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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the election

What I’m seeing a lot of right now is an assumption that Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath will hurt Obama more than Romney. This strikes me as a case of not thinking things all the way through. Yes, Sandy will hit a region where President Obama is mostly doing well and it’s sure to depress turnout. But keep in mind, we’re not extremely concerned with the popular vote. If, for example, only three people turn out in Massachusetts and two vote for Obama, the president wins twelve electoral college votes. Turnout is only a factor when compared to the other candidate’s turnout — and Romney voters will face similar challenges.

In fact, Romney voters may actually have things worse. Mitt rules the rural regions, which means — due to priorities and population densities — that their infrastructure problems like washed out roads and bridges will likely be dealt with slower.

Finally, Obama has a big lead among early voters — the advantage here speaks for itself.

In the end, the effect Hurricane Sandy might have on the outcome of the presidential election hinges more on how presidential Obama seems in a crisis than on the logistical challenges of getting voters to the polls. I’d say that the odds of Obama letting this go all Katrina are pretty slim. In fact, if Obama pulls a Cory Booker and helps stack sandbags someplace or serves meals at an emergency center, his odds would probably increase.

For those reading this in the region, stay safe. If you haven’t already, I’d hit the liquor store.

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