Will Sandy decide the election?

Written By: - Date published: 7:47 am, October 30th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: disaster, us politics - Tags:

The US Presidential election is close. Really close. The political futures markets favour Obama about 2 to 1 but polls of the nationwide popular vote and the polls in key states, such as Ohio and Virginia, are essentially tied. Enter the October surprise – Sandy, the latest ever recorded Atlantic storm, now coming ashore and pounding key battleground states.

The campaign itself has been pushed from the headlines. Obama has cancelled appearances to make sure the federal and state governments are ready to react. That’s his job as President, and it’s also smart politics.

Obama has been given an extraordinary opportunity to show himself as commander-in-chief. He is guaranteed lots of TV time, not at campaign events but doing the job for which he is currently applying. If he and the government handle the situation well, he will benefit just as Bob Parker did in the aftermath of the first Christchurch earthquake, which saved Parker’s bacon in the 2010 local elections.

The opportunities for Romney are much more limited. He will be denied air-time by the disaster itself. He won’t have a valid reason to tour disaster areas; unlike the President, he has no resources to command in the relief effort (unless the campaign decides to cancel ads and give the money to disaster relief – that could be smart). And if things do go wrong, Romney will only have a matter of days to make a big deal over them while, somehow, not appearing to be trying to make political capital out of people’s misfortune.

These factors would seem to be to Obama’s advantage. But the disaster itself could be the opposite.

Early voting has already been cancelled in Maryland (a safe Democrat state) and there is a possibility it could be affected in the large battleground states of Virginia and Ohio right through to election day, next Tuesday. If voting is more difficult, if people are displaced and the campaigns’ get out the vote systems are disrupted, that would probably favour Romney, who is more likely to win the fewer people vote.

It’s a hell of a way to decide an election.

53 comments on “Will Sandy decide the election?”

  1. One Tāne Huna 1

    The US Presidential election is close. Really close.

    Is it? The pollster with the best track record, Nate Silver, doesn’t seem to think so.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Yes, I was going to post that link myself.

      Don’t bother listening to the MSM reporting of polls because it’s always rubbish. If you look at Nate’s site, Gallup and Rasmussan have been giving Romney a much larger lead than all the other polls and the MSM leads to create drama and get attention so these are the polls they report on. The MSM also tends to report on nationwide popular vote polling, which don’t give a good view of the likely election outcome.

      Ohio is pegged with a 75% chance for Obama to win it. In a post a week or so ago, Nate said that out of 40,000 election simulations, the winner of Ohio went on to win the election 38,000 times. With Obama favoured fairly heavily in Ohio, it seems likely he’s going to win.

      I heard a mention on Morning Report a few days ago that exit polling of early voters in Ohio are voting 60/40 in favour of Obama – that in itself gives Obama a huge lead. A commenter on fivethirtyeight says they live in one of the democratic-leaning counties in Ohio and says there has been a massive early-voting push by the democrats and the republicans’ push isn’t nearly as strong.

  2. Don’t forget Romney suggested FEMA should be privatised and wanted to stop funding for disaster relief. Yeah, I wonder how that will pan out for those in the path of this storm.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/politics-of-fema-mitt-romney-suggested-less-federal-involvement-paul-ryan-budget-scrutinized/

    • millsy 2.1

      Yeah, read that in the paper today (yes they still have them).

      Where I on Obama’s staff I would be suggesting that he makes it known coast to coast and border to border.;

  3. johnm 3

    The real issue here, far more serious is that Sandy is an extreme manifestation of Climate Change: ‘ Physicist Paul Beckwith explains here how this ‘Frankenstorm’ is a result of anthropogenic climate change:

    ” All storms veer to the right in the northern hemisphere due to the spinning of the earth (1 revolution per day). Except when there is a tilted high pressure region northward and it has to go left and there is a massive low pressure region left that sucks it there as well.
    Why the high pressure ridge and massive low pressure? Because the jet stream is wavier and slower, a situation that is happening more and more often, because of massive sea ice decline this summer. Which is due to Arctic amplification feedbacks. Which in turn is due to rising greenhouse gases. Which is due to humans.” ‘

    “Watching Sandy, Ignoring Climate Change”
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/29-8

  4. toad 4

    This just had to happen. Some dickhead fundy named John McTernan blames “the gays” for Hurricane Sandy.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Reckon anyone who reckons they have a good reckoning about how this plays out politically can just fuck up for a few minutes myself.

    but hey.

    And notwithstanding the damage in haiti and stuff.

    but this is pretty freaky:

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    Haiti:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/world/americas/yet-another-blow-to-haiti-from-hurricane-sandy.html

    The government said that the homes of as many as 200,000 people had been damaged — on top of almost 400,000 people still homeless from the January 2010 earthquake. “We have a lot of work ahead of us in terms of the aid that we will need to deliver in the days, weeks and months to come,” Mr. Lamothe said. “It won’t be easy because there are many roads and bridges that have been cut off.”

    Coming on the heels of Tropical Storm Isaac in August, the latest storm has piled new misfortune on Haiti, as it struggles to recover from the earthquake and the cholera epidemic that broke out 10 months later, which has killed thousands and sickened more than half a million people.

    • karol 6.1

      Yes, it’s frustrating how catastrophes in the US get major world coverage, but countries like Haiti, are left to suffer with little visibility.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    power station blows up in NYC, starts at about 17 secs on the video:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/massive-explosion-at-manhattan-con-ed-plant-video-2012-10

    Looks to be the plant pictured on the right here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolidated_Edison#Systems

  8. Five dead so far, heres hoping there is no more.

  9. karol 9

    Someone I know in Manhattan was surprised to get loud emergency alerts from NYC government on their cellphones.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Wait until they turn on your cell phone’s transmitting microphone without you even knowing…. 😈

  10. Steve Wrathall 10

    But according to obamanomics, this will be good for the economy. Just think of all those broken windows!

  11. karol 11
    Oh… the folly of nuclear power?

    Reuters storm-tracker:

    “Exelon declares alert at Oyster creek nuclear reactor in New Jersey due to rising water from Storm Sandy” – @Megan in our live blog
  12. Surely, Sandy won’t decide the outcome of the election, Will it ? Romney is a ‘nincompoop’
    who changed verbal course when the ‘secret video’ went viral, in which he stated that he
    “wasn’t concerned about 47% of americans,they will vote for Obama anyway” etc,etc,
    If this idiot is voted in,(which i doubt), 47% of Americans will go through immeasurable
    pain and hardship, first off he will axe Obama Care, next he will get rid of Big Bird, If
    Romney can go from one extreme to the other,who knows what will be next, if he wins.

  13. Jenny 14

    I just can’t believe the sheer inanity.

    Will Sandy decide the election

    WTF

    A harbinger of an apocalyptic change in the climate’s only relevance, is to the outcome of an election!?

    Good grief, no wonder we’re doomed.

  14. Adrian 15

    Yeah, we’re doomed, just like the last time this happened in 1888.

  15. AmaKiwi 16

    “Will Sandy decide the election?”

    If it’s close, corruption will decide the election. It’s the American way.

    Chicago’s mayor, whose motto was “vote early and vote often,” almost surely won the 1960 election for JFK.

    In 2000 the world observed George W. Bush use corruption right up to the Supreme Court to defeat Al Gore. In 2004, he used widespread computer fraud to defeat John Kerry.

    Apologies @Jenny, you’re absolutely right. In one of those debates Obama and Romney were falling all over themselves to convince the voters they’d make sure they had as much cheap fossil fuel as they needed to destroy us all with global warming.

    Brings a new meaning to “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.”

    • SHG 16.1

      In 2004, he used widespread computer fraud to defeat John Kerry.

      Thank Glub he did, could you imagine a Kerry/Edwards administration? With Edwards a heartbeat away from the Big Chair?

  16. Jenny 17

    When the Nazis invaded Poland

    In Britain, and even here in distant NZ, political parties, whatever their stripe, dropped their incessant bickering and formed a grand coalition to beat back the enemy. All political leaders that kept quite, or refused to join the fight against the Nazi menace, were labeled as conscientious objectors, or even worse, quislings, if they persisted they were interned. All talk about the economy which up to that point had been the number one top political issue was swept from the front pages of the Newspapers and radio bulletins. (This despite New Zealand and the world still being mired in an ongoing depression and economic slump) This was all forgotten. Mobilising to defend civilisation against what was determined to be an existential threat, became the order of the day. And all human and material forces were rallied to the cause.

    Now; Imagine, if you will, that in 1939 instead of launching their first attack on Poland, the Nazis had launched an air raid on the East Coast cities of America, wreaking mayhem, damaging buildings and infrastructure, shutting down electricity grids, halting the subways and all other public transport, causing injury and the death of dozens.

    The response would have been the same.

    Forward 70 years and probably an even greater threat to humanity is greeted with silence by political parties and pundits on both sides of the divide,even in the country under direct assault. And the burning issue of the day is not how to mount an all party response, but whether all the death and destruction might affect the running and outcome of an election.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Central government has no implementable answers to the energy/resource predicament that this civilisation is in.

  17. Jenny 18

    When the Nazis invaded Poland

    In Britain, and even here in distant NZ, political parties, whatever their stripe, dropped their incessant bickering and formed a grand coalition to beat back the enemy. All political leaders that kept quite, or refused to join the fight against the Nazi menace, were labeled as conscientious objectors, or even worse, quislings, if they persisted they were interned. All talk about the economy which up to that point had been the number one top political issue was swept from the front pages of the Newspapers and radio bulletins. (This despite New Zealand and the world still being mired in an ongoing depression and economic slump) This was all forgotten. Mobilising to defend civilisation against what was determined to be an existential threat, became the order of the day. And all human and material forces were rallied to the cause.

    Now; Imagine, if you will, that in 1939 instead of launching their first attack on Poland, the Nazis had launched an air raid on the East Coast cities of America, wreaking mayhem, damaging buildings and infrastructure, shutting down electricity grids, halting the subways and all other public transport, causing injury and the death of dozens.

    The response would have been the same.

    Forward 70 years and an even greater threat to humanity is greeted with silence by political parties and pundits on both sides of the divide, and the name of the enemy is never mentioned even in the country under direct assault. And the burning issue of the day is not how to mount an all party response, but whether all the death and destruction might affect the running and outcome of an election.

    Past generations would think we are crazy and they would be right.

  18. Jenny 19

    So where does all this come in for New Zealand political parties today.

    Well…..

    In my opinion this present government’s weakest point is climate change. Landcorp has decided to forgo climate change mitigation and is converting forestry to dairy. Solid energy is dumping their wood chip plant while winding down for privatisation and a huge expansion of private open cast coal mining for export.

    The government is talking about reneging on our Kyoto commitments. And the ETS is nothing but a rort on the taxpayer which has actually overseen a rise in emissions.

    Capitalising on the government’s weakness on this issue, just as was done over the government’s failure on jobs, the Greens should call for an opposition summit on Climate Change.

  19. Jenny 20

    Climate Change deniers release photo of devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy

    Laugh while you still can

  20. Tom 21

    Ok, where’s the conspiracy theory ?

  21. Gov Christie has been praising, President Obama all day, very surprised by that.

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