Could this election turn on the effects of a mega-storm?

My thoughts and prayers this morning are with people in the path of Hurricane Sandy and the other storms converging on the Northeast Corridor. My sister lives in Brooklyn, and a number of my friends from my WSJ days live in New York City, Washington and elsewhere. One estimate I heard on the radio this morning was that 50 million to 60 million people stand to be affected. Folks, that’s 16-19 percent of the country’s population. Let’s hope it doesn’t end up as the super-storm so many meteorologists have predicted.

In the political world, both presidential campaigns are adjusting their campaign schedules to account for the storm, out of concern for the safety of residents and staffers in the places lying the storm’s path. It’s an old adage that Election Day weather has the power to change election outcomes. But we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case this time, given that both campaigns are acting similarly (as opposed, for instance, to John McCain’s unilateral, ill-fated suspension of his campaign in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis) and given that we’re still eight days away from Election Day.

The effect on the Electoral College vote is also likely to be minimal, in large part because the states in the storm’s path are almost certain to go for President Obama whether turnout is light or heavy. The one possible exception is Pennsylvania, where light turnout in the Philadelphia area potentially could play in Mitt Romney’s favor in somewhat of a toss-up state.

But it got me thinking: What if we were talking about a blizzard in the Midwest? Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and even Michigan and Pennsylvania (and Minnesota??) may be where this election is decided. Can you imagine the uproar if the election were to be decided by a narrow margin, with exceptionally low turnout in some of the most crucial states?

I can’t recall weather having that kind of impact on such a consequential election in my lifetime or the history I’ve read. Am I forgetting or missing something? And would such an event de-legitimize an election result in your mind?

– By Kyle Wingfield

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129 comments Add your comment

JDW

October 29th, 2012
11:27 am

No I can’t recall weather playing such a large impact…I do however recall Romney saying about a year ago that the Federal Govt. should end all disaster relief spending…over the next few days I bet the NE will be very glad he is not President.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
11:36 am

JDW @ 11:27: IIRC, Romney was asked about disaster spending in the context of remarks by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who said the feds should cut some other spending to offset disaster spending. Which is not at all the same thing as saying “the Federal Govt. should end all disaster relief spending.”

southpaw

October 29th, 2012
11:43 am

I wonder how many polling precincts will be underwater, snowed in, or otherwise unavailable on Election Day. Look for complaints that the voters in these precincts were denied the right to vote–and the voters themselves won’t be the ones complaining.

Verbal Kint

October 29th, 2012
11:44 am

Shouldn’t be shocked that a lefty tries to score political points with a looming natural disaster at hand.

Taipei Personality

October 29th, 2012
11:48 am

Kyle, your point about the Electoral College not being changed is spot-on. The only real impact from this storm is the fact that it will likely dominate headlines and has effectively ended Campaign 2012, except for in a few midwestern battleground states. The national campaigns are over, as they just will not get any press outside of comments about the storm.

JDW

October 29th, 2012
11:49 am

@Kyle…nice spinning but I see no such context…transcript seems point blank to me…

KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut—we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot—we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all. [emphasis added]

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
11:50 am

What if we were talking about a blizzard in the Midwest?

What are we without our dreams?

mwuahahahahahahaha. Cons need to buy landslide boots and anti-depressant meds, pronto.

joe

October 29th, 2012
11:55 am

Storm or no storm Obozo is done. Stick the fork in him…

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
12:02 pm

Kyle doesn’t like the exact reading – he adds context that isn’t there.

I’m sure Obama mentioned “terrorist” and “Libya” in the same sentence in his lifetime so I suppose we can say he called 9/11/12 a terrorist action.

Joe the Plumber (and now avid Obama supporter)

October 29th, 2012
12:12 pm

Well done JDW, well done. I believe you just knocked Kyle out cold by pointing out his less than truthiness.

Only 8 more days till the cons start plotting how to ruin Obamas second term.

Mitch ‘fat jowels’ McConnell was quoted as saying the following the day after the election: “Our goal is to make sure Obama is a two-term president and no more.” Yay mitchie!

stands for decibels

October 29th, 2012
12:14 pm

(and Minnesota??)

I don’t think so. Nate Silver shows that state slipping all the way down to a 97.5% probability of an Obama win. (But if Romney wants to spend a lot of ad dollars up there this week, I’m fine with that!)

As for how this storm could affect turnout, I do think if you have seriously depressed turnouts in states that would normally produce a lot of Obama votes (but which would probably affect all kinds of voters, including more rural folks who might vote Romney), it might somewhat increase the possibility that Romney wins the popular vote but loses the EV–but not by much.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
12:21 pm

Christie is playing for 2016:

Chris Christie Praises Obama For Hurricane Sandy Preparation

BADA BING

October 29th, 2012
12:26 pm

Maybe the virgin voters will remember a hurricane more than their first time with Obama.

jconservative

October 29th, 2012
12:29 pm

I would think that the campaign team that got its early voters out real early, first week of early voting per state, may have done itself a winning favor. I am thinking of Virginia and the eastern part of the state in particular. That is 13 electoral votes that could swing the election.

