NOVEMBER 2, 2004 - Exit polls for Election 2004 conducted early Tuesday morning at 100 voting precincts across the states of Florida, Ohio, California, and Michigan report Osama bin Laden with a 2-point lead over presidential hopeful Senator John Kerry, and at least an 11-point lead over George Bush.
"Bush has been trailing bin Laden for years," said Ariana Huffington, political analyst and nationally syndicated columnist. "So, it's no surprise to me that Bush remains behind bin Laden in today's exit polls."
Huffington, longtime member of a consortium of top political analysts, will be featured throughout the day on CNN with her colleagues. Together, they will offer their insights on voters' states of mind, and they will provide up-to-the-minute voting news as the election day unfolds.
A surprise upset
Election 2004 voters exiting the polls offered various reasons for their eleventh hour write-ins of bin Laden on their ballots:
Greg Jusiton-Burnes, OHIO - "bin Laden is obviously clever to have avoided capture for so long, there's no denying that. He's a solid combat strategist, so maybe he can get us out of this mess in Iraq once and for all."
Lucinda Givenstock, FLORIDA - "I like bin Laden's self confidence. He's canny, and he reminds me of my deceased husband, Alif Akaka, a suicide bomber with a heart of gold."
Peter Rogenstone, CALIFORNIA - "Even though bin Laden waited until a few days before the election to air his political ad, I could tell that he put a lot of thought into what he said."
Trudy Withersin, MICHIGAN - "I just don't like the other candidates. Plus, bin Laden is the only one who has stuck to his vision 100 percent - he's no flip-flopper."
Rove in despair
In Washington, Karl Rove told reporters that Bush is "really bummed out" over the bin Laden election upset.
"He never thought the bin Laden video would be interpreted by American voters as an actual election bid," Rove said. "Personally, I think U.S. voters are taking bin Laden's warning of 'Your security is in your own hands' just a wee bit too seriously."
Rove also admitted that bin Laden's "get out the vote" strategy seems to be working quickly and efficiently.
"bin Laden supporters have turned out en masse to fly voters to the polls," said Rove, but added that "you can bet your sweet bippy that our troops will definitely capture bin Laden when he shows up in January for his inauguration."