to be tough enough. It was a classic tactic of attack.
John Kerry might not have been toppled – after all he fought a good campaign – but he tottered.
And Mr Bush delivered enough on the domestic front not to have the economy undermine him as it undermined and destroyed his father against Bill Clinton in 1992.
He also won the popular vote, unlike in 2000, so he has laid some of the ghosts from then. His legitimacy will not be in doubt. He did not win thanks to the Supreme Court. […]