Close does not matter. In 2008 Obama carried North Carolina by 13,692 votes and received all 15 electoral college votes from that state.

My first presidential election was Nixon v Kennedy in 1960. I do not recall weather being the factor in any off the subsequent elections that this storm potentially has on this election.

RW-(the original)

October 29th, 2012
12:29 pm

(But if Romney wants to spend a lot of ad dollars up there this week, I’m fine with that!)

Most of the money Romney’s putting into the MN ad market is to reach western Wisconsin. You sort of have to advertise where the broadcaster exists.

hsn

October 29th, 2012
12:32 pm

As usual, Kyle, the Republican cheer-leading “opinionated” writer, is etch-a-sketching for the ever etch-a-sketch presidential candidate, Robme.
How in the world this election is even this close for a Republican who has been for every single side on every single issue is beyond me.
Robme/Ruin 2012 is the most waffling ticket there ever has been. Every politician changes his/her stance every now and then but Robme has elevated this to an unprecedented level.

Ad

October 29th, 2012
12:33 pm

Yes, Kint. This should only be a forum about dead people voting and other imagined voter fraud, not about what Romney has said in the past. Everybody knows he rarely means what he says.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
12:34 pm

Not again….

there’s bad news from the South Florida epicenter of the 2000 debacle: Election officials in Palm Beach County say they screwed up at least 60,000 absentee ballots and have to perform a recount.

~motherjones.com

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

October 29th, 2012
12:35 pm

Could this election turn on the effects of a mega-storm?
———-

If it does, then Americans are even less intelligent than they showed four years ago.

Vote American.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
12:38 pm

“And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot—we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. ”

Sorry, JDW, but another epic failure on your part.

Romney had a response he was still finishing when John King interrupted him with that question. Romney merely continued the original response, ignoring John King’s interruption.

But nice try.

stands for decibels

October 29th, 2012
12:39 pm

Most of the money Romney’s putting into the MN ad market is to reach western Wisconsin.

Well, that would make sense, since he’s polling a bit better (down by an average of 4 points, rather than 6.8 points) there.

And it’s possible those ad dollars have had the effect of making the race a tad closer in MN as a result.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
12:42 pm

Weather drives down participation in the unenthusiastic.

With momentum and enthusiasm still with Romney, and weather-related affect on voting will likely be on the Obama side more than the Romney side.

Bob Loblaw

October 29th, 2012
12:48 pm

Sandy won’t be around in 7 days. Life will go on. Everyone will be mad about the recovery, no matter how well coordinated it is. If anything, it enhances the anti-incumbent mood. However, it gives Obama a gift–if he manages this, hands-on and is shown helping people, it will soften those up that are giving him a hard time.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 29th, 2012
12:50 pm

I wouldn’t sweat it, Kyle.

The bipartisan Battleground Poll, in its “vote election model,” is projecting that Mitt Romney will defeat President Obama 52 percent to 47 percent. The poll also found that Romney has an even greater advantage among middle class voters, 52 percent to 45 percent.

carlosgvv

October 29th, 2012
12:51 pm

“can you imagine the uproar”

Are you saying this storm might result in doing away with The Electorial College?

stands for decibels

October 29th, 2012
12:52 pm

I am thinking of Virginia and the eastern part of the state in particular.

jcon, surprisingly, VA doesn’t have early voting. Here’s a useful guide to see who does…

Stephenson Billings

October 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

New Projection of Election Results: Romney 52, Obama 47

“The bipartisan Battleground Poll, in its “vote election model,” is projecting that Mitt Romney will defeat President Obama 52 percent to 47 percent. The poll also found that Romney has an even greater advantage among middle class voters, 52 percent to 45 percent.

While Obama can close the gap with a strong voter turnout effort, “reports from the field would indicate that not to be the case, and Mitt Romney may well be heading to a decisive victory,” says pollster Ed Goeas.

The poll’s election model takes into account variables including voter intensity, age, and education, and voters who are certain in their vote. The race “remains very close in the surface,” Goeas said, “but the political environment and the composition of the likely electorate favor Governor Romney.” ”

http://weeklystandard.com/blogs/new-poll-projects-romney-52-obama-47_658066.html

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

And, by the way, this monster is two hundred miles away, out to sea, and it’s still trying to blow my whole freaking house down.

Better listen to Christie, you silly liberals.

Well, I guess I’m supposed to go out and loot now, and then sit up on the roof and wail. Oh yeah and push a bunch of old people down to the ground.

uh, not.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

“Sandy won’t be around in 7 days.”

No, but it’s effects might still be.

Beyond The Middle of the Road

October 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

I for one hope that a freak storm doesn’t affect the outcome one way or the other. Imagine if it had struck next week. I know elections have been postponed in Great Britain… has that ever occurred in the United States?

Here’s hoping for the least amount of damage and casualties possible during the next few days.

Just Saying..

October 29th, 2012
12:54 pm

I think a mega weather event on Election Day is yet another reason to support early and absentee voting.

Remarkable to me how the Patriot Party so often seems to want to restrict alternative voting methods.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
12:55 pm

iggy

October 29th, 2012
12:55 pm

Like some kinda cheap suit mayor, The Grand Poobah – Capt Oblunder just came on The Weather Channel, with his teleprompter instructing everyone to follow instructions.

Stephenson Billings

October 29th, 2012
12:55 pm

After Bush v. Gore, Obama, Clinton wanted Electoral College scrapped

“President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among the politicians whose past criticisms of the Electoral College system would draw new scrutiny if there is a split verdict in this year’s presidential election.

National and swing state polls suggest it’s possible Republican Mitt Romney could win this year’s popular vote while Obama triumphs in the Electoral College — potentially marking the second time the rare split in outcomes has occurred in the last 12 years.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/264347-obama-clinton-backed-reforms-to-electoral-college-after-bush-v-gore

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
12:56 pm

I think voting should tale place the first weekend in November – Saturday and Sunday. 6am till 10pm

Stephenson Billings

October 29th, 2012
12:57 pm

Labor Department Says No Decision Yet on Whether to Delay Jobs Report

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/10/29/labor-department-may-delay-jobs-report/

iggy

October 29th, 2012
12:57 pm

“has that ever occurred in the United States?”

No…we have early and absentee voting. If one is unable to get it done by Election day then tough noogies.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
12:57 pm

Atlantic City is under water.

Christie tried getting “pre-approved” for federal assistance and Obama granted it last night.

iggy

October 29th, 2012
12:59 pm

“Are you saying this storm might result in doing away with The Electorial College?”

No but it should help in doing away with Obama.

stands for decibels

October 29th, 2012
1:00 pm

No…we have early and absentee voting.

actually, in a lot of states, we don’t, as reported @ 12.52.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

October 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

I have been wondering how Obama can duck and dodge for 8 more days on Libya, without answering one question, but now we know, Sandy will bail him out. The public will be left without any answers on Libya until after the election. He is slick, I will have to give him that.

Stephenson Billings

October 29th, 2012
1:02 pm

I’m all for polls open 24 hours on a Saturday. This Tuesday stuff is stupid.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
1:03 pm

No spin, Finny.

Just fact.

Romney had a point he was making, and he wasn’t going to let John King interrupt that point.

Why do you libs have to lie to try to make points in an argument?

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

October 29th, 2012
1:04 pm

I think voting should tale place the first weekend in November – Saturday and Sunday. 6am till 10pm

Well Finn, the labor unions would be busy all weekend preparing those bags of votes, that they always find, that didn’t get counted. Might have to pay them time and a half. There goes inflation!

RW-(the original)

October 29th, 2012
1:06 pm

“has that ever occurred in the United States?”

September 11, 2001 for one

JDW

October 29th, 2012
1:06 pm

@Tiberius…”Romney had a response he was still finishing when John King interrupted him with that question. Romney merely continued the original response, ignoring John King’s interruption.”

I am sure it is that way in Tiberiusville…however in the rest of the universe…not so much.

Beyond The Middle of the Road

October 29th, 2012
1:06 pm

“I’m all for polls open 24 hours on a Saturday. This Tuesday stuff is stupid.” For many other countries Election Day is a national holiday. I couldn’t agree more about Tuesday. A full weekend would be best… plenty of time to vote and you can still choose to not vote on your Sabbath..

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

October 29th, 2012
1:08 pm

If Obama wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote the righties will scream bloody murder.

Road Scholar

October 29th, 2012
1:10 pm

Yeah, the feds should stop the disaster relief because it will affect the debt and kids’ futures….What about the day after the storm when the school is destroyed or out of service for repairs for months? School buses don’t work and are flooded. Can’t go outside to play. That’s not a meaningful effect! And if you haven’t noticed, states, local governments and school systems don’t have a cushion to soften the blow…no pun intended.

hsn

October 29th, 2012
1:10 pm

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer’s ineptocracy

October 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

I have been wondering how Obama can duck and dodge for 8 more days on Libya, without answering one question, but now we know, Sandy will bail him out. The public will be left without any answers on Libya until after the election. He is slick, I will have to give him that.

=================================

4,000 US troops killed in a war based on LIES. No investigations necessary. No answers for the victims. No problem!
100,000 Iraqi citizens killed in a war based on LIES. No investigations necessary. No answers for the victims. No problem!

4 citizens are killed by extremists in Libya, and all of a sudden the con artists and their Fox News followers have discovered an epiphany for “investigations” ans “answering questions.”

You cons are the worst of the worst.