Will Obama suffer from Sandy?

November 2, 2012 2:32 pm

Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast Monday night and caused major damage to both the Northeast and to President Obama’s re-election hopes. New York and New Jersey – two states that felt the full force of Sandy – are Democratic strongholds, and would-be Democratic voters will have much more on their minds than politics, meaning voter turnout is likely to be low and so will Democratic votes.

The storm, which has left 80 dead, has caused major damage to American homes, meaning people will be preoccupied with their own problems rather than their country’s. Key battlegrounds Virginia and North Carolina have canceled early voting this week due to the treacherous conditions voters would have to face to cast their vote.

In New York and New Jersey, the two most heavily damaged states, millions of people are still suffering from power outages, and it isn’t just households that have no power. Many polling stations are without it too and water damage to polling machines means paper ballots and battery-operated polling machines may have to be used.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey said, “We’ll be ready for Election Day one way or the other, and people will have the opportunity to vote in the election, but we’re just going to have to see where we are.” He also recognised the fact voters may be dissuaded to vote because they’ll have to face washed out roads and also have wrecked homes and emergency pipe repair to deal with.

Luckily for the Democrats though, New York and New Jersey do not make use of early voting meaning the impact of storm-related disruptions could be minimal. But the clean-up looks as though it’s going to take longer than a week.

Thad Hall, an assistant professor in political science at the University of Utah said, “The photos I’ve seen in New Jersey — I don’t understand how you hold an election there. Like literally, I don’t understand how you hold an election somewhere that flooded.”

Although many are saying Obama may lose the election because of Sandy, he is still likely to win both New York and New Jersey. However, Hall said Sandy’s effects will “lower his vote totals nationally enough where he’s going to win the electoral college but not win the national vote.”

No one comprehended a curveball such as this would come Obama’s way at such a critical time in his campaign and this could prove to be fatal to his hopes of serving another term in the White House. “Frankenstorm” will make the Republicans a bit more confident about the result of the election and will make Obama slightly less so.

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