Breakfast crowd in HK were rooting for the Democrat It was always going to be a closely fought contest, but as the results started coming into Hong Kong's Election Central 2004, it was clear many of those present wished it were a little closer. More than 500 people of varying political persuasions and nationalities sat or stood glued to screens scattered throughout the Grand Ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton. What had started out as a fairly festive occasion had by the afternoon become more serious as the Electoral College votes started to accrue and it became clear George W. Bush had a narrow but decisive lead in several key states. The mood among the predominantly Democrat crowd was probably best summed up by Mike Rothschild, an exchange student from Rochester, New York. 'I'm pretty worried,' he said. 'I'm not feeling very happy about this and I'm not looking forward to the next four years.' French student Jerome Strauss also appeared a little pensive about what seemed to be unfolding. 'I've lived in the States for the past eight years and I'm a big supporter of [Democrat challenger John] Kerry,' he said. 'So I was hoping for a slightly better result. 'I'm definitely not ready for another four years of Bush,' Mr Strauss said. 'The result has a big impact on everybody.' First-time voter Kamuel Chow, who became a US citizen in January last year and divides his time between Hong Kong and California, was rooting for Mr Bush. 'I believe he is an honest man and I think he will do what he says,' Mr Chow said. 'I do not trust Kerry. 'I'm Chinese, and the Chinese like to look at people's eyes when they talk, and with Kerry, he's always looking somewhere else.' Donna Magnusson, a Democrat from the incumbent's home state of Texas, remained upbeat. 'It appears the majority is going to Bush, and the minority - which is all of us here - is going for Kerry,' Ms Magnusson said. 'But, I'm going to remain optimistic to the bitter end ... you know, I was a Red Sox fan as well, so it could happen,' she said, referring to the baseball team that defied the odds to win the World Series. But for many, the event was simply a chance to watch democracy in action. 'We just came here to have some fun and celebrate America because we've been getting a beating around the world,' said Regan Idamis, a Latina from New Jersey. 'We are for democracy and whoever wins will have our support.'