Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Year 20 Begins: The Answers

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a quiz in honor of the site's 19th birthday. We got more responses to that than to any survey we've ever run, which tells us that there is definitely an appetite among readers for game-type stuff, at least on occasion. We'll keep that in mind going forward.

We intended to run this post 5-10 days ago, but other events—like, say, a former president being indicted on 37 counts of violating federal law—intervened. Another issue is that the post ended up being on the long side. But we have time and space this week, and we're going to solve the second issue by splitting it into two parts. Today, we will give the answers to the 10 questions, as well as the percentages of readers who chose each. Tomorrow we will give the answer to the tiebreaker question and we will announce the winners.

And without further ado:

  1. When this site went live on May 24, 2004, who was the Speaker of the House?

    1. Newt Gingrich (13.6% of respondents)
    2. Dennis Hastert (62.9%)
    3. Nancy Pelosi (4%)
    4. John Boehner (19.4%)

    The Answer: Dennis Hastert. Of the two "leaders of Congress" questions, this was the easier one, since Hastert served for so long. Gingrich's tenure ended in 1999, while Pelosi's first tenure began in 2007, and Boehner's in 2011.

  2. When this site went live on May 24, 2004, who was the Senate Majority Leader?

    1. Harry Reid (37.2% of respondents)
    2. Tom Daschle (27.7%)
    3. Bill Frist (26.5%)
    4. Mitch McConnell (8.5%)

    The Answer: Bill Frist. This one was obviously trickier; Frist served 2003-07. Daschle's term ended in 2003, Reid's began in 2007, and McConnell did not get the gavel until 2015.

  3. Which of these people was the leader of their nation when this site went live on May 24, 2004?

    1. Angela Merkel (19.8% of respondents)
    2. Gordon Brown (12.4%)
    3. Vladimir Putin (49.2%)
    4. Benjamin Netanyahu (18.5%)

    The Answer: Vladimir Putin. Merkel did not become chancellor of Germany until 2005 and Brown did not become PM until 2007. Netanyahu, in 2004, was in an interregnum between a term that ended in 1999 and one that started in 2009.

  4. Which of these notable political figures died just weeks after this site went live?

    1. Ronald Reagan (43% of respondents)
    2. Gerald Ford (17.4%)
    3. Margaret Thatcher (20.7%)
    4. Ted Kennedy (18.9%)

    The Answer: Ronald Reagan. He died on June 5, 2004. Ford passed in 2006, Thatcher in 2013 and Kennedy in 2009.

  5. Which of these statements accurately describes the state of the U.S. economy when this site went live on May 24, 2004?

    1. Bread cost about $2/loaf, an undeveloped acre of land on Long Island cost about $200,000, and the Dow Jones was at 20,000. (8.5% of respondents)
    2. A dozen eggs cost about $2, $10,000 invested in Google at its IPO would have grown to $200,000, and the average worker earned $20,000 annually. (10.3%)
    3. Gas cost about $2/gallon, the average house cost about $200,000, and the average new car cost about $20,000. (56%)
    4. A gallon of milk cost about $2, the salary of President George W. Bush was $200,000, and a pound of gold was worth $20,000. (25.2%)

    The Answer: "Gas cost about $2/gallon..." The others contain multiple numbers that are way off. For example, the Dow was below 10,000 in May 2004; Google's IPO didn't even happen until August 2004 (and it would have taken about four years to turn that sort of profit); and Bush's salary was $400,000.

  6. What did North Korea ban on the same day this site went live, undoubtedly an attempt to protect their citizens against the subversive ideas they knew were coming?

    1. Cell phones (55.7% of respondents)
    2. iPads (7.6%)
    3. Google's Chrome web browser (23.2%)
    4. All websites containing the name "George W. Bush" (13.5%)

    The Answer: Cell phones. The ban was lifted in 2008, however.

  7. All of these movies were #1 at the box office on May 24 during one of the years of the 2000s. Which one was #1 at the box office on May 24, 2004?

    1. Shrek 2 (28.1% of respondents)
    2. Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (23.9%)
    3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (9.1%)
    4. The Da Vinci Code (38.9%)

    The Answer: Shrek 2. This was pretty hard, unless you're a serious early-21st-century gamer, and you remember there was a Shrek 2 video game that was meant to tie in with the Athens Olympics. The other three films came out in 2002, 2008 and 2006, respectively.

  8. Which of these notable sports-related events did NOT happen in 2004?

    1. Janet Jackson's breast exposed on national TV during the Super Bowl halftime show (22.5% of respondents)
    2. Boston Red Sox win first World Series since 1918 (23.2%)
    3. Olympics return to Athens, Greece (11.7%)
    4. Brazil becomes first nation to win five World Cups in football (soccer) (42.6%)

    The Answer: Brazil becomes first nation to win five World Cups in football (soccer). We put this in there for European readers, figuring they were likeliest to know that World Cups are on an opposite 4-year cycle of the Olympics, and so there could not have been one in 2004.

  9. At its outset, the site was just the map, with no written content. Which of these was the first bit of analysis written for the site?

    1. People may think well of the Coors name when they reach for a beer, but will they feel the same way in the voting booth? The G.O.P. is so excited about the prospect of Peter Coors' running for the Senate that Colorado's Republican Governor Bill Owens leaked the news to the press even before the brewing baron's expected announcement this week. (7.4% of respondents)
    2. A new poll in Louisiana confirms a trend that has been building for a while now. Bush's lead in the south is weakening. He is still ahead in LA, KY, and NC, but only in the single digits, while in AR, SC, and TN Bush's lead is within the polls' margin of error, somewhat surprising for an incumbent Republican. Bush's lead in AL, GA, MS, and VA is substantial and not in any danger now. Florida is a tossup; Kerry's lead there is meaningless. (51.7%)
    3. Yesterday, George Bush gave the first in a series of addresses on Iraq he plans to give during the weeks leading up to the transition there. But with that pivotal date fast approaching, Iraq is far from the stable, Western-style democracy that the Bush Administration forecast before the American-led invasion of 2003. (22.8%)
    4. More than half of the respondents to a new survey say the media haven't been tough enough on President Bush. Nearly half say reporting is increasingly sloppy and filled with errors. And almost half say journalists often let their ideological views color their work. Media bashers? Disaffected Democrats? No, these negative views are being expressed by journalists and executives at national media outlets. And local journalists aren't far behind in their criticism. (18.1%)

    The Answer: "A new poll in Louisiana confirms..." That was the first bit of analysis in history, published on June 7, 2004. The others are from real articles published by other outlets in May/June 2004; Time, The New York Times and The Washington Post, respectively.

As noted, the winners will be announced tomorrow. For now, we will tell you the mean score was 4.14/9, the geometric mean was 3.76/9 and the median was 4/9. (Z)

Note: In the map legend box (to the right of the map itself) is a line: "This date in 2019 2015 2011." Those take you back to the current date in previous election cycles. Also interesting historical information. However, we didn't post every day in 2015 and 2011 until later in the cycle.

Also, near the bottom of the "Data galore" page there is a link to the archive page that makes it easy to jump to any date after May 24, 2004. We didn't adopt the current URL naming scheme until 2012. As an aside, if you have suggestions for additions to the Data galore page, please let us know.

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates