America's flashy, high-priced political pundits tell anyone who will listen that the US election is too close to call. With just over two months left in the campaign, the TV talking heads insist the George W. Bush-John Kerry battle for the White House will be a virtual replay of the sweaty 2000 election - with the victory margin for either man being exceedingly thin. Yet, if you sift carefully through the sociological sands of the US, it doesn't take brilliance to predict that Mr Bush will be a one-term president. True, recent polls have the two men in a near dead-heat, each getting roughly 45 per cent of the vote, with as many as 10 per cent of voters undecided. Conventional wisdom says in such cases, undecided voters will ultimately opt for the man already in office. But conventional wisdom will be wrong, for the following seven reasons that the so-called experts all seem to ignore. Democrats who didn't bother to vote in 2000 will vote in force this time Unlike America's highly disciplined Republicans, liberal democrats have been traditionally indifferent and infrequent voters. Many indolent Democrats, affluent white yuppies and working-class blacks alike, didn't bother to vote in 2000. They assumed Al Gore, blessed with both a booming economy and harmony abroad, would handily defeat the bumbling, former frat boy Bush. Shocked then by Mr Bush's razor-thin victory, and angered now by his four-year effort to move the country towards a conservative agenda, previously unregistered voters, both the young - those most directly affected by the record 1.8 million jobs lost since Mr Bush took office, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics - and the ageing Baby Boomers - worried how the US$400 billion deficit might affect their retirement benefits - will turn out in record numbers. Military voters, and their families, are deserting Mr Bush in droves There are more than 120,000 US soldiers now in Iraq. Most are burning mad at Mr Bush for the incompetent management of the war. Due to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's foolhardy plan to invade the country with far fewer troops than the Pentagon had sought, they are now exhausted and dangerously over-stretched. They are disheartened that the weapons of mass destruction were a fable. They're upset that there's no connection between the 9/11 terrorists and Saddam Hussein. They feel needlessly shamed by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. And they are furious to find themselves under relentless attack by Iraqis, people whom the White House had promised would welcome them. Meanwhile, there are the almost-forgotten 20,000 soldiers in Afghanistan who feel that the White House's oil-soaked obsession with Iraq has left them with far less resources than needed to track down the real ringleader of 9/11: Osama bin Laden. But it's more than just the troops on the ground who feel misled by Mr Bush. There are about 1.4 million active members of the American armed forces. Include reservists and the National Guard - many of whom expect to be rotated to Iraq - and the figure reaches 2.5 million. Add angry, worried families, and the number soars to seven million. Tellingly, the Bush administration's single most respected military figure, Secretary of State Colin Powell, will not be attending the Republican National Convention. For generations the US military could be counted on to vote religiously for Republican presidents. This year, they will desert Mr Bush. Muslim Americans, four million strong, will vote against Mr Bush Before 9/11, who in the US ever thought of a segment called the 'Muslim voter'? But, as the US media so loves to intone, 9/11 changed everything, including voting patterns. According to the American Muslim Alliance, the US has four million Muslim voters. Exit polls in 2000 showed 70 per cent of them went for Mr Bush. But this November, that statistic is likely to be reversed. Reason: Muslim Americans are furious about what they see as the erosion of their civil liberties under the Patriot Act, exacerbated by an unnecessary Iraqi war, and the administration's unquestioning embrace of Israel's hardliner Ariel Sharon. Parwez Wahid, a 44-year-old software developer and one of the 40 American Muslim delegates at this year's Democratic National Convention, said he voted for Mr Bush in 2000. This time, though, Mr Wahid said, 'even if the devil was running against George Bush, I would vote for the devil'. Such attitudes are worrying for the White House, because large numbers of Muslim Americans live in the vital 'swing states' of Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. Ralph Nader's supporters are shouting: 'Don't run Ralph!' In 2000, America's celebrated anti-corporate hero earned the unwelcome title 'The Spoiler' for supposedly stealing needed votes from Al Gore. In fact, he won 3 per cent of the ballot, including 90,000 votes in the crucial fight for Florida, which Mr Bush won by a meagre 537 votes. In that campaign, Mr Nader told voters there was little difference between the two parties, that both were in bed with big business. But four years on, Mr Nader's once feverishly loyal followers refuse to believe that and have left Mr Nader to row his own boat. The Green Party, which endorsed him in 1996 and 2000, refused to put Mr Nader on their ticket this year. This November, millions of Nader fans will vote for Mr Kerry rather than risk seeing Mr Bush return for a second term. Gays will vote for Mr Kerry Despite their alternative lifestyle, America's political universe boasts a significant number of conservative Republicans who are gay, the most famous being Vice-President Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary. Four years ago, the gay vote accounted for 4 per cent of the national total. Mr Gore got a whopping 70 per cent of that. Surprisingly, Mr Bush managed to pull 25 per cent. But with the White House's efforts to introduce a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, millions of gay voters will retaliate in November, by overwhelmingly throwing their support behind Mr Kerry. Mr Kerry's gay supporters tout the fact that as a freshman senator in 1985, he introduced a bill to ban bias in hiring and housing. Although Mr Kerry doesn't support gay marriages, he does back same-sex civil unions with all the federal rights and benefits. Fiscal-minded Republicans will not vote this year There are millions of rock-solid Republicans who don't give a hoot, one way or another, about such ideological issues as abortion rights, gay marriage, or stem-cell research. Essentially, fiscal responsibility is what they crave. To them, the Bush administration's record US$400-billion deficit, racked up in just four years, after having depleted the record surplus provided by the 'spendthrift' Democrats, is an abomination. In past elections, these Republicans could be counted on to support a Republican president. But this year, millions of non-ideological Republicans will stay home in protest. Cuban-Americans will abandon Mr Bush As legendary anti-communists, the Cuban-American community has been a staunch supporter of the Republican Party. An estimated 80 per cent voted for Mr Bush in 2000. In July, however, the administration established severe travel restrictions on Cuba - Cuban-Americans are now not allowed to visit the island more than once every three years. Reaction has been swift: recent polls show support for the US president has fallen to 60 per cent. Not good news for the Bush campaign, especially as 800,000 Cuban-Americans live in Florida - a state the president must carry if he has any hope of re-election. While Mr Bush has strong support from a rural 'red states' base, and is exceptionally well-financed, astute Republicans are beginning to accept the unpleasant fact that the president's re-election prospects are dim. For the first time, columnists in such newspapers as the Washington Times, and Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, are using phrases such as 'should President Bush lose in November' - something unthinkable six months ago. Republican presidential campaign manager Karl Rove has been a brilliant political adviser. But he is not a magician. Traditionally, an incumbent president's job-approval rating in a re-election year is seen as the key indicator of re-election. The Gallup Organisation, which has tracked more presidential elections than any other firm, says that no president since the second world war has been given a second term after falling below 50 per cent approval at this point in an election year. Mr Bush's approval rating in January was 58 per cent. This month, according to the American Research Group, the president's approval rate is 43 per cent. This election will be a referendum on the president far more than a vote for Mr Kerry. On his own, it is highly unlikely that Mr Bush can win re-election. His only hope now is that Mr Kerry makes mistakes. The election is Mr Kerry's to lose. But don't count the president out yet. Because that's exactly what they said about Mr Gore